I'm going to be 45 in about 2 or 3 weeks, so I'm going to buy a motorcycle. This is not an embarrassing midlife crisis. Sleeping with men over a decade younger than me might be, but buying a motorcycle is not. It is, however, a declaration of independence. This is the nicest, bestest thing about getting older. I give fewer and fewer fucks for what people have to say about [motorcycles, pants, hair, jobs, politics, art, music, swearing, parenting, body weight, everything], and more for honoring who I actually am. If I've learned anything over the last four years, it's that not behaving in accordance to my belief systems and gut reactions to things results in chaos that is unbecoming of someone my age.
It turns out that I'm the kind of woman who should ride a motorcycle, probably well into her 60's, and this should shock no one who knows me. I should also be a doctor, a better house keeper, stay in shape and be a fierce mama. Take advanced lessons on the piano. Travel. Wear nice clothes. Be the kind of wife that make other men envy my husband.
I've written about this a lot in my other blog, but that shit takes an enormous amount of courage. When I first figured out how much of my courage that takes a few years ago, it shocked me. The message, over and over again, was SETTLE DOWN. I think I may have over-reacted. I did everything except settle down, because I thought it was code for PUT ON YOUR MOM PANTS. I also and maybe mostly thought it meant that I would have to put away the joy of letting myself change and grow, love and feel passion.
I give myself a pass. I think a lot of people interpret SETTLE DOWN that way. I don't know if it's like that in other countries, but here in 'Murica, I think particularly for women, but really for anyone, as we age, conformation becomes less optional. We digress to the mean more readily, because we're tired, and we've seen exactly what kind of toll being even subtly subversive to social norms will take. We don't have anything left for that kind of drama - the gossip, being frozen out of needful social circles. Our feet hurt, our hearts are broken, and learning new things takes time away from what we need, which is primarily sleep. Settling down like that seems reasonable.
But it's not just me who finds chaos running on or away from that path. For a lot of people, its milestones seem to be: Depression. Affairs. Divorce. Fear. Plastic surgery. Illness. Bitterness.
I really don't want to go down like that. I'd rather settle down into who I really am, because I can. I'm pretty much the same person I was 20 years ago - I have most of the same interests and desires, although my taste is more refined. But now I have money, courage and self knowledge that I didn't have even 10 years ago. And no, I have no idea if this plan is even feasible, but that's part of what I like about it. My feet hurt, my heart is also broken, I need more sleep, and additionally, I have readers now. But everything in life is a trade-off, and I will trudge a little harder physically if it means I can lighten my load emotionally.