Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How House-Hunting is Like Dating, and also: I May Be Having a Midlife Crisis?

Over the weekend Drew and I celebrated eleven years since our blind date that started it all. That’s eleven years that I have essentially been off the market and not dating around. That’s a long time, and yet, ‘lest you think I’ve totally lost perspective and couldn’t possibly imagine what it’s like to be single and looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, we’ve been house-hunting for about a year and a half and I don’t think it’s all that dissimilar. There’s the online cruising (in my case, instead of Tinder and Match and eHarmony, it’s Zillow and Trulia and Streeteasy); there’s the introduction (an open house for me instead of a first date); there’s the falling in love — the excitement and imagining a future together; there’s the heartache when it doesn’t work out, the frustration over how long it’s taking and the hopelessness that it won’t ever happen; there’s the envy over everyone else who has what I’m looking for (or at least what seems like a good match for them); and there’s the existential worry that maybe I don’t know what I’m looking for after all, or maybe what I thought I was looking for isn’t what I’m meant to be seeking.

I’m seeing an astrologer on Thursday to hopefully get a sense of clarity about this situation. If that sounds desperate or weird, whatever, that’s where I’m at right now. I had an appointment with my endocrinologist yesterday where she told me my labs were perfect, and I was like, “Really?! But I’m so tired all the time! And hungry! And I’ve been feeling more anxious than usual lately.” I thought for sure my thyroid could be to blame. “But I do have some general life stress,” I told her when she reiterated that my levels looked good, “So, maybe that’s it.” She asked if everything was ok, and I started yammering about this and that, including our real estate woes and kid-related stress (the two things that take up about 90% of my brain space lately). “You’re talking to someone though, right?” she asked. Um, duh, I thought. I’m talking to you. “Oh, yeah, yeah,” I lied. “Good, because it’s important to take care of yourself, too,” she said. I nodded. I didn’t tell her I was seeing an astrologer on Thursday.

Anyway, I’ve noticed something though. What I’m feeling — I guess you could call it a bit of a midlife crisis although it feels less dramatic and sexy than that (what, you don’t think a midlife crisis is sexy? Haven’t you seen the cars men buy and the women they start sleeping with when they have their midlife crises?) — what I’m feeling is like what 75% of my girlfriends who are between the ages of 38-42 are talking about (and the 25% who aren’t are probably just dead inside). Not all of us are house-hunting, but there is a sort of general “searching” happening — like we’ve been on these life paths for a while and now we’re at a point where we feel like we need to decide whether to stay on the same path or maybe veer off to a different course. The stakes feel higher now than they did 15 years ago when we were having our quarter-life crises: many of us have kids; we’re further along in our careers; we have spouses’ needs and goals to factor; we’re starting to notice some changes in our health and bodies and are beginning to think about the longterm and how best to preserve what we’ve got and maintain optimum health for the long haul.

I think it really is a sort of modern-day midlife crisis and, at least in this part of the world and in my socio-economic demographic, it’s pretty prevalent. We’re all at an age where we think we should be putting some roots down, especially if we have youngish children. If we already own a place, we’re realizing that our family is likely going to outgrow it in the next few years. If we don’t already own a place, even that in itself is the cause for a little anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with renting forever — we might end up doing that! — but by a certain age, and with kids you want to provide some sense of stability for, home ownership does start to seem the better option.

Unfortunately, where we live the real estate prices are fucking insane. Like INSANE. And even if you can, somehow, swing it, you question your sanity about trying. But to think about where else you might go is overwhelming. After all, for a lot of us, where we are right now — where we’ve lived for 10, 15, 20 years, where our kids were born, where they go to school, where we have jobs and friends and families and lives — is our Home with a capital H. To think of uprooting and starting over somewhere else is daunting. But, damn, so is the idea of staying, too.

Other things so many women my age are talking about are: their careers and how they want a different one; their relationship struggles; how they don’t like the clothes in their wardrobe anymore and don’t know what their style even is now; sleep and how to get more; and giving up sugar for a while. Seriously, is it just my circle of friends and acquaintances, or are you seeing this, too? Everyone wants to go on a sugar cleanse. Hey, more power to them, but I went to five open houses yesterday with two small kids in the pouring rain and I’m gonna eat my chocolate.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah: House-hunting is like dating. And being 40, while great in a lot of ways, does seem to bring some existential questioning I wasn’t really prepared for. The good news — besides the idea that an astrologer is totally going to give me all the answers this week — is that my friends who are 43+ seem much more at ease. If it is, in fact, a midlife crisis those of us around 38-42 are experiencing, then anecdotal evidence suggests to me that the crisis peaks close to 40 or 41, and then concludes by 42, after which one goes back to having regular, run-of-the-mill anxieties, like gray hairs and pooping in public bathrooms, which I’m pretty excited about (not the pooping in public bathrooms, but simply having some extra shits to give towards shitting in public because I won’t be giving any shits to all this other bullshit — in theory).

