This is Not a Midlife Crisis

Grown-up people are scary. They yell at each other in big, fancy rooms. They take money that isn’t theirs out of other grown-ups’ bank accounts. They shoot each other with real guns. They spread diseases that kill a million people. They put their things where they don’t belong. They’re out of control.

Being a grown-up is pretty scary, too. I have to go to a place where a lady with flappy grandma arms tells me what to do, and she gives me money to do those things, so I have to do them even if I don’t want to. If I don’t do them, she doesn’t just send me to the principal’s office. She tells me to go home and never come back—which would be awesome!—except that she won’t give me money anymore. And I need that money. I use it to pay for the car I drive to go to that place I don’t like, and the college I went to 20 years ago that gave me a virtually useless piece of paper. Oh, and like, I have to buy my own food and stuff now, too. And my own clothes. And my own electricity so I can see and be warm and watch baseball games on TV. And cat food for my cat that doesn’t even like me. By the time I use my money for all those things, I don’t have much left to buy talking Baby Yoda dolls, God of War video game subscriptions, and Marvel Funko Pops. It’s a real buzz kill, being a grown-up.

And I don’t wanna do it anymore.

Being a kid is where it’s at. When I think back to when I was, say, nine years old, the world was a different place. And I’m not talking about the changes between then and now in things like the political climate, societal values, or the economy. Because when I was nine, I didn’t know about any of those, nor did I care. When I was nine, all I knew about was the Ninja Turtles and the Super Mario Brothers, and all I cared about was Otter Pops, Superman movies, and Roald Dahl books. I never got overdue bills with my name on them; I got birthday cards with five dollars in them. When I was nine, police officers never asked me if I knew why they pulled me over; they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never worried about where my food and clothing was going to come from; it was just there. And when I was nine, grown-ups all thought I was cute and Santa Claus was still real.

I want to go back to that life.

No, I’m not talking about traveling back in time a la Marty McFly (that’s ridiculous). I’m not talking about aging backwards a la Benjamin Button (that’s absurd). I’m simply talking about re-capturing my youth like any other 40-to-60-year-old man. But this is NOT a mid-life crisis. Most 40-to-60-year-old men try to re-capture the glory and youth of their 19-to-22-year-old selves. They buy expensive cars they could never afford before; they date women young enough to be their daughters; they leave reliable corporate jobs to put on Hawaiian shirts and open restaurants in Malibu that go out of business in six months. But that stuff’s not for me. Because my glory days happened at a much younger age.

So from this day forward, I will live life through the eyes of my nine-year-old self. I will watch cartoons and eat Cocoa Pebbles in the morning. I will break off tree branches and swing them around like ninja swords. I will eat fluffernutters and drink Hawaiian Punch daily. I will go to bed at 8:30. Hell, I might even put my old Little League pants on and run around the bases backwards – who knows?—the sky’s the limit and the world is small when you’re nine. This is NOT a mid-life crisis.

So come along with me, won’t you? We can join hands and jump through the sprinkler. We can get chocolate ice cream all over our faces. We can join forces and fight King Koopa together (I get to be Mario). We can go the playground and hang out with children. Wait, that one sounds a little creepy. Sorry, I’m still working out the details. But hopefully I’ll see you somewhere fun soon!

This is NOT a mid-life crisis.

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