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Mid-life crisis – the gift that keeps on giving

Mid-life crises (mlc) should be enjoyed as often as possible. How many of us that aren’t suicide bombers have any real notion of how long we’re going to live? Or, if you’re a cup is half empty-ist, how soon we are going to die?

Mastery of the art of crisis can leave the prepared student with all of the spoils that their hearts desire. In the war against aging there are no long term winners – all I’m advocating is good mid-term gains enjoyed over and over again.

How does this manifest itself? Given my proclivity to trade cars, and to wear my heart on the sleeve of my driving arm, I’ll recount a few mlc vehicles I’ve had in the guise of re-establishing my identity for a new phase of life. I’m sure there’s a stomach churning movie with that hopeless sap Cusack in it where he goes back to meet all his exes in the midst of learning more about himself. This post is like that with cars. And then I dress it all up as an uplifting piece about how you can find a scapegoat to live the life you dream of. Stick with me. You’ll see.

The Fireblade. There was a time when a man down the pub told me that motorbike insurance got much cheaper when you were 28. I was young, and insurance was anything but cheap. At the time, I vowed that when I turned 28, I’d buy myself the Bob Barker of sportsbikes – the Honda CBR900 – aka the fireblade, surely a name devised to appeal to teenage hooligans by some marketing bloke with a beer gut and 2.3 kids.

I promptly went off to work at a startup, started to float on the wings of love and forgot all about this proclamation. One day after I had fallen through the bottom of love, I was taking stock of my life in San Francisco, and taking advantage of some stock offerings and realized I was 28 years old.

Off to the Honda dealership and out I rode after maxing out a few credit cards on a CBR 929 RR – something that gave me the chance to rebound at an indicated 154 mph on the straight roads of gay California. They had added an extra 29 cubic centimeters to my dream bike, and I lapped them up like one of those shrinkwrapped men who go to those parties to pretend to be a cat.

I think I was still getting over the same romantic interlude when I purchased the Subaru Impreza. Everyone who lives three miles from work in West London needs four wheel drive and several hundred brake horsepower to commute amidst the buses and bicycles after all.

Life took a turn when I moved to the land of the free. I was utterly free of responsibility and pressing financial concerns as I settled in Austin in 2004. I took first the $475 Saab to be my bride, and then a $500 Honda Civic. The beauty was that I had nothing at risk. The cars mostly worked, and if they stopped working, I could walk away. Freedom, but little comfort.

The next mlc car was probably the convertible. Little did I know that convertible isn’t the only quality that a car has to have for the ladies to swoon (ignoring that prostitute we found unconscious on the sidewalk that time while driving home). Apparently not being a gold colored Chrysler Sebring was important too. So that crisis and car-relationship was short lived.

We’re about to embark on mini-vanhood. Everyone I’ve spoken to with a minivan has apologetically explained that they didn’t like the idea of them,  but when they got them, they never looked back. All comfort and no freedom if you ask me. That’s how they get you. So I’m already planning the antidote to the mini-van, and my next possible mlc car. Maybe an 18 year old SUV that my hair-stylist is selling. I just don’t know.

The point is that you can do anything you like and blame it on the mid-life crisis. In my case it’s buy a ridiculous amount of inappropriate cars. Inappropriate for what you might ask. Inappropriate to die in. After all, I’m only half done.

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