So, what about you? Are you experiencing something like a mid-life crisis? Does your husband/wife/life partner annoy the shit out of you (not that mine does — I’m not saying that, Drew!). Do you not like anything in your wardrobe anymore? Do you catch yourself admiring the Eileen Fisher section at the store and wondering who you even are? Are you on a sugar cleanse? Are you also house-hunting, and do you want to cry? Are you 43+ and can you attest that this, too, shall pass and things will go back to being normal(ish) soon, public pooping anxiety and all?

71 comments… add one
  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine May 9, 2017, 12:46 pm

    YES. 37 and absolutely. I’m married now which is amazing but everything else feels like it needs an overhaul. I’m house hunting because I want more space and I’m feeling crowded by the neighbors but prices are f-ing insane. Where we live is amazing (one of the nicest shore towns in nj) but to find a bit more space in a good area is basically impossible without getting into stupid numbers. I feel stuck and stupid because almost anywhere else in the country the prices we’re talking about would get you a huge house and a large amount of property…but this is home. I have been lurking on Zillow and Trulia for months but haven’t even found something I like well enough to look at.

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    • juliecatharine

      Juliecatharine May 9, 2017, 12:49 pm

      PS. I went out to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday Saturday, got drunk, and got my first tattoo (a small one). I think I needed that, it felt good to do something without agonizing over it for-freaking-ever.

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    LisforLeslie May 9, 2017, 1:05 pm

    I remember my quarter-life crisis (which wasn’t called that but was given a name about 10 years later). I was just like “Oh my god, I’m going to commute to work, work all day and then go home for the next 50 years? When did I sign up for this?”.

    Now in my 40’s I’m thinking about moving to be closer to family (Atlanta v. Boston – both have merits but both have detriments). I’m thinking a lot more about retirement. I’m thinking about my ever growing ass and the fact that I need reading glasses (!). How I can’t pluck my eyebrows without a magnifying mirror.

    And because I live in NYC – I own nothing. I rent my apartment. I have never purchased a car. I have never purchased anything of significant value other than a computer. I have no heirloom jewelry. I have I have no debt. I am supremely lucky, I’m completely aware of that but I worry about being 65 and a first time home buyer.

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    Kate May 9, 2017, 1:07 pm

    I mean, no, I am not worried about sugar or my body or my clothes or real estate or kids. I don’t feel like I had a mid-life crisis because honestly, my whole life has been like wtf can I just die already, and not on any kind of a track with the linear milestones. But this year a big bomb dropped on me (which you know about, Wendy) that caused me to do a lot more self reflection than I ever wanted to, and that’s been a good thing. I am really starting to internalize that I am, in fact, a human being, and that I’m actually ok, have always been ok, and that I don’t need some of the things I thought I needed or that were a critical part of my identity. I feel lighter and happier and like I’m resetting on a path of actually doing some good in the world, both in terms of career and extracurricular interests.

    Real estate is a god damn joke these days, and honestly, I don’t think kids need you to own a home that you’ll live in forever, for their well-being. Just not necessary. The place that feels most like home is the condo in the city that my parents moved into when I was 21 and already out of their house. They’re starting to look around and talk about maybe selling it to us at market value (no real estate agents, no bidding war, etc.), and if they do, we will take them up on it, but if not, we may just go back to renting.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy May 9, 2017, 1:23 pm

      I know you’re right about kids not needing a home that we live in forever. I grew up moving every two years and while there was a lot about my childhood that was pretty great, the instability was challenging. I always wanted to give my kids that thing that I didn’t have. But, whatever. I’m sure I’m also giving them something that they won’t like that, if they have their own kids one day, they’ll want to do a different way.

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        Kate May 9, 2017, 1:27 pm

        Well, moving every two years, yeah, that’s rough. I can see why that would make you want to put down roots. We moved from my childhood house when I was going into 6th grade, because my mom got a new job in MA instead of NH, and that really sucked, but I ended up ok. Then they moved again from that place to a new one 10 years later, so there’s no, like, home base where we always lived, and I’m ok with that. I don’t feel like I need it. Might be different if we were moving every couple of years though, I can see that.

