Welcome To My One Third Life Crisis

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It is totally a real thing. Am I saying it right, though? Third life crisis? Third of a life crisis? A third life crisis? I know I was a pretty, pretty princess in my past life, but I can't be sure that this is my third, so that can't be right. Oy vey. The point is this: I am thirty one years old. And I don't look a day over twenty nine.

At my high school graduation. . .age 17. I was not an albino. Or a vampire.

I was never one to stress over birthdays. When I turned thirty I thought, My age finally matches what's inside! My son was ten at the time, I had been married for four years, and quite frankly, I felt like I had at least thirty years of life experience. Because I had my son a few months shy of my twentieth birthday I always found that telling people my son was ten when I was still twenty nine, for instance, was a little weird for me. It's not that I cared what people thought, I just found that I liked it rounded off. A thirty year old with a ten year old sounds a little less sister wife-y. Anyway, I don't stress about my age. So imagine my surprise when, at 30 1/2, something switched inside of me. I didn't turn green or projectile vomit, so we didn't call a priest. I did, however, feel an indescribable shift deep inside my gullet that couldn't be contributed to the bean burrito I'd had the night before. This was the beginning of my 1/3 life crisis. Let's discuss it, shall we?

At 21. . .with an 18 month old.

Last June I had just finished up a tough semester and was getting ready to start a summer course. Jared was still in school for another month, so aside from my hour-long daily class I had the rest of the day to myself. All seemed to be well with the world. Then without warning, my biological alarm went off. There was no ticking...just an explosion of bells and whistles. Having decided many years ago that we were not having any more kids, imagine my husband's surprise when I came home one day and declared that I would be having another baby. Now. It was awful. I knew on an intellectual level that I didn't want any more kids. I had two years left of college. I had an eleven year old. I was approaching "me" time...a career, freedom, and regular date nights with my husband. I was in the home stretch of parenting, for goodness sake! However, my body wanted nothing to do with my excuses. It wanted a baby. The attempts to talk myself out of it failed, so I got out a calendar and started trying to figure out when would be the best time to conceive with minimal impact on my studies. In July we went to visit my family in San Diego and I tried desperately to put it out of my mind. My wise and wonderful aunt heard me out and helped me sort through the mess in my head; and I left feeling more at ease about the whole thing. I was not and did not want another baby. Period. I wish I could say it went away completely, but there has been a slow and steady simmer on my uterus's back burner for a year. Now there's a mental image for you. Yesterday I finally got around to sorting and organizing hundreds of Jared's baby pictures into photo boxes. That was a huge mistake. I don't have any pictures of him being a picker eater or telling me no or wiping his boogers on the wall, just an overabundance of cute, happy baby photos. The simmer was once again a full-on boil and I had to sit down and have yet another talk with my husband last night. We can list a million reason why we should not to have another child but can come up with very few pros. Everyone I talk to says this is normal. But not for me. I was never one to dream about having babies. Never. So why now? Why would my body betray me like this? I've given it pie and Cheetos and enchiladas...and this is how it shows its gratitude? My lovely nurse practitioner, upon hearing my woes, said something very profound: "Wanting a baby is a very natural, womanly thing to feel. It has nothing to do with reason, rationale, or convenience." It didn't help me get through this any better necessarily, but what she said has stuck with me ever since. For now, the issue has been shelved. But it keeps falling off.

A 29 year old college freshman. I am such a serious student. Can't you tell?

I have two more semesters to go before I earn my B.S. in Biology. I am so close I can almost taste it. I work with a lot of dead animals, so that would be unsanitary. Let's say I have almost reached the end. Yeah, that's it. It has been a long haul, but I've loved the challenge and mental stimulation it has provided. I know a million things, some of them useless, but I am a vault of knowledge nonetheless. After I am finished, I still face 3 years of grad school in order to become a physician assistant. It's what I want and have worked so hard for. Yet lately I've been finding myself dreading the thought of putting off my career any further. I want to go to work every day, latte in hand (in a reusable mug, of course, because I'm an eco career woman). I want to wear sexy shoes and a sharp outfit. I want expensive hair extensions like Giuliana Rancic (yeah, I can tell) so I have long flowing locks. I want to tell people what to do (nicely, of course, because I'm everyone's favorite boss). I want to be loved an adored by many. Sorry, I got carried away.

