mid-life carousal (phr.) the substitution of shameless hedonism for existential panic, occurring roughly at the forty-year mark.
I entered my fifth decade a couple of days ago, and this is traditionally considered a period during which I should be purchasing a fast car, leaving my wife, or undertaking an unnecessarily strenuous and counterproductive gym regime. Lacking a driving licence or spouse, and already spending far too much of my gym time dicking around with the weights when I should be burning calories, I would not be able to manifest the usual symptoms of mid-life crisisery were I thus inclined, but I find that I do not have these urges anyway. The inevitability of nothingness and consequent futility of all life notwithstanding, I am largely of a cheerful and optimistic disposition, and I see the trivial fact that we live with a base-ten counting system as a poor justification for existential panic. So forty has been an excuse for a party, and little more.
As the particular combination of nucleotides that first came into existence forty years and nine months ago—and with any luck will continue replicating themselves for another forty years or so—rather unusually produced two independent organisms, I came over to Australia, where the other half of my DNA’s biomass is busily self-replicating, with the express and simple purpose of enjoyably poisoning a few million of the rather more sophisticatedly-specialized of its replicatory protein factories.
That is, we drank an awful lot of Grenache.
Did we take stock of our lives, compare our achievements and failures, evaluate our aspirations, and make plans for the future?
No, we drank some more Grenache.
Did we rake over the groundwork of our thorough-going atheism in attempt to find a chink through which we could convince ourselves of the possibility of eternity, or speculate on the moral status of our immortal souls?
No, but I think the next bottle was a Pinot.
It is true that we had a serious conversation about our responsibilities towards inter-generational justice, specifically around the nature of environmentally-responsible behaviour and issues concerning economic security and taxation, but this is geekily normal fare for us. We also had another bottle of Grenache.
I feel, though, it would be unreasonable of me to not take this moment to branch out, experience, try something new. And so, in honour of the country in which we have caroused ourselves into our respective second halves, I have bought today a packet of Tim-Tams and some teabags. We had a rather fine posh lunch with the first bottle of Grenache on Wednesday: but I understand that this is nothing compared with the gustatory revelation that we will be undergoing later today.
Watch this space for a report.
- This is actually a myth: alcohol does not kill your neurons, and only usage on a level that even I cannot endorse will cause permanent damage to them.