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        RedRoverRedRover May 9, 2017, 3:41 pm

        FWIW, I lived in the same house for pretty much my entire life till I moved out, and I don’t sit around going “it was so great always living in one place”. I guess because I don’t know anything different, it just seems normal. But looking back I think I may have been *better* off if we’d moved somewhere else. It forces you to develop different skills, when you have to make friends in a new school. Also I kind of got “typecast” into a certain persona and it would have been nice to get rid of that (I had to wait till university to really be seen for who I was). So, pros and cons, I’d say. Also if it becomes a choice of living in an awesome city in a rental, or a boring suburb in a house you own… I gotta think awesome city is better. I lived in a smallish city growing up and it wasn’t great. Not much opportunity, not much of an option for schooling, jobs, internships, volunteering, etc as I got older. Just something to consider.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki May 9, 2017, 1:15 pm

    I own a home (a duplex that we share with my mom – its like living together but with more privacy) but we have been thinking of moving somewhere warmer recently. Well, to be honest we think about it every year from Oct-April but this year we started seriously considering it. But my mom just bought us a gigantic play set for the backyard that pretty much removes any need to go to a park so there’s that…
    Where I really am is that I’m 3 months into a new job that I’m not loving. Its not very fulfilling for me, but I was so miserable at my last job that I needed out. And there are huge perks that I don’t want to give up now (hello free parking and flexible hours).

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark May 9, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Homeownership is just something designed to make almost everyone feel grossly inadequate after they’ve finally stopped obsessing over their looks.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark May 9, 2017, 1:24 pm

    PS –Yikes! Okay, that Eileen Fisher collection would make pretty much anybody depressed as that must be the blandest fashion collection to ever be sold in stores everywhere! 😉

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      LisforLeslie May 9, 2017, 1:52 pm

      I refer to it as the “I have money and I have given up look” Because that shit is ridiculously expensive and it’s FRAGILE. I’ve bought a couple of her sweaters and they get holes if you look at them wrong let alone do stupid things like put a purse on your shoulder or wear outside.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark May 9, 2017, 1:55 pm

        Shapeless silhouettes. Colors that look like ugly couch fabic sample swatches. Just… Ghastly.

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        LisforLeslie May 9, 2017, 2:51 pm

        Never go to Woodstock NY. It’s all schmatas like that as far as the eye can see.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy May 9, 2017, 3:25 pm

        Haha. I had to google “schmatas.”

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      Kate May 9, 2017, 1:58 pm

      Yeah, it’s awful. I have to say even Chico’s is worlds better. My aunt is around 70 and wears a lot of Chico’s, and at least it’s colorful and has a fit to it.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny May 9, 2017, 2:30 pm

    Oh real estate. I live in a neighborhood with houses that sell for $2.5m. I would love to buy something for myself someday, but that day is a long way off!
    I hope that you find something soon Wendy!
    I went through a “searching” period about 3 years ago. I ended up realizing that to stay on the path I was on was the best bet, and it’s worked out ok, so far, anyway.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star May 9, 2017, 2:43 pm

    Last year, in order, I moved in with my boyfriend, got engaged, bought a house with my now-fiance, moved all of our stuff into THAT house, sold his house, and got married. House hunting itself was a breeze, but that’s probably because I live in a Midwestern suburb so prices are normal and houses are plentiful. (And we have a friend who is also a great realtor.)

    I think the breakneck pace of my life last year colors my perspective now (KIDS! MUST HAVE THEM IMMEDIATELY!). I feel like if I don’t keep up the pace, I’ll miss out. A different but also stressful situation.

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  • Copa

    Copa May 9, 2017, 2:58 pm

    Sugar cleanses and eating plans like Whole 30 and “in” right now. I’ve long thought eating a less strict version of Whole 30 is what’s healthiest — even if I’m not always the best at eating like that — and I couldn’t find the bacon I like (with no added sugar) at my local Whole Foods until, like, March because everyone wanted to hop on the bandwagon. It’s weird and annoying how many foods have sugar added to them.

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      TheHizzy May 9, 2017, 4:29 pm

      I have done Whole30 and am about to head back down the path again. I felt great when I did it about 3 years ago. It’s also how I learned I am gluten free.

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      • Copa

        Copa May 9, 2017, 4:58 pm

        I loved Whole30, but it’s a little too strict for me. I learned that too many refined carbohydrates and too much dairy gives me the horrible acid reflux I frequently get when my diet sucks. When I’m watching my diet, though, I am mindful of Whole 30. Lots of veggies, protein, and healthy fats. I allow oatmeal and legumes in my diet. My big thing is that I want to eat as little added sugar as possible. It can be tricky with work lunches or dinners, but I try my best without obsessing. Last Monday, I decided I really need to lose the 15 lbs I gained in the last year; I lost 2.8 lbs in the past week eating this way. And have no acid reflux. And overall feel good!

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    FannyBrice May 9, 2017, 3:21 pm

    44 so it took me a little longer, but yes I am feeling something similar. My husband & are financially secure, happily childfree, careers going well….and I’m getting an antsy feeling. I try to think of it as less of a mid life crisis and more of a “leveling up.” I’ve **finally** conquered this whole responsible adult level of life, so what’s next? What’s my new challenge? Going back to school to add a niche but sought after skill for my career is an option, but expensive and for now we are focused on being able to retire early and travel a lot and/or buy a 2nd home to spend winters in. Or maybe I’ll pick up a new hobby or an old one I sort of forgot about. Or maybe I should spend more time with my parents while they’re still relatively healthy and active. Or, or, or, or….

