As we walked into the funeral home for the wake of our old friend Al Marley, Mary Anastasio stopped, looked at me and said, “We’re adults now.”
That’s how it is when you hit middle age. Your parents’ generation starts dying at an accelerated pace. Then comes the crisis that isn’t really a crisis if you stop and think about it.
A lot of my contemporaries are starting to go through the mid-life crisis as a result. Several friends are suddenly getting tattoos and body piercings. Their Facebook pages are full of Youtube links to all the videos the MTV generation grew up on.
I also see friends getting their old bands back together and going in the studio to record new music. One friend just started learning to play the banjo, and he says it’s a difficult instrument to play. I told him to watch the movie “Deliverance” and he’d be an expert player by film’s end.
I’ve been getting in on the act, too. At the start of the year I bought a pair of black leather boots with studs. When Erin took her first look at them, she noted that they were “very heavy metal.”
I haven’t gotten any tattoos, though. I can’t afford them, and with all the hair on my arms you wouldn’t be able to see them anyway. Besides, tattooing has become a fad again, and I never do things while it’s popular. Maybe in five years I’ll shave my arms and tattoo them.
You could say I’m living out my mid-life crisis by listening to a lot of heavy metal from the 1980s, but that probably wouldn’t be accurate. I never stopped listening to that music.
I actually think a mid-life crisis can be a good thing.
As we get older and life gets tougher, with parents getting sick and dying and the challenges of parenthood growing more complex and exasperating as our children hit their tween and teen years, it’s easy to forget how much we need our inner child. When we forget to act young, the usual trials eat us alive.
So if you want a tattoo, get one. If you want to start playing the guitar you put away 15 years ago, do it.
Some will make fun of you for having a mid-life crisis. But you’re really just rediscovering how to have a little fun.