Ask Aunty Pam
Dear Aunty Pam,
I *think* I’m having a mid-life crisis. I say ‘think’ because I’ve never had one before and I’m wondering if you can help me.
I’m almost 50 and the wife of a retired career military officer. We’ve lived all over the U.S and are now settled in NC. It’s been a good and interesting life with three boys, two in college, one a junior in high school. They’re good kids, pretty responsible and respectful. We’re all healthy, and that’s a big blessing.
I keep feeling that I should be happier. I know I’ve had a life many would trade for, and yet, I just sort of feel like I’m coasting along. Before I met my husband, I was studying languages at university, and my dream was to live abroad in either Paris or Rome and either teach, translate, that sort of thing. While we’ve traveled a lot, it’s never been overseas, and I just feel like a big chunk of what had been my identity has been lost, that I never got to fulfill my goals. I love NC, especially the area where we live, but I just don’t feel at ‘home,’ here. I honestly still feel a pull to live overseas, but I don’t think my husband would go for it.
Is this a common reaction? Am I dreaming for pie in the sky? Am I being unreasonable? Help, please!
I’m assuming you know nothing about my background, otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered to write because you’d know my reply.
I’m a comedian. I’m somebody that quit college after 2 years and “closed the shop, sold the house, bought a ticket to the West Coast, now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A….” (No, I don’t know Billy Joel personally, but I couldn’t “go on the American way.”). After 4 years I, landed a sitcom which kept me employed for 7 years and then did some episodic work in-between. I am the last person you should ask if you’re being unreasonable or dreaming for pie in the sky. I’m all about dreaming your head off and flying without a net.
I do, however, know something about happiness because for 25 years my job was to stand on stage and make people belly laugh for an hour. For that hour I knew those people were happy. Afterwards, they paid their check, drove home and went on with their lives. I don’t know if they were happy as they left the theater, and that’s my point. ‘Happy’ is a temporary emotion, so when you say you feel as though you should be ‘happier,’ that’s not truly obtainable in the long run. But being ‘content’ is. Content rocks. It’s even keeled and coasts along without looking like a graph of the stock market.
It sounds as if France and Italy are still calling you. Well, for heaven’s sake, you watch House Hunters Int’l, don’t you? What’s to stop you from going over besides the fact that the EU has clamped shut their borders against we disease riddled Americans? Look, at some point, Covid will be behind us, and life will return to normal. It sounds as if your kids are pretty much out of the house, you’re alright, financially, and thank God you’re ONLY 50. And healthy! Baby, you’ve hit life’s trifecta. You’ve supported your husband’s career throughout your marriage, and if he’s a reasonable and emotionally generous man, I can’t see him poo-pooing the idea of at least spending a few weeks abroad here and there, you know? And if he doesn’t want to go, go on your own, or with a girlfriend.
There’s plenty of wonderful little farmhouses for rent throughout southern France and they’re very cheap. You could even purchase one and let it pay for itself as an AirBnb rental. And because you never got to live your dream of living abroad, you don’t really know, do you, if you’d actually dig it once you’re there? So, you might find just popping over once a year quenches that romantic thirst of wanderlust.
I’m a ‘get it done,’ kinda gal, Feely. We only have our health and youth once, K? So why not go for it? Life is short and dead is forever, so get cracking! Research appealing places online, check real estate and rental prices, then sit down with the hubs (a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc is an absolute must) and begin your plan. Because a goal without a plan is but a dream.
Do keep in touch! I want to know how this ends. Plus, I want to know if there’s a free place for me to crash somewhere in Provence within the next couple of years.