    I’m trying to remeber to enjoy the journey and to enjoy the search for what’s next. I work with a lot of senior citizens and the ones who stay young at heart are the ones who are also always searching, learning, challenging themselves, and seeking. I use them as my guides.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy May 9, 2017, 3:27 pm

      Travel now!!

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        FannyBrice May 9, 2017, 3:57 pm

        We do!!! Just got back from one long weekend and leaving for a 2 week trip to Europe next month – but we want to do it full time some day, and be able to spend like MONTHS in a place and really get to know it. For now, we work. In 10 years though…..

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy May 9, 2017, 4:43 pm

        Yeah, that’s our goal, too, once we’re empty-nesters (only 16 or 17 years to go – ha!). We just have to make sure we’re in good physical and financial shape to swing it!

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      FannyBrice May 9, 2017, 11:41 pm

      Yeah that whole “having to pay for stuff” business is really slowing us down. But someday soon!!

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    RedRoverRedRover May 9, 2017, 3:36 pm

    Oh my god, this speaks to me. I’m in the middle of a crisis right now too. I just started back to work yesterday after a year off for mat leave, and things are going to shit. My company has apparently changed their stance on working from home, so they’re going to force me to go into the office even though I spend most of my day on the phone talking to people in different cities. It means probably 2 hours a day wasted in the car. 2 extra hours I don’t have. And if we move closer to my work, we move further from my husband’s, and he already has a long commute. Although his boss is trying to push him out of his job, which has been an added stress. Then our daycare screwed us, as I already outlined once in a forum post, so we’re piecing together childcare right now. I think we’re going to have to get a nanny, at least part-time, because there’s no way I have time after work to make the commute home, pick up one kid at daycare and one at school, make dinner, and get them to eat it before bedtime routine (which starts at 6pm for my younger one). Because I often have meetings till 5, so that’s impossible. My husband can leave around 4 but because of his commute he usually isn’t home with my son till about 5:30.

    On top of that my daughter’s constantly sick because she started daycare, which means I’m constantly sick. Since March Break, pretty much. I’m completely wiped out, and now her ears are filled with fluid and she can’t sleep without being medicated (just tylenol or whatever) and since it wears off every 5-6 hours, she wakes up screaming every 5-6 hours. Which means I get less than 5-6 hours of sleep every night. It’s horrible. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this, honestly. I feel like I was already struggling just being at home with her, with both of us always sick and me getting hardly any sleep. At least I could grab a nap here and there. But now I can’t even do that, and soon I’ll have to add a commute on top of everything else. Plus I get the feeling from my new manager that he expects a lot of travel. If that’s the case I’m going to have to quit. The job is really interesting, but I can’t travel all the time. I had a job before where I travelled about 40-50% of the time and I hated it. It’s not for me. And that was before marriage and kids.

    Ugh. I guess this is more of a crisis-crisis than a midlife-crisis. I’m not searching for anything but a way out of this mess, and a way to get more sleep. A couple years ago we bought our “forever” home, and I took a new step in my career, so maybe that was my midlife crisis, but we did it in between having babies so guess I didn’t really notice because I was so busy with toddlerhood/pregnancy. When does life get easier?

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    • juliecatharine

      Juliecatharine May 9, 2017, 4:50 pm

      That’s pretty brutal Red. I hope things get better or at least you get a little respite!!

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        RedRoverRedRover May 10, 2017, 10:53 am

        Thanks juliecatherine!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy May 9, 2017, 6:36 pm

      Oh, that’s a lot. I’m sorry. It sounds like you have to make some decisions about priorities and the best way to meet them with the least amount of restrictions. And that sounds pretty mid-life crisis-y to me. It’s about thinking of the next chapter of your life, what you want it to look like, and evaluating whether you’re on track to realize it.

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        RedRoverRedRover May 10, 2017, 10:52 am

        I suppose I don’t think of it as a midlife crisis because it’s not coming from me, internally. If the job I was coming back to was the same as the one I’d left, it would be fine. We had everything worked out with me working from home. If my husband’s job was safe we’d be rid of that stress, he liked it and was happy in it before. So while it’s a crisis, it’s not due to us personally feeling like we’re searching for that next thing or next direction, you know what I mean? Changes and decisions are being forced on us by external stuff that’s outside of our control. Which always sucks, but extra sucks right now because I thought that now that things are settling down, we’d have a few years of breathing space. You know, we bought our house, we had our kids, I’m done with pregnancy and done with mat leave, we had childcare set up, we’re ready. We were ready to just focus for the next few years, heads down at work, get as much time with the kids as possible. But now everything’s getting all fucked up and who knows how it’ll end up. And being constantly sick on top of it all is just killing me. Maybe this will all lead to an internal crisis as well as we see what our options are going forward, but so far it’s all external.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy May 10, 2017, 11:23 am