These are my sexy shoes that I wear to my hypothetical job. I have to be really careful not to spill my expensive latte on my expensive heels. I am so fancy.

It seems I have come down with the Veruca Salt syndrome. I want it noooow. I want a feast! I want a bean feast! I have no idea what a bean feast is, but it sounds delicious. And loud. That was a fart joke. I'm really mature. Can we get back to talking about me, please? After years and years of hard work, I will walk away with a degree of my very own in less than a year. That's awesome. It will be mine forever. While it's normal to be a little burned out after four straight semesters of chemistry, I suddenly find myself wondering what else I would love to do. Right. Now. I will still go to grad school in the end. I'm sure of it. But it's really hard to feel this way. Now I know how my son feels every Christmas Eve.

My beloved Solara
In May my husband came to the abrupt conclusion that I needed a new car. While it was true, I was very attached to Bessie. She was my husband's car when I met him, and I have been driving it for the last 8 years. We knew each other well. Despite the fact that she was 12 years old, she was an amazing car. Fast, reliable and fun. I knew it was time to move on, but shed more that a few tears at the prospect of giving her up. She had 221,000 miles and only 2 doors. We had outgrown her. We went down to the local dealership with the intention of buying another Toyota. Somehow I ended up test driving Accords instead. We knew the salesperson, so we didn't get the usual car buying shenanigans. I drove one car a couple of times, and was pretty sure we were going to buy it, but decided to give it a couple day's breathing room anyway. When we came back, ready to buy it, there was another car next to it that I hadn't noticed the first time around. On a whim, I decided to take it for a ride.

The youth wagon

Did I mention it was a manual transmission? Turns out, they still make those. My first two cars were manual transmissions. The second my hand touched the gear shift and my foot came in contact with the clutch I was 18 again, driving down the highway in my Nissan Sentra with the windows down. Minus all the duct tape holding it together. I didn't even stall it! It had to be mine. Two months later, I still love the car. But I'd be lying to you (and I'd NEVER do that) if I said that the rush I got had nothing to do with my decision to purchase it. That feeling overrode all doubts I would normally have about spending a large sum of money. On something that doesn't shift itself. I turned down a car with a sunroof. The other day while out for a drive, I asked my husband, "Do you think I'll get tired of driving a stick shift?" His reply? "Maybe." How smoothly I drive depends a great deal on the thickness of the soles on the shoes I'm wearing. I get caught up listening to some great music with the windows down and forget that I'm doing 55 mph in third gear. I can't eat and drive easily. I can never live in San Francisco. I don't regret my decision. Really. I have come to realize, however, that I did it based on how young it made me feel rather than how it fits into my life now. Isn't that the hallmark of a life crisis? Good thing I can't afford a Lamborghini.

In the end, what I am I really to do about it? I'm hoping I will get this out of the way early and avoid having a midlife crisis. Wishful thinking, I'm sure. If my crisis had it her way, my life would look something like this:

Whoa! Imaginary me is a totally MILF.
Hey, I'm not Asian!
Bravo, Sarah! You must be super successful!

The fact is, I like the real me. I like my quirky family just the way it is. My stretchmarks from being pregnant with Jared aren't pink anymore. I look forward to my future and all it has to offer. Sure, my journey has been unconventional, but I own it. So I'm really hoping this nonsense goes away soon. If not, you will probably be getting my "I have a bun in the oven" announcement soon. Just kidding. But Daddy, I want a goose who lays gold eggs for Easter...at least a hundred a day...

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