“Southern Voices” is a reader-submitted platform. Today’s submission comes from Janet Kurtz. If you have a story to tell, see our guidelines for submission here. We are specifically interested in moment-in-life articles, like today’s. New mom? New grandmother? First time dropping your child off at college? New empty-nester? Just hit a birthday with an “0” at the end and looking at your last and next decade with new eyes? We’d love to hear from you!
How to Have a Tastefully Curated Midlife Crisis
First, identify if you are, in fact, having a midlife crisis. A few diagnostic questions: Do you consider yourself young, but a glance at current clothing styles and music trends leaves you in a state of confusion? Are you looking around at your friends and wondering when those shimmers of gray appeared down the part in their hair? Have the simple joys of life become as stale as the half-eaten bag of Cheetos you found in your backseat? Did you quit your day job to become a consultant?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above, congratulations — you are the lucky winner of a midlife crisis. Allow me to present you with a quick step-by-step guide to leaning into your midlife crisis.
Your browser’s search history will be a strong indication of where you stand on your crisis journey. If your most recent search reads How long does a midlife crisis last? you are likely just beginning. Meanwhile, searches related to the sudden appearance of body hair in unsuspecting places will likely surface later in the cycle. Do set reminders to regularly erase your search history. Your heirs will thank you.
Curate a playlist of all your favorite songs from your early days. This will come in handy during violent emotional outbursts or ugly crying episodes in the shower, the perfect complement to your mood du jour. Extra points if any of the tracks transport you back to your seventh-grade crush on the eighth-grade hottie — what was his name again?
Join as many groups as possible that offer a respite from the humdrum of daily life. Become obsessed with your newfound hobbies and dedicate as much time to them as you would a full-time job. For example, sign up for a “Gluten Gluttony” group that will foster baking mania or a “Covet Thy Neighbor’s Dinner” to admire the images of awe-inspiring meals. Be forewarned: Side effects may include shame if your culinary skills peak at boiling water.
A crowd favorite is the “Rage Screaming and Needlepoint” group, empowering the community to craft beautifully embroidered throw pillows, which can be used to muffle exasperated screams during political debates or particularly excruciating episodes of Real Housewives. The catalog of online Faustian groups is limitless. If you are wondering if the group is a competition, you’ve already lost. Pony up and conquer the group chat.
Plan a crisis reveal party so you can properly announce your midlife crisis. The party should include Costco-sized cases of gin, John Hughes and Robert Zemeckis films that are certain to induce simultaneous laughter and ugly crying by the host and most of the 80s-nostalgic guests. For party favors, each guest will leave with an invitation to take part in their very own Dante-esque bad decision depravity.
Finally, reevaluate your wardrobe. Yoga pants paired with a days-old tee shirt dotted with ice-cream stains are really soooo quarter-life crisis. You need a look that screams crushing insecurity and self-doubt! Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by an endless stream of ads promoting comfy pants masquerading as work-wear. Don’t be fooled by the plethora of looks presented to you by influencers on Instagram. You may be led to believe that you have discovered pajamas that appear professional — you have not.
Your new midlife look will eventually present itself. For instance, this author humbly recommends a pencil skirt paired with a baggy sweater and smart driving loafers for a casual-chic look. If you are looking for an outfit that speaks to the sleepless nights, crippling anxiety, and unending disappointment your career trajectory has spawned, the kitten heel is calling you.
Do not start your own church.
Janet Kurtz moved to Nashville after college and enjoyed a career as a hospitality marketing executive with hotels like the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel and The Hermitage Hotel. In 2016, she founded Kurtz Hospitality Marketing, a communications and public relations consulting firm for the hospitality industry. She lives in downtown Nashville with her husband Ron Gobbell and their dog, Vino.