        I mean, my “mid-life crisis” is coming from external factors, too — my son got a diagnosis at the beginning of the school year that sent us all in a tailspin and, in addition, we haven’t been able to find a home to buy. Neither of these things is too much in my control, though they both require lots and lots of decision-making, longterm planning, and re-prioritizing our needs and wants. I have another friend, 40, who’s going through something of a midlife crisis. Her business burned down in a freak fire last summer — that wasn’t in her control, but it’s wreaked havoc on her life and caused her to have to re-evalute things. Another friend, who was happily married for 20 years, finds herself in the midst of a midlife crisis after her husband cheated on her and then left her for the other woman. I have other friends whose “midlife crises” all stemmed from similar events not in their control. I guess I don’t really think of a midlife crisis as an internal crisis, so much, because that hasn’t really been my experience or the experience of people around me. That’s what I mean about it not being as “sexy or dramatic” as the stereotypical midlife crisis we’ve associated with men in their 40s. For the women in my life around this age, it’s almost always external factors fucking up the plans that were in place, or creating these roadblocks on paths we were happily traveling along, and now we’re having to reassess and search for a way around the roadblock (or a different path, completely).

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        RedRoverRedRover May 10, 2017, 11:47 am

        Ah, I see what you’re saying. Yeah, my idea of midlife crisis was always the one you mentioned above as being sexy – the guy who wakes up in his 40s and realizes his life isn’t really what he wanted so he goes out and buys a red sports car and starts banging younger chicks. Which is something that came from inside himself – nothing in his life really changed except for the way he felt about it.

        But I suppose whether it’s internal or external, it’s still a crisis, like you say. And I’m midlife, so there you go. This must be it. Just gotta get through, I guess. Like everyone else. 🙂

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        Kate May 10, 2017, 11:48 am

        Yeah… I think when you’re younger, maybe you feel like you have to make all these things happen, you’re in control, you’re making the choices, it’s all you. And then something comes along and kicks you in the ass, or a series of things, and you realize, shit, I’m actually not in control of everything, decisions just got made for me that I didn’t want, and now I am suddenly on a different path. I’ve seen it happen to so many people, including myself a few times.

        The way I’m seeing it now, the only thing I have control over is trying to be a good person. I mean, right? Try to be good and do the right thing (I know people on here think I’m a bitch, but whatever, I’m not).

        But I have NO control over events, and you know what? That’s probably good, because if I did, I could really mess things up. So I see things that happen to me as like signs/signals or, I don’t know, directions. And try to listen for what the right thing is to do.

        I also think people on this thread who are finding they need to give up on some huge thing they wanted… yeah. Sometimes when that happens, it might be because you need to let go of thinking you could control it, and learn that you’re actually ok without it. And maybe at some point after that, it will come along. But you need to let go first?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy May 10, 2017, 11:58 am

        Yeah, that’s where I am now: in the acceptance phase of realizing I can’t control everything in my life. I’m a planner and, in a lot of ways, a do-er. I’m very responsible and I tend to make very well-considered, well-researched decisions (at least the big ones are made thoughtfully) precisely as a way of exercising control and maintaining equilibrium in my life. Well, haha, joke’s on me because even all the thought and care in the world won’t protect you from change and just shit happening out of your control. I am taking the very long way around accepting this, but I’m getting there, and I am even beginning to see some beauty in, if not the unknown, then at least in some of the surprises I’ve been dealt recently.

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        RedRoverRedRover May 10, 2017, 12:51 pm

        I don’t think it’s a control thing for me. I’ve never been a big planner, more of a “let life come at me and I’ll deal with it as it comes” person. Problem is, SO much of it is coming at me right now and I feel like I can’t deal with it. I guess maybe the underlying issue is that when you have kids, your options start to disappear. Maybe I’m feeling more trapped, more hemmed-in. I guess that happens as you get older too, in general. Less time to save before retirement, fewer options for changing your life if you want/need to, etc. You just start to hit that wall.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy May 10, 2017, 1:23 pm

        I think for sure kids limit options and can hem you in, as well as create a buttload of additional life challenges (as well as joy, of course!). But life throws curveballs to everyone, whether they have kids or not. I am empathizing with your situation though! Especially the lack of sleep. Joanie has literally, never once, slept through the night. At least, not that I can remember. Until only a few weeks ago, she was waking up three times a night (a sleep regression that lasted months and months no matter what we tried, including many nights of crying it out). I have lost so much sleep in the last year I sometimes don’t even know what end is up. When you’re sleep deprived, everything feels crazy. It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture and to feel overwhelmed even by little things, never mind big things that would rattle even the most well-rested!

