A mid-life crisis is that existential time when you question all the choices which have now led you to consider divorce or quitting your high-paying job to become a yoga instructor. Everywhere I look, I see people like me, doing everything they can think of to keep the threat of a mid-life crisis at bay. I can’t even count the number of Botox parties I get invited to. These parties are just like those Jewelry Parties you may see advertised from time to time, where in the comfort of your own living room a distributor comes and models the latest, hand-crafted pieces – all at reasonable rates. There’s supposed to be lots of booze to encourage your friends to buy stuff so you can get something free for putting the party on. Botox Parties work on the exact same premise, relying heavily on substances, which numb your ego to friends staring and suggesting which of your facial features is the most unattractive. Then you sit on a table and try to continue a conversation while a clinician sticks needles in your face.
I remember trying to appear unconcerned when a woman I barely knew went on a drunken rant about the cost of parking while little rivulets of blood dripped from her nasolabial folds. “Don’t worry,” the clinician said to those of us who looked alarmed. “These fillers are made from naturally occurring sugars.”
Always I leave looking much less tired, but filled with regret: I’ve just dropped a pile of cash, only to increase anxiety at a growing list of other things that need fixing. Apparently it’s an expected response to a normal stage of life – for those of us lucky enough not to live in Syria or need an Ebola vaccine. For this reason, it’s tempting to brush off this nagging, uncomfortable feeling that I might be living the wrong life, by convincing myself to feel lucky. Just to push that feeling back a bit, I’m wondering if it’s time just to embrace this new trend. “To say yes to all that life presents.” (a direct quote from a friend who just finished Landmark Forum – though admittedly taken out of context). Could my prudish timidness be what’s holding me back from success and true happiness?
Case in point: my friend “Alice”, a 40 year-old soon to be divorced mother of two, recently returned from a day at our local nudist beach and surprise, surprise met a guy. “He’s French,” she texted along with a picture of a giant cock. He also is a part-time bus driver who lives with four roommates. They arranged to meet up for sex right after school drop off at 9:00 the next morning.
It’s common knowledge that the best way to fend off a breakdown is great sex with someone super hot, but so inappropriate, there is zero chance of getting attached. But just a few weeks ago, Alice was crying into her chardonnay that her kid-ruined body made her too embarrassed to wear tight clothing, let alone jump into bed with someone new. And now, here she was flirting with bike couriers, baristas, yoga dudes with man-buns and her kids’ soccer coach.
“Cold Sculpting!” she exclaimed with the enthusiasm usually reserved for the born again. “It changed my life. I’m universally considered fuckable again.” And indeed, when I saw her the next evening, she did look a lot more relaxed.
Cold Sculpting is a procedure where you lie on a table and a machine sucks up your rolls of fat and freezes them. When Alice lifted her shirt, the difference was impressive. “You just shit out all your fat over a month or two.“ I can’t believe I waited so many months to do this,” she exclaimed. “And now I get all the sex I can handle,” she went on. “Custody issues? Couldn’t care less. Credit card debt? Whatever. Look!” she held up her hands. “They’ve stopped shaking and I’ve started sleeping again.” She leaned in to whisper, “Without meds.”
I’d probably drop the five grand it would cost to uncover my waist if the issue was only cosmetic. The truth is, nothing can really push that nagging feeling away. Once I convinced myself that I was a broken human, in constant need of repair and improvement, I fell into a bottomless pit. And this is what makes me susceptible to anything that promises to drop a ladder. But all is not lost!!
This is what’s so great about having an existential crisis after travelling around the block a few times – I’m smart enough to know I’m being manipulated. So Fuck The Secret and Fuck you to those people who put harsh lighting above bathroom mirrors.
Just as I write these words, I realize that the way out might just involve embracing my saggy bits and my restlessness and general discomfort and maybe listening to what they all have to tell me. Oh damnit. I think I just quoted the back of some self-help book I bought at Costco.
Tell me, do your nasolabial folds past muster? Any Botox mishaps worth sharing?