I’ve spoke about how much I’m enjoying my mid-life crisis in previous blogs. I’ve been in it now for the best part of ten years and it’s probably the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m having all the fun I had in my twenties but I have the security and foundation of a very loving and supportive family. So basically, all the stuff I thought I had to say goodbye to, as I entered my thirties, has continued, under the guise of ‘professional idiot.’ In a word, I’m making a living out of avoiding a real job and having fun doing it.
One of the off-shoots of my job and being in this so-called ‘mid-life crisis’ is that I’ve rediscovered my love of danger. As kids and probably in my teens and all through my twenties, I was fearless. I can vividly remember thinking I will never get old and I will never die. Not yet, anyway. I had an indestructible force about me that said, ‘I am invincible. Stupid but invincible.’
This manifested itself in many ways. If my group of mates dared someone to do something ridiculous, I was always the first one to volunteer. This was mainly reckless, drunken behaviour in my twenties but the attitude beneath the bravado, was undeniably fearless. I skydived in New Zealand, despite being terrified of heights. I went white-water rafting in the same country. I started cross-dressing in public. I did many brave things, without giving it a second thought.And then things change. You get older. Friends of a similar age die and you suddenly realise that perhaps you are not immortal. And you start to feel a weird mixture of responsibility and vulnerability.
Certainly, becoming a parent changes you. You can’t go around being reckless, if there’s a little person looking up to you for guidance and wisdom. And so suddenly, I went from a fearless superhero to a responsible wimp. I wouldn’t even go on any rides on the pier, ‘in case I put my back out.’ I became overly cautious and rather than Judo, as I did as a kid, I went for Hatha Yoga. Which is about as fluffy as you can get when it comes to physical exercise. And it helped keep my back in place.
However, as my boy edges towards his teens and starts to become more confident in trying new things, I myself have started entering a new phase. I’ve re-discovered my bottle. I’ve started getting dangerous again. I’m not sure why but I suspect apart from the obvious opportunities my job presents me, I have realised that I will die one day, so what if I never give these things a go?
So, in the last year, I’ve been on the back of a jet-ski flying towards the pier at 50mph and abseiled down the side of the Grand Hotel, dressed as Spiderman. I’m back in the game. Life’s too short.