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        RedRoverRedRover May 10, 2017, 1:32 pm

        Never slept through the night? Omg, now I feel bad for complaining. And my little one did sleep through last night! I don’t know if it was just a one-off or if the fluid is actually draining, hopefully the latter since I don’t want to get tubes for her ears. But you’re right how much it changes your perspective when you get no sleep. Even just one night of sleep, and I feel so much more able to tackle things! I hope it gets better for you soon, I can’t even imagine. I guess Addie is going through similar, and she’s all but disappeared from here.

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        Kate May 10, 2017, 1:48 pm

        Wendy, I feel like 85% or more of your problem right now is probably the lack of sleep. If I have a couple bad nights, I’m a wreck. I’ve had insomnia where I got like 0-2 hrs a night and felt like I was going crazy. Even when it’s not that extreme, it feels like depression or mental illness, and it will mess with your weight too. You’re going to eat more carby stuff, and your metabolism is out of whack. I think Joanie will grow out of this and you’ll feel a lot better.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy May 10, 2017, 2:56 pm

        Oh, definitely! I will feel like a different person when I start sleeping again!!!

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      carolann May 11, 2017, 12:51 am

      Have you tried warm salt in a sock ? It really helps draw out infection in the ear and relieves pain.

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    va-in-ny May 9, 2017, 4:13 pm

    I’m not in my 40s yet, but I am house-hunting with my husband in NY, so I feel ya there.

    It’s…. emotionally exhausting.

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      LisforLeslie May 9, 2017, 4:26 pm

      It’s crazy town right? As I said up thread, I’ve been considering Atlanta. If I were to pay there what I pay in NYC, I could get a 3 bedroom place with a pool, a gym and a doorman. But I’d have to buy a car and deal with traffic and it’s 1000 degrees there and it’s a super red state where my relatives have heard the phrase “Oh y’all are Joooooos? ” oh my.

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        carolann May 11, 2017, 1:04 am

        I was born and raised in Atlanta. (I am a Grady Baby, born downtown.) We have plenty of “Joooooos” here and most people in Atlanta do not talk like that. Now, outside of the Metro Atlanta area is a different story… depends on how far out you go.

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        LisforLeslie May 11, 2017, 6:39 am

        They were out near Cummings. But that’s not that far from the city…

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy May 9, 2017, 4:42 pm

      Totally! We’ve only bid on three places. The first two I was pretty in love with (the first was over a year ago, the second a month ago. And this morning we found out we didn’t get the third, but I knew not to even get my hopes about it, so I’m not upset.). But, yeah, it gets really emotionally draining and you can’t help but second-guess yourself and do soul-searching about what’s important to you (which is good to do! but also a little emotionally exhausting).

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark May 9, 2017, 5:25 pm

        It NEVER ends… if you get the place, then it’s did we make the right decision? Is this where we REALLY want to live?! 😉

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      FannyBrice May 9, 2017, 11:40 pm

      NYC is like the Hunger Games of real estate. It’s tough out there!!

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        LisforLeslie May 10, 2017, 6:25 am

        That is a very apt description. There are so many different variables and you have to put it all on the line. I can’t even imagine having to deal with a co-op board approval. Feh. I mean, I’d win ’em over. I’m old. I’m employed. I’m quiet. But feh.

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  • avatar

    TheHizzy May 9, 2017, 4:23 pm

    Having recently purchased my first house I can feel the pain. I looked several years back but it was far too aggressive. It took me another year to find where I am now. I casually looked for about 6 months and then aggressively looked for 3. Offered on many a homes before getting mine. It’s very deflating.

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    • avatar

      bondgirl May 9, 2017, 7:11 pm

      Just lost my house offer to a higher bid despite that we were in the middle of attorney review, so I am feeling this post. Shouldn’t even be legal for the sellers to pull crap like this.

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      • avatar

        TheHizzy May 9, 2017, 9:54 pm

        Yeah. So many houses went to the highest bidder. I am waiting for the housing bubble to crash here. It’ll be a while. It was so frustrating because I didn’t have the means to pay extra like that. So many houses are going for way over asking. Talking $20k over.

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  • TheLadyE

    TheLadyE May 9, 2017, 6:09 pm

    I wouldn’t say I’m having a mid-life crisis, but I am getting to a point where I think I need to reset my expectations for what my future life will be like. I have always, always wanted a partner and a strong marriage, and perhaps children. The older I get, it seems more and more likely that the children part will never happen, and I’m not holding out hope for the marriage part either. I realized recently during my dating hiatus that I’ve only ever been in 3 real long-term (like, year-long) relationships, and each of them were very difficult for different reasons. I’ve never been in a successful long term relationship where I felt safe and loved and appreciated the majority of the time. Never.

