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Midlife Crisis: How Young is Too Young?

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Midlife Crisis: How Young is Too Young?

Old 05-22-09, 08:14 PM
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shelato12771
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Midlife Crisis: How Young is Too Young?

OK, I hate to start a "Poor Me" thread, but I'm wondering if anybody here has experienced anything similar to what I've been experiencing for the last 8-12 months. I'm 38, I have a job that keeps me INCREDIBLY busy too many hours per week (high school band director - and please save your "band camp" jokes), and I'm married with two kids, ages 6 & 8.

I've been having some extremely nihilistic thoughts over the past year or so. For example, I sometimes stuck on the whole "meaning of life" question, and I start to wonder if everything really does cease to exist for us once we die, then what's the point of living in the first place if all we're doing is desperately postponing the inevitable lapse into non existence? So then the only answer I can come up with is, yes, we're all pretty much screwed, so why spend so much time and effort on stuff that will do me/us no good eventually anyway? Furthermore, I begin feeling incredibly guilty over having procreated and bringing into this world two incredibly beautiful souls who will eventually have to be emotionally crushed by my death the way I was by my mother's, and will eventually die themselves. It makes me feel very, very narcissistic and guilty for having helped create them in the first place only to have to hurt them so badly later.

Makes a fellow want to say "to h*ll with it" and spend a bunch of money on the ultimate bike. Anyhow, has anybody else had thoughts even remotely similar to this, and if so, did they happen this young? Would you consider this to be midlife crisis material, or am I just certifiably nuts?
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Old 05-22-09, 08:16 PM
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Sounds more like you might be suffering from depression. Maybe you need a chat with a professional? It's helped a lot of people.
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Old 05-22-09, 08:23 PM
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I think if it's true that there's nothing more after death, maybe life is just that much sweeter. That means we're not just biding our time waiting for something better. Make your life what you want it to be now, don't hope for something better later. At least that's how I think.

Being a high school band director would make any sane person have nihilistic thoughts! I'm a musician, I know

I think JoelS is right though you sound depressed. Happens to a lot of people, no shame. But get some help other than Bike Forums!
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Old 05-22-09, 08:24 PM
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I had a quarter-life crisis at 29. (1/3rd life crisis?)
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Old 05-22-09, 08:25 PM
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I second Joel' s suggestion. Excessive philosophizing is always a cause for concern, but your apparent fixation on negativity could be an indication of depression. Might not be, but better to find out.

My midlife crises (a few years ago) involved playing indoor soccer for a few years, buying a used Miyata, doing a bit of tanning, getting re-interested in vintage bicycles and spending a little too much time wondering what life would be like if I were married to someone else (although I managed to limit myself to wondering).
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Old 05-22-09, 08:44 PM
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You're at a stressful time in parenthood, a stressful time in your career, and an age when a few contemporaries have dropped dead. Everything you are thinking about is normal. Trust me, life does get better. Professional counseling may help it get better sooner.

Meanwhile, try to refrain from anything irreversible.
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Old 05-22-09, 08:57 PM
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I thought this was going to be a thread about hitting on an 18-year old.
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Old 05-22-09, 09:03 PM
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Being a high school band director can be rewarding and frustrating at the same time. Kids nowadays have a different type of respect that they did when you grew up.

Perhaps you feel that you aren't getting anywhere with them? Is it as rewarding as it used to be? As time goes on and kids come and they go, so do their ways of thinking and ways of reacting to a teacher's vision.

You may be looking at the high schoolers and wondering what is in store for your own children.

...................................................

When I was going through my own funk "Is this all there is to life??" I did a job change. Not a career change, I did a simple lateral move within the company. It's amazing how something so small introduced new challenges and rewards. It changed my whole outlook on my future and now I cannot be happier. I made the career move about 6 years ago and am still excited about what I have in store for me.



Perhaps moving to and Intermediate school will provide fresh new minds, untouched by the battling and often confrontational attitudes of the older teen.
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Old 05-22-09, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ILUVUK View Post
I thought this was going to be a thread about hitting on an 18-year old.
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Old 05-22-09, 09:12 PM
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Does life only have meaning with respect to what we get out of it? I'm not going to tell you what to think, but for me, that would be a self centered philosophy that I couldn't accept. I think it can have meaning if you do things for others. It sounds like you at least have that opportunity with your own kids, and maybe with your students.
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Old 05-22-09, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ILUVUK View Post
I thought this was going to be a thread about hitting on an 18-year old.
That would be one solution...

