AH and BC asked themselves this question, when confronted respectively with a mid-life and an end-of-life crisis. Their response was a resounding ‘yes’. Indeed, this was the title of an earlier website, replaced by this Blog. Here are their attempts to get a new life. Do you think that they will be successful? Compare them to your own attempts.
AH: I am trying to get a new life, because I am a 45-year-old female with 50% of her life left to live. I’m not happy. I’m not unhappy either; just vaguely dissatisfied and aware time is running out. I’ve been married for 20 years and was with my husband for 5 years before that. I worry that if I don’t leave now I’ll be stuck with him for the rest of my life. This is as I see my attractiveness fading with time. Tied up with my marriage is a whole life choice that I am no longer happy with.
I want to live a more creative life. To be more creative both in how I live and what I do. Leaving my husband means giving up a financially comfortable life, it means upsetting and possibly damaging my 10-year-old daughter, it will hurt him badly and cause major upheaval. It doesn’t solve the other problem, how to be more creative, how to live my way, in fact it might make that harder. The emotional stuff takes over my thoughts and I struggle to think objectively.
There are so many expectations and pressures I feel quite torn. I am trying NOT to do the right thing (the expected thing), but trying to do the best thing.
Is leaving giving up? We’ve always done my husband’s things, they are always the logical, rational choice. It has worked. Now I want to do my things, the irrational, the poetic, the artistic things and they may not work. I want to enjoy now, he’s always planning for the future.
BC: I am an 82-year-old male with a maximum 10% of my life left to live. I am trying to get a new life, because the old one failed to take death seriously – either how best to live between now and my ETD (estimated time of departure) and how to live/die a good death. My life can be roughly divided into: physical – such as exercise, and sport; mental – especially professional work, such as maintaining websites related to my field of research; social – including family, friends and political activists.
I continue to live my life much as I always have, that is, with no view of its finiteness. However, I feel I need to take my demise more seriously, both in my interest and that of others.
In my new life, I want to retain all the activities of my present life, where possible – physical, mental and social; but modified to make them as sustainable as possible during my terminal years.
This modification might take the following general form: physical – replace my macho/endorphinic approach to exercise/sport with a less rigorous regime; mental – stop taking on new ‘work’ and concentrate on finishing old work; social – waste less time with people who frustrate/annoy/antagonise me (and vice versa).
Updates on the progress of the new lives to follow.