★ ★ ★ ★
MALCONTENT (AND MAYBE GAY) IN MIDLIFE
I’m a middle-aged man who married his dream woman, with two bright nearly teens. I work in real-estate for a boss who wants to hand me his company when he retires. It’s easy and well-paid work. I have a small group of close friends. From the outside I have it all, but on the inside I’m not happy. I’d describe it as a greyness that’s there from when I wake till I go to sleep. A kind of general dissatisfaction with life. It all began about a year ago when a new guy moved into our building. He keeps to himself and we’ve barely exchanged pleasantries. He’s young, single and seems to have a revolving door policy regarding girlfriends. I found myself imagining his life and truthfully I’m jealous. What the hell is wrong with me? I’m embarrassed by these malcontent midlife crisis feelings but can’t turn them off. And the more I do the more frustrated I get. Recently I’ve taken to shouting at my wife and kids, and I’m thinking about my neighbor way too much. Last I had an erotic dream about him! Now I’m plagued by thoughts that maybe I’m gay.
Malcontent (and Maybe Gay) in Midlife
* * *
Dear Malcontent (and Maybe Gay) in Midlife,
I’m going to give it to you straight, ahem, excuse the pun. Let’s deal with the gay thing first. Now I’m old-school Dublin, I’m nearly 80 years old and even I know that we are all a bit gay or a lot gay or whatever the fuck! There’s been plenty a family man to enjoy a little walk around the back of the park, if you know what I mean. Sure, Jaysus, I know three men who left their wives in the 70s to live with men, this was after they had kids. You need to get over the “worrying about being gay” thing, no one gives a flying fuck.
The thing that I picked up on is your existential crisis or in my day we called it a middle-aged crisis. I’m afraid you’re no different than any other man, I know you might secretly like to think you are and that maybe you still had your glory days ahead of you. I’m sure you secretly wish you were a rockstar getting fucked by some 20-year-old but you’re not. It’s very sad I know, I’m not being facetious either. It is very sad that you are living a life that means very little and that is the truth of it pet.
This is what your greyness and your depression and your fantasy is trying to tell you. Something is not right. We used to say, “He’s in the doldrums”.
Now I’m not going to tell you what to do, remember I’m a 78-year-old vulva. I’m just delighted to still be here, but you, by the sounds of your privileged male white middle-class life, you still have a lot of years left, possibly 40 more to go!
I suggest you get your head out of your hole and start doing something that’s going to make you feel something other than sorry for yourself and envious.
Here are some ideas, you can do all or none and in no order:
1. Volunteer at a refugee centre
2. Swim in the ocean
3. Take hallucinogenic plant spirit medicine
4. Go to an Irish sing song
5. Seek spiritual guidance
6. Listen to the Blindboy Boatclub podcast
7. Tell your wife how you feel, risky but it’s better than where you are
8. Go on a vision quest, don’t eat or drink for four days and hide in a remote forest
9. Listen to Arvo Part
10. Give up alcohol, that’ll make you feel loads of rage which is better than greyness
Lastly, think about how insignificant you are, totally and utterly in the grand scheme of things. Your family and friends love you but ten years after you’re dead no one will give a shit. Are you seriously going to spend the rest of this miracle that is life being unhappy or are you going to grab it by the bollix and get busy living?
Let me know how you get on and don’t try and ride your neighbour, that’s not in my list of suggestions!
A problem shared is a problem halved, as they like to say in Ireland.
If you have something that you would like to get advice on you can contact our wise and wonderful Growler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All correspondence will be confidential and the published letter will have a pseudonym.
Growler is a 78-year-old vulva from inner city Dublin, Ireland. She is an accidental activist, an abuse survivor, feminist and writer.
At The Wild Word we are proud to present some of the best online writing around, as well as being a platform for new and emerging writers and artists.
If you have read the work in The Wild Word and like what we do, please put something in our tip jar.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!