I think the one thing that can focus on what's important is a close up and personal brush with death. I recommend you rent an H2 and do burnouts in front of an Earth First rally.
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Old 05-22-09, 09:58 PM
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You should buy a german motorcycle.

FAST
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Old 05-22-09, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by shelato12771 View Post
I've been having some extremely nihilistic thoughts over the past year or so. For example, I sometimes stuck on the whole "meaning of life" question, and I start to wonder if everything really does cease to exist for us once we die, then what's the point of living in the first place if all we're doing is desperately postponing the inevitable lapse into non existence? So then the only answer I can come up with is, yes, we're all pretty much screwed, so why spend so much time and effort on stuff that will do me/us no good eventually anyway?
Here's where the classic 'it's not the destination but the journey' comes in.

Furthermore, I begin feeling incredibly guilty over having procreated and bringing into this world two incredibly beautiful souls who will eventually have to be emotionally crushed by my death the way I was by my mother's, and will eventually die themselves. It makes me feel very, very narcissistic and guilty for having helped create them in the first place only to have to hurt them so badly later.
From my limited perspective, if someone is crushed by someone else's death, it can only be because the other person had such a positive impact on the other person's life. You can't hold yourself responsible for your kids future reactions to your death. You can only hope to impact them positively by your life and leave the rest to them.

Makes a fellow want to say "to h*ll with it" and spend a bunch of money on the ultimate bike. Anyhow, has anybody else had thoughts even remotely similar to this, and if so, did they happen this young? Would you consider this to be midlife crisis material, or am I just certifiably nuts?
I think I've had similar thoughts, though at just over half the age. For me, I just try and put blinders on and not worry about the eventual end of all things me (yeah, thanks for dragging me back to reality ) and in the mean time hope to be able to enjoy all things me the best I can (no jokes about that one).

If things continue this way for a while/have been this way for a while, or have been intermittently like this for some time now, seeing someone might be a good way to go.

Hopefully things will ease up a bit when school gets out for you
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Old 05-22-09, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by shelato12771 View Post
OK, I hate to start a "Poor Me" thread, but I'm wondering if anybody here has experienced anything similar to what I've been experiencing for the last 8-12 months. I'm 38, I have a job that keeps me INCREDIBLY busy too many hours per week (high school band director - and please save your "band camp" jokes), and I'm married with two kids, ages 6 & 8.

I've been having some extremely nihilistic thoughts over the past year or so. For example, I sometimes stuck on the whole "meaning of life" question, and I start to wonder if everything really does cease to exist for us once we die, then what's the point of living in the first place if all we're doing is desperately postponing the inevitable lapse into non existence? So then the only answer I can come up with is, yes, we're all pretty much screwed, so why spend so much time and effort on stuff that will do me/us no good eventually anyway? Furthermore, I begin feeling incredibly guilty over having procreated and bringing into this world two incredibly beautiful souls who will eventually have to be emotionally crushed by my death the way I was by my mother's, and will eventually die themselves. It makes me feel very, very narcissistic and guilty for having helped create them in the first place only to have to hurt them so badly later.

Makes a fellow want to say "to h*ll with it" and spend a bunch of money on the ultimate bike. Anyhow, has anybody else had thoughts even remotely similar to this, and if so, did they happen this young? Would you consider this to be midlife crisis material, or am I just certifiably nuts?
So my uncle and I discussed my issues with the corporate workplace this evening. He said something quite insightful:

"If you don't wake up looking forward to making life better, then why wake up?"

Life is different from person to person, so everyone's perceived purpose varies as well. I'm pretty sure that these thoughts will pass.
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Old 05-23-09, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Meanwhile, try to refrain from anything irreversible.
This is absolutely the best advice you could follow right now. You will come out of your negative mind state sooner or later . . . don't do something that will have a negative impact on the rest of your life.

