A Midsummer Life's Dream
It is clear what sparks the emotional freefall that leads to a midlife crisis: it's the first time in your life that you realize you're gonna die. It is no longer an intellectual understanding--we're all part of the circle of life and all that other Disney crap. I'm gonna die. I can feel it in my bones. I no longer feel as if my body can do anything and everything, even though I abuse it.
It all started when I began to feel aches and pains in my knees after playing basketball. That was easy to explain away. Then, a few stray hairs started to grow on my ears and shoulders. It wasn't enough to cause panic. My back occasionally got stiff and sore. Sometimes the words that came out of my mouth sounded exactly like something my father would say. I told myself that none of those things were signs of aging--just little quirks.
Probably the first time I began to doubt my own immortality was when I heard a young woman call U2 an "old" band. And then, one day I yanked too hard on my lower back and felt a sharp pain. I limped around for nearly a week. The first few days were agony. "Uh oh," I thought.
About a three weeks ago, I came as close to seeing the gremlin as I ever have. I had just gotten my hair cut and was looking in the mirror. And there it was! On each side of my head, just at the temple, was a single gray hair. No longer could I deny the real truth: the gremlin is breathing down my neck. My body is changing in ways that only happen to old people.
For the last several years, it has been easy enough for me to convince myself that I am still in the Spring of my life, even if Spring is nearly gone. But now, it has become all too clear: Summer has arrived. And I think it's gonna be hot.