Why I Decided to Have My Mid-Life Crisis Early


[inlinetweet]I don’t think men ever grow up… They just get old[/inlinetweet]

Not only am I an example of this, but I’m an advocate of this.  Recently I was on my way home from a business trip and I was feeling great.  I was looking forward to seeing my kids after a few days away and to top it off it was a nice sunny day and I was driving my new sports car…. and as they say, that’s when the trouble started.

Let’s rewind three days…. I was in Melbourne with a colleague and we were a bit early for a client appointment so to kill some time we stopped at a nearby car yard.  I had spoken a few weeks earlier with my wife about my thoughts of buying a new car as my trusty old Merc now had 300,000 km on the clock and it seemed that every service required a whole lot of new parts… which is expensive.  The car yard happened to have one of the cars that I was considering buying so a test-drive was in order.

Test drive I did.  Let’s just say that not many cars can make a grown man giggle like a kid on a rollercoaster but this one did and after a quick call to the bank I was given the green light to negotiate… which I did… quickly and poorly, but successfully.

I was heading away on business that afternoon so I said to my colleague, “you head home with my old car, I’ll give my wife a call to let her know that you’re coming.” Well as luck (or lack of it) would have it, I wasn’t able to get in touch with my wife between then and boarding a plane…..

So picture this scene… my colleague rocks up to my house with my old car and hands the keys to my wife who asks “but how did Ash get to the airport?” which was followed by a presumably uncomfortable silence.

So my question is why was my wife so upset? We had spoken about the prospect of me getting a new car so it wasn’t a complete surprise, and it was a business car so there was zero impact on our personal cash-flow.  Was it the surprise factor?  I hope not, because a year earlier I bought her a car as a surprise and she thought that was fantastic!

I think the big problem was that at the time, we had two kids under 3, as well as a bun in the oven, buying a two door v8 sports car on an impulse, wasn’t the sort of thing that a father of three should be doing….  Or is it?  I think it is.

Not only is this type of behaviour more common but I’ll go one step further to say that I think it is necessary every now and then to do something immature (although I might have taken it to the extreme).

One thing that scares us guys more than the prospect of our daughters starting to go on dates, is the thought of getting old.  In days gone by there was something called a mid-life crisis. Characterised by an old bald guy in a red convertible accompanied by a much younger lady.  My theory is that these guys had spent years supressing their primal urge to do something stupid and irresponsible for so many years because fathers of three are supposed to be perpetually sensible and rational that they end up having some kind of melt-down… well I don’t want that.

I don’t want to ‘snap’ with some kind of emotional regression, I prefer to grow old instead of grow up, for the sake of my wife and kids.  So my apologies to my wife, but the BMW isn’t going to be the last childish decision that I make.

So fast forward 1 year, and I don’t really have any regrets.  Firstly, my kids love it.  I’ve fitted two child seats in the back and my two older children always want to ride in daddy’s car instead of “mummy’s boring car”…

Just in case my wife had got over the whole affair, I’m taking the car to a track day this weekend and to get into the spirit of the day, (and to prove to myself that I still haven’t grown up) I’ve put a great big racing stripe up the front, to which she had one word… “Why?”  which was a very good question….  My neighbour asked me this morning, “what’s with the stripe?” and the crew at work had a great time with it.  More importantly though, the kids were so excited that I now have “a racing car” so while it’s only temporary and it’s definitely childish, the most important people in my world love it and have promised to make up some more stickers for me to put on it… which I will do with pride.

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