It’s been 2 years since my husband’s mid-life crisis culminated in a vegan ice cream business and we halved our income and decided to run a start-up business together. The kids are now 2 years older. They’re not very old now, which means they were really not very old then.
It’s been a long, weird road. We’ve learned a lot, and it’s been largely positive, and it’s changed us. Our relationship is not the same, we as individuals are not the same. That’s a great thing, but change is fraught with pains, so it’s been challenging.
I feel like a grizzled, veteran version of my former self. I have an imaginary cigarette dangling out of the corner of my mouth at all times, and I sort of bare my teeth instead of smile.
(The 2016 election happened in that time, too, which proved, once and for all, that ego, power, greed, imperialism, misogyny and white supremacy are king, so that’s given me a bit of a limp and an eye patch, too).
On the left, me (then), on the right, me (now). Do you see the subtle differences?
Marriage, within the context of a business, 2 kids, and a job, is a series of us flicking each other off behind each other’s back, admitting it, and then forcing ourselves to talk out our grievances. It’s exhausting, but the only way we know how to do it. (If you have suggestions, I’ll take them, but word them carefully, because I’m, you, know, kinda rough now, see above).
We’ve circled the wagons tightly around our little pod, and tried to really focus on taking care of us. The kids are marvelous and busy, and between their needs, the needs of the business, and my attempts at writing, we squeak in as much time to work on ourselves and our “us-ness” as we can.
Mid-life crises are interesting, because you see the evolution of how you view yourself and the world, and what you want for the new you that the old you didn’t even know existed. It wasn’t just my husband that did a double-take on himself and his life this past few years, I have, too. We’ve adopted some new (for us) philosophies over the past few years- living more simply, expecting less, constant gratitude, aggressively seeking joy, placing value on things than we hadn’t before and really analyzing and shrugging off values/signs of success/expectations that don’t fuel us…what else? Oh, yes, living like every day is the last day before some a-hole in charge pushes a big red button in a pissing match and gets us all blown up in nuclear war. These things have made us stop dead on our path, and look around for alternative routes through the grass. Especially the nuclear holocaust one.
I mean, go ahead and eat the cookie and don’t mop the stupid floors, you know?
It feels good. It might mean we never get to retire, but it feels pretty good now. So far we’re still managing to keep some toes on the ground, with our heads in the sky, so the bookends of our lives (our parents, our kids) shouldn’t be TOO worried that we’ll screw up everything for everyone. K, Mom?
Sometimes, in my head, I’m writing the memoir of our fabulously successful business in 20 years and it’s titled, “It All Started with a Dream and a Dairy Aversion: The Fabulously Successful Story Behind the World’s Most Best Ever Ice Cream Ever.”
And sometimes the memoir, written on the walls of my cell, is called, “And Then I Murdered My Husband with an Ice Cream Scooper: The Story of One Sane Woman’s Slide into Chaos Because Her Dumb Husband Made Her Do It.”
(If it goes that direction, we can’t really call it a “mid” life crisis, can we? But how was he to know?)
So, that’s where we are today. We’ll see what the next year brings. I plan to blog more. I’ve been trying to figure out what my goals are as a writer- I’ve been doing short story and short script contests, and submitting (mostly humorous) essays to different publications. I don’t know what the end game is on this, but I’m trying my spankin’ new SUPER CHILL, WE’RE FINE, RIGHT?? philosophy on it, and just trying to learn as much as I can and keep writing near-daily to make some progress toward something.
And that’s all I have to say about that. (I still never know how to end these things. I’ma need me a good editor some day if this ever goes anywhere).