HUMOR | ESSAY

Is This a Midlife Crisis

Or just the way things are now?

Kate Brennan
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readFeb 27, 2024

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Cartoon drawing of road with sign “midlife crisis ahead” and woman falling through a hole in ground
Created by writer in Canva

I have developed a compulsion to create things, as if I am in desperate search of a missing piece to unlock a puzzle and the clock is ticking.

I have come-to, seeming mid-fugue, at a dining room table covered with paints and coffee pods, while my child belts Wish in the next room. I have a vague memory of participating in a craft fair.

I awake soaked in sweat. How did I get these penguin pajamas? My dreams are so vivid they could be premonitions. Did I accidentally drop acid before I fell asleep? It feels like there is always a full moon. I have an urge to howl.

In the morning, it hurts to have slept. In fact, everything hurts all the time, but the maladies seem uncategorizable. Is there a flesh doctor? Someone who works with air or the lack of it? Which doctor treats existential malaise?

I purchase things with non-FDA approved medicinal properties, ancient remedies for some ailment I inherited by osmosis but cannot identify. I consider hosting a cacao ceremony. I consider building a greenhouse. I consider moving to the middle of nowhere and living off the grid.

Is this mid-life? I wonder. It seems too soon, but I suppose it’s mathematically plausible. I wonder about the type of math they are teaching now and realize I may not be able to help my child with homework. Isn’t the food pyramid a sham now? What happened to the brontosaurus? Is Pluto even a planet? It feels like nothing I learned is true.

Bold intrusive thoughts pop into my head while I’m driving: Maybe I should walk dogs, or open a bakery, or learn to farm. We should join a PSA, be zero waste, raise chickens. I get really into the idea of composting before I realize how much I’m disgusted by garbage.

I am tangled in yarn but I have no recollection of purchasing it.

I want to plant things and watch them grow, then eat them, and walk by the produce in the grocery store while giving an internal…

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Kate Brennan
Human Parts

More Humor. More Humanity. Avid Reader. Idea-Generator. Opportunity Matchmaker. Lives in Capitals. The answer to “Did you make that?” is “Yes.” katebrennan.org