    I’ve also begun to realize that I don’t have the emotional and mental capacity to work hard on my dream job (screenwriting) while I’m working a demanding day job that requires a lot of my mental and emotional energy. That means that either I’m going to need to resign myself to give up on my dreams, or work hard and save up some serious coin so I can afford to have a second career in a well-nigh-on-impossible-to-break-into industry. Neither of those choices sound great.

    For now, I’m working hard to build up my career and earning potential so I can take good care of my dog when she gets elderly, perhaps travel internationally in my 40s since I’ll most likely be single and childless, and reframe my idea of male companionship so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life virtually celibate because I can’t find anyone who I want to be in a long term relationship with (and who wants to be in one with me, which seems to be the more difficult part).

    There’s a rather calming sense of peace about it, though, surprisingly. Giving up the fight is a bit of a relief.

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  • avatar

    Ange May 9, 2017, 6:51 pm

    Home ownership? Jesus not unless I have a spare half mil to spend on a 1 bedroom unit, Australia’s property market is bonkers. I’m getting to the age where if we don’t do it soon neither of us will be able to get a loan because we’ll be retired before the term is up but the prices are just insane. I would love a house but not at the cost of a life….

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl May 9, 2017, 9:22 pm

    ugh. Okay almost 32 which is not quite at midlife, over the quarters , so not sure what to call this.. next step crisis?

    I just bought and researched prenatal vitamins. I just dropped a whole ton of $$ on ‘pregnancy safe’ products at my derm. I’m currently eating as much sushi as I possibly can and drinking rose all day.

    And then my husband says he doesn’t think either of us will be in the same jobs or city in a year.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? How am I supposed to get pregnant, leave my job, get a new job, get maternity leave, move to a new city with no friends and leave Chicago behind where I have a huge support system, not to mention friends I love who I was hoping my good karma would come around and help me out once i a)conceive and b) pop this kid out

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    • MaterialsGirl

      MaterialsGirl May 9, 2017, 9:23 pm

      Oh and then it’s like, okay if we stay.. buy a house in Chicago and deal with those shenanigans.

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  • avatar

    freckles May 10, 2017, 7:14 am

    I feel you on this. I’m 31 right now, so not a midlife crisis for me per se, but I was/am having an existential crisis. I’ve written about this in the forums, but my husband and I were having some fertility challenges. The update to that is we’ve decided not to have kids. Which I’m fine with. It’s definitely an adjustment, and there’s still some emotions and things I’m processing, but overall I’m just relieved to be out of limbo. I was getting mildly depressed though, and with everything going on I started to question what the point of it all was. I went on an antidepressant, so between that and getting out of fertility limbo, things are better, but now I’m going through a where-am-i going crisis.

    My life isn’t going to look like what I thought it would, so now I’m trying to figure out what it will look like. And what do we want to do now that we know we’re not having kids. Once again, @FannyBrice, you wrote exactly what we’re thinking. We want to be able to travel a ton, and buy a second vacation house one day. Hell, we want to buy our first house. But where do we want to live? I’m not a huge fan of the city I live in now, and the house prices are bonkers, but what city do we want to live in?

    Also I’ve decided to start job hunting, but I’m trying to make a career pivot, and I’m dealing with some serious Imposter Syndrome, thinking I’m not going to be good enough for any of the jobs I want. Never mind that several men I worked with got the type of job I want to get with less experience than I have now 😛

    All in all, there are a lot of changes going on in my life, and I’m trying to figure out where I’m going and what my life with look like. But I’m getting there, one day at a time. And you will too Wendy!

    One thing I’m struggling to accept and remember (but which helps) is there is no right answer. I kept trying to figure out what the RIGHT choice would be. What I SHOULD choose. But there isn’t one. Every choice we make will have pros and cons, and come with highs and lows, great experiences and regrets. So we just need to pick a choice and try to focus on the positives, instead of all the things you’re leaving behind by not making the other choice. I’m working on it, and slowly getting there.

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    • avatar

      TheHizzy May 10, 2017, 7:24 am

      I am 31 and last year (right before 31) I made a total career/industry change. It’s been hard but it’s been good. I’m glad to have done it but I often miss how familiar I was with my old job.

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        freckles May 10, 2017, 7:11 pm

        That’s one of the things that makes me nervous! I’m SO comfortable where I am now. I’m one of the most senior people. I know things. I can come and go as I please. I have tons of flexibility.

        The idea of starting over a new company is overwhelming and scary, much less a new career. I hate feeling stupid, and like I don’t know things, and I know that’s something I’m going to have to deal with for at least a year once I switch. But I do want to do it! So I’m going to take the plunge! (Hopefully, if I can get a job!)

