Leadership optimize

One geek's approach to handling his midlife crisis

Find out how a shiny new tech toy, zombies, apes, and other geeky amusements helped Edmond Woychowsky get through his midlife funk.

The phrase midlife crisis makes one think of old guys buying Corvettes and taking road trips to Mexico -- at least that's the kind of thing that I remember from my Uncle Bruno's midlife crisis. My Uncle Stanley lived in Florida, so I only heard tales of his new boat and tarpon fishing. My father, on the other hand, bought expensive fishing equipment and started visiting seafood restaurants to both see and eat what he wasn't catching.

My midlife crisis came as something of a shock and is rather difficult to describe. It was like one day realizing that there were no more dragons left to slay and that the odds of my ever making it to Mars were just slightly north of nil. Yeah, I know dragons were just as gone the day before, and Mars wasn't on the itinerary either, but something drove the point home. I suddenly knew what Bilbo meant when he said that he felt like butter spread over too much bread.

I needed to find a way out of my funk, and quickly. Not because I was the possessor of an artifact of ancient evil, but rather because I was beginning to feel rather ancient. So, with a dirge in my heart, I began my quest to maybe recapture some of my lost youth.

I never considered getting a Corvette or a boat, though I would have gotten a submarine if it was inside my price range, but who'd trust their life to a $500 submarine? Fortunately, around the same time my MP3 player went belly up, which kept me from considering anything insanely stupid, or at least potently fatally stupid. I decided to spend my money on geeky toys.

My first purchase was a 32 GB iPod touch, which gave me a bit of trouble when I updated it to the latest version of iOS (hint: firewalls can sometimes get it the way). Once that issue was corrected, my next purchase was Plants vs. Zombies for the iPod touch, which was followed quickly by The Walking Dead: Season One.

There was still a somber theme going on, but the purchases, especially the videos, seemed to help. So, armed with this knowledge, I bought Inception, Predators, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Captain America: The First Avenger. All of the movies helped, though I found myself watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes about once a week. The movie seemed to strike a chord in me, probably because I was a little kid when the original Planet of the Apes came out. It seemed that I had finally found my Corvette, to quote Sir Terry Pratchett, "Ook!"

I bought the original series of movies -- Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes -- and watched all of them with my daughter in about three days. Every film triggered a memory.

All in all, it's good to be a geek, especially when there are videos and people to share them with when you're in a funk.

11 comments
necessaryevil
necessaryevil

I too have found that gadgets are the key to still feeling young. And keeping my collection of music and movies from my youth ever growing. Cheaper than a slick new sports car or boat. I do have a couple of co-workers who went the boat/fishing route.

jreddan
jreddan

I enjoyed your well written article. But beware - if you 'solved' your crisis with a toy and watching some videos with your daughter, you haven't experienced a 'real' mid life crisis yet. This was just a taste of things to come.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Tell me you didn't bust out laughing when you first saw the zombie that looks like a certain deceased pop star! At 53, I don't think I've hit a MLC yet. I got the notion to explore classical music for several months last spring, but I didn't really get anywhere. I didn't want to spend time giving a work the repeated listenings I was assured were necessary for enjoyment. I also found it difficult to grasp many concepts common to music in general, concepts that I hadn't needed to be familiar with for pop music. It was an interesting experiment and I learned some things, but I think I've just lost interest in music overall.

sissy sue
sissy sue

Thanks, Edmond and all you posters. I got a few laughs. When I hit my 40s, I went on a collectibles craze, going to flea markets and antique shops buying oodles of dolls and toys. I was living the dream I had when I was 7 years old -- having the money I needed to buy myself all the toys that I wanted. Then I hit my 60s and started to wonder what I was going to do with all the junk I had accumulated. I worried that my nephew and niece would just trash this expensive stuff when I died. Now I am considering ebay and other options to retrieve the money I spent during my own mid-life crisis. I no longer lurk around flea markets and antique shops; if I want to find collectibles, I stroll around in my house, or just go through a drawer or closet.

Hal_9001
Hal_9001

I have reached my midlife crisis but in the words of Bono ... I still haven't found, what I'm looking for.

JustinF
JustinF

4 months into my 40s I bought my first motorbike & am learning to ride. I also bought all the Harry Potter DVDs to watch with my kids, a new guitar & built a media centre. No skinny jeans or toupees though :)

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Having enough money to buy what you want. unlike when you where younger and just starting out and where too poor to afford anything once you put down whatever money you could scrimp & save on your house. Looks like I'll have a long wait to have a [b]Mid Life Crisis[/b] and it's more likely to be a [b]End of Life Crisis[/b] as I'm way too poor to even buy what i need let alone what i want. It's nearly killing me keeping [b]SWMBO[/b] living in the style that she wants to. ;) Col

denbo68
denbo68

I ended up buying an oscilloscope and playing around with electronics. Not exactly a Corvette but

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Should I be looking into that boat, because I can't drive a stick.

jred
jred

Is a great stress reliever. So is wrenching. Buy an old metric for cheap & fix it up. And please, take at least one MSF riding class. I try to take one at least every 5 years, and I've been riding for 30+ years. Helps keep the shiny side up & the rubber side down :)

don.howard
don.howard

I just started riding again having not ridden since college. Got a few years on Justin though. I'm ready for the warm weather now. Oh and for sure, take the MSF course. It can be a life saver.