Originally Posted by ILUVUK View Post
I thought this was going to be a thread about hitting on an 18-year old.
Me too
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Old 05-23-09, 12:04 AM
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^

Like road racing; don't EVER take up road racing.
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Old 05-23-09, 05:20 AM
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Sounds like midlife crisis material to me. I'm not sure it's useful/possible to find ultimate meaning in everything. Taken to its logical extreme, there is no point in anything. The sun will eventually burn out, so even if you do your part to make the world a better place, your efforts will be for naught. The best we can do is just work on making the time we have good for ourselves and others.

But don't rule out the ultimate bike, so long as you have reason to believe you'll keep riding year after year.
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Old 05-23-09, 05:58 AM
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I like Siu's idea in that it takes you into a new paradigm. Getting that awesome new uber bike is fine if you have the dough, but even a wally world special is great if it gets you out and riding in a new setting, possibly meeting new people to ride with, testing and challenging your body and mind to develop, etc etc,

I have no great wisdom to offer here, so I'll just say you're probably expressing feelings we all have at some point. That doesn't help you much at this moment, but I guess what I am saying is, it will pass - small changes and a day can a huge difference in your outlook.

It sounds like you love your children very much. Don't underestimate the power and resilience of the human spirit. I'll bet that eventually, your kids can handle whatever the mean ol' world throws at them.
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Old 05-23-09, 07:51 AM
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Thanks for positive words, everybody. To answer a few posts, in no particular order:

1) Yes, I do need a change. I am on leave next year, and I will be starting an Ed. D at a local university in the fall. That ought to do it.

2) I am indeed eschewing the irreversible. Pretty much everything I do is done in the context of, "how will this affect my family?" Keeps me from going to the LBS with the checkbook in my pocket and the frenzy in my eye (and the LBS is only a couple of blocks from the school where I work, which ain't easy...). Plus, I just picked up a 1985 Trek 720 tourer for $75.00 a couple of months ago on Craigslist, which means I've already used up the next ten years' worth of bike purchasing karma in the early spring of this year.

3) Kids have a different level of respect nowadays? Wait, what....? ()

4) Hitting on an 18 year old? Well, if there were ever a guy who had an opportunity, it would be me, but man, they're still just kids (with apologies to Sojourneyman). I had a college prof once who gave us "the speech" as we were about to go off and student teach. "If you ever find yourself, uh, 'enamored' with a HS student, have an actual conversation with the kid. Because that's what you'll find. A kid." (I cringed harder than anyone when I saw "Election.")

So, sorry if I made it sound like I'm about to jump off a cliff. It's just the first time that the cosmic and/or the eternal have occurred to me with clarity and urgency. I guess it just comes with the balding and the ear hair (sexy, I know).
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Old 05-23-09, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by shelato12771 View Post
I guess it just comes with the balding and the ear hair (sexy, I know).
my biggest arguments against the existence of a kind and loving superior being
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Old 05-23-09, 10:50 AM
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I took one of our customers out to lunch the other day and the conversation turned to midlife crisis. This customer, who is now about 60 years old, went through a midlife crisis in the 80's. He went out and bought a Porsche, got divorced after hooking up with a much younger woman, etc. At 60 years old, when he looks back at those events, he has nothing but regret including getting divorced. The Porsche was a huge drain on his finances, especially when combined with his divorce.

I'm 43 years old and have never been too concerned about the "what is the meaning of life" question, or the "why am I on earth" question. Perhaps I still will one day. I've always wondered if people who experience midlife crisis are going through a chemical / hormonal change, or are they simply thinking about their own death too much. Either way, it can be extremely disruptive to one's life.
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Old 05-23-09, 12:50 PM
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The meaning of life is ... a german motorcycle.
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Old 05-23-09, 04:27 PM
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German motorcycles are for idiots.

Get a Honda.
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Old 05-23-09, 04:50 PM
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No I suggest you make some changes,main thing get the children involved in your extra work and you get involved with them//how about a fun trio/not just a one time deal something you do togeather every week.Your going to get some good feedback and advice/jump into some of it with both feet./Kenneth
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Old 05-23-09, 04:55 PM
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My suggestion is don't wait for your midlife crisis to evaluate your life. Make sure you are doing what satisfies you. Life is far too short to be in a rut. There is so much to learn, to experience, to enjoy. Do it with your kids and your spouse.

Relationships are the most valuable thing you have, keep improving them. Everything else really doesn't matter all that much.
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