        I’m glad to hear it worked out for you. That’s reassuring 🙂

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    Anon from LA May 10, 2017, 10:41 am

    I sorta feel like I’m just on the other side of where you are, Wendy. The husband and I are just over 30, and even though we make a lot of money (and save a lot too) for our ages, we can’t afford a house in LA. We’re hoping to buy a condo or town house in a year or two but the market is so awful here. And I don’t even really want to be a homeowner–I just want to be able to control *when* I move so that I’m not moving every year or two. (My husband hasn’t lived in the same apartment for more than 2 years since he was 18.) Honestly, the whole thing is pretty depressing.

    On top of that, I know my husband is going to want to have a kid in a couple of years, and I’m worried that I’ll never get to the place where I actually actively want kids. My career isn’t where I want it to be, and I am just not convinced I’d be a good parent. I’m not a caretaker by nature, and frankly, I’m a really neurotic person who doesn’t handle stress well. I kind of hate responsibility. And I’m at high risk for PPD, so… I just can’t picture a scenario in which parenting will not be bad for mental and emotional health.

    I don’t know. I feel like the last couple of years I’ve waken up to the fact that I don’t like being an adult. And the older I get, the more being an adult really sucks.

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    _s_ May 10, 2017, 12:08 pm

    I’ll be 39 in a few months, and I think I hit what Wendy is talking about starting about 4 years ago, when I finally managed to leave a job situation that was making me unhappy, and then follow it up three years ago when I decided it was time to time to ditch the suburbs and the long ass commute for something more in the city (since we could finally afford it). So I’ve actually pretty much spent the last few years chilling and enjoying the novelty (which has still not worn off) of a job I like and living close where I want (couldn’t afford where we REALLY wanted but managed to get much closer than we were!). So I guess my version of of the late-30s/early-40s scenario is that I finally managed to wrangle us into a real, actual vacation (it’s been 5 years since our last one, and before that it was 8 years). But other than that I’m actually pretty content at this point in my life.

    I do agree that house hunting is THE WORST, and home ownership definitely not a cure-all and not for everybody. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great not to share walls with anyone and be able to remodel and build equity, but maintenance and upkeep is expensive and annoying.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy May 10, 2017, 12:21 pm

      Ugh, I think I just want to keep renting! We want to at least upgrade our rental, which we can afford to do now. And while the housing market is fucking insane in our neck of the woods, the rental market is softening do to an influx of new condos all over the city (but especially in and around our neighborhood). I want to wait and see if we end up moving Jackson to a different school before we commit to anything, but I am leaning more and more towards avoiding home ownership. Here in NYC, real estate isn’t even necessarily the best financial investment for your money, so when building equity isn’t really a motivation, it does make renting that much more attractive…

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      • avatar

        Kate May 10, 2017, 12:54 pm

        Those buildings are going up like mushrooms all over Boston too. They’re sticking them in really weird places where previously there was nothing, like right on the highways. And putting buildings in front of other buildings so that if there was any view, now it’s gone. Some of them are in good locations and look really nice, but they’re multi millions. Many will be underwater (literally) in a few decades.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl May 10, 2017, 12:59 pm

        maybe the key is not to buy your every day home, Wendy? Maybe it’s buy a summer place or something back in MO. you can rent it out when you want or use it when you want. Something that isn’t a million bucks!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy May 10, 2017, 1:25 pm

        We’ve been thinking about that, too! Not in missouri though — my folks have plenty of room for us when we want to visit. Maybe chicago though! Or upstate NY where we can get away on weekends and in the summer. That sounds nice.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl May 10, 2017, 1:28 pm

        yeah that sounds like a house for making some memories 🙂

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        RedRoverRedRover May 10, 2017, 1:32 pm

        This is an awesome idea. Especially if it could be the place you retire too, as well. How nice would that be???

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        freckles May 10, 2017, 7:13 pm

        Vermont! I would love to buy a place near Stowe… sigh…

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        freckles May 10, 2017, 7:13 pm

        Or a place on the Jersey shore! Cape May… Ocean City…

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        LisforLeslie May 11, 2017, 6:43 am

        I vote upstate NY . My folks have a place in Windham near Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain. 2.5 hour drive and you’re in the Catskills. They used to go up every weekend to ski, then when they retired, they spent summers there.

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      • avatar

        bondgirl May 11, 2017, 9:25 am

        Absolutely LOVE Windham and Hunter! Plenty of hiking trails and watering holes around that area. Vermont is also an excellent choice — plenty of ski resorts and breweries! I also hear the Adirondacks has fantastic scenery.

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  • avatar

    D June 1, 2017, 12:56 pm

    Maybe that’s my problem. I’ll be 42 in a few months, and suddenly….I haven’t been feeling like I ‘fit in’ – to my own life lately. That exciting realization I had around 40 that I didn’t give as much of a s#it as I used to has morphed into a vague, uneasy lassitude about my life. Holy s#it…..maybe this is what a midlife crisis is! Not with a roar but a whimper’? In that case, it’s so subtle I missed the signs. :/

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