How do you know if you’re suffering from a mid-life crisis? Feel the need to buy a sports car and play, ‘Mildly Disorientated’ Rascal (or whatever his name is) at full volume? Guys, have you decided to chat up your daughters 19 year old friend? Yeah, you’re getting a feel for it. But what happens when the hormones finally detonate in an implosion of impotence? Peace and tranquility up until the point you exit the land of the living on the back of some really thought provoking comment?
No! The chances are that Mother Nature has one last trick up her sleeve. One designed to scare the crap out of you. One designed to set you on the path to emotional turmoil during your last days. Welcome to the later life crisis.
But What Is A Later Life Crisis?
It’s a new term that’s been coined to describe a recently discovered dead zone in our lives: the dreaded 60’s. Up until this point, science had defined 3 phases in our lifecycle: birth, misery and death! Now they’ve added a fourth: Misery caused by the thought of impending death. It’s like pouring a healthy coating of hopelessness on top of an ice cream of desperation.
Here’s a quick recap for anyone that couldn’t be bothered following the link: it’s part of our quest for the meaning of life. The crisis often follows two or more life-changing event such as illness in loved one or themselves. The syndrome does not involve buying clothes that are far too tight and finding new ways to move your arthritic hips to music aimed at the teen market.
Bottom line: it’s all about death. More importantly, later life crisis is about our impending death.
But what has all of this got to do with sex and drugs?
Dirty Sex Is Where It All Starts
Give me a big thumbs up if you like sex.
Life begins with sex. Unless you were a result of Immaculate Conception in which case you can stop reading now because you’ll probably live forever – good for you! Accept the facts: those two old people you call your parents did have sex – at least once. The thought of their ancient bones slowly creaking into motion may be disturbing. The mental image of their lust-filled hours exploring the Karma Sutra may disturb you to the point of needing to see a psychiatrist but how else do you think you got here?
Fact: storks don’t have a built-in seat belt. Chances are you would have fallen from a great height.
Unless you’re lucky, life doesn’t end with sex. But it is one constant throughout our relatively short visit to planet Earth.
If you’ve ever read any historical documents then you already know that, hundreds of years ago, sex was considered dirty and a sin. But what you probably didn’t know is that even the most pious citizens from the Middle Ages were banging away like a privy door. Wealth helped you satisfy your carnal lust.
Being a king or nobility helped even more as it meant you could extend your royal bloodline with having to accept any responsibility for all those extra mouths to feed.
And this is part of our later life crisis. Sex is such an integral part of what we are that, when the fun stops, there’s a massive hole in ‘us’.
Take away the ability to enjoy mutual pleasure and we suddenly find ourselves looking into a gaping chasm (note: by gaping chasm I mean a hole in our lives and not…).
Naturally, as we get old *most* of us see a decline in our sex drive. Welcome to step one on the path to your late life crisis. So what else affects us?
Simple, it’s access to…
Drugs always have been and always will be part of our lives, whether you like it not.
Fact: The trials of the modern world ensure we consume huge quantities of performance enhancing drugs. Ok, “trials” is a bit strong. It’s not like we’re being hunted by prehistoric lobsters that make you shout, “Wow! Look at the size of that f…” just before it cuts you in half with its Dr Octavius-like claws. But right now, most of you are probably indulging in some kind of socially acceptable high. You know what I mean: not enough to elevate you to the heights of Lance Armstrong (and consequent) low but just enough to give you a little push aka coffee. Without it most of the modern world would never have come about.
Because coffee is the cornerstone of modern society. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Italians and Starbucks.
At the far end of the groovy, kaleidoscope-like spectrum we have the hard stuff. Drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, and heroin – they all exist because there’s a demand. In the twisted world of adult games of ‘doctors and nurses’, even Ketamine, a horse tranquiliser, has found a place in society’s quick high culture. But there are other, more natural highs available. The sort of highs that don’t lead to a life of knife crime and the need to cram ever stronger fixes into every available orifice in your body.
The problem most of have is that the natural highs we experience become less and less obtainable as each year passes. Runners high (not to be confused with ‘running away from the police’ high) is experienced by athletes as the body releases endorphins. Something that’s a bit beyond most 60 year old’s. Another natural high: the orgasm. Ok, still very achievable to some over 60’s but time and crumbling hips will make it unobtainable to all but the most robust of oldies (and recipients of hip transplants).
So, as our ability to indulge in dirty sex and free drugs slowly diminishes all that’s left is a fear of our impending death.
Keep smiling – I can see the sun rising.