Lance Armstrong, I’m Not

Getting older ain’t easy. I’ll be 34 in exactly two months, which will plant me firmly in my mid thirties. I’m not much of a fan of the getting older thing, so I’d probably feel iffy about this if not for the fact that a) I get to go on a cruise with only my husband a week later and b) my husband will turn 40 a month after my birthday. Taking pleasure in the misery of others is always helpful.

A few years ago, shortly after turning 29, I started going through my third-life crisis.

I’m not sure why I thought turning a year older would make things vastly different, considering that my idea of fun was staying at home on the weekends, hanging out with my family, and playing video games or watching Netflix. Who was I kidding? I may not have been old in years, but I was definitely old in spirit. These were things my husband pointed out, but why let things like reason and logic get in the way of a good crisis, amirite?

So, I decided to live it up that year, have fun, and party like it was 1999 (even though I only 15 then and didn’t do anything that remotely resembled partying in 1999). In case you’re thinking that “party like it was 1999” meant going to clubs (something I’ve also never done, because of being a senior citizen in spirit) and other wild things, what it really meant was that we invited a few friends over once or twice a month when Little Man was spending the night at his grandparents. We would have a few mixed drinks while playing board games or watching football games. That’s a good way to live it up, right?

Another thing I planned to do during that little crisis period was get healthier. Because lamely partying like it’s 1999 and getting healthy go hand in hand.

I made a few changes. I started tracking my calories. I used sugar-free mixers. And I bought a bike. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 13, but I decided that I was going to ride around my neighborhood, get some exercise, lose some weight, and eventually become one of those people who wear tight shorts and annoys the piss out of drivers by riding in the middle of the road.

“That’s a horrible idea,” my husband told me after I informed him of my plans. “Can’t you just ride your exercise bike so you won’t get hurt?” (I have a reputation for being clumsy as hell and have the history of broken bones, scars, and sprains to prove it.)

“No! I want to be out on the open road!”

After much discussion, I got my way, which I expected; I’ve only not gotten my way two times with my husband, and that’s when I wanted to buy a crossbow and buy a foosball coffee table. (For the record, I got my way on the second one a few years later.) He wasn’t happy about it, but we made the bike purchase anyway, with the condition that I wear a helmet, which I thought was lame given my age. (Yet another reason I’m an idiot.)

This is what I bought:

(Okay, that picture doesn’t really do it justice. Here is a picture of what the one I bought looked like, if you want to see the real deal. If you’re thinking that this isn’t the type of bike one would be riding on the open road and possibly on bike trails in the mountains, then you would be right.)

My first attempt on the bike didn’t go so well. More than 15 years and bunches of pounds later didn’t help matters much, so I wobbled down the end of our short road and came back. I was done for the day.

“I think we should just take that thing back,” my husband told me. “This is not going to end well.”

Ha. What did he know?

As it turns out, a lot.

The next day was Saturday, and we were having a small get-together. We had several friends over, got super wild and played Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, and had a few drinks. (Those of us feeling rather depressed over getting old might have had more than a few.) Around 2 AM, I was feeling a bit crowded since people still hadn’t left, so I went outside to sit on the porch for a bit to get some space. As I was sitting there, I spied my bike at the end of the porch, in all of its beautiful teal and white glory.

Ride me, it beckoned.

It was like I was Frodo and it was the One Ring — I was drawn to it. The next thing I knew, I was riding down my driveway and down my road (which I must add is partially a gravel circle with not a lot of houses and next to no traffic, so you don’t think I was a complete idiot). My plan was to ride to the corner and come back.

I was doing great. If only my husband could see me now! Nary a wobble in sight.


And then, right as I was about to turn into our driveway and make my triumphant return, I lost my balance. I put my foot out to steady myself, except for my foot landed on some loose gravel, causing my ankle to turn in, and I heard a “snap.”

That hurt. A lot. And there was no one around to help me up. I sat there at the edge of the driveway for a few minutes and finally forced myself up and hobbled up the driveway and inside the house.

My husband gave me one look when I came in and knew exactly what had happened.

“You didn’t.”

“I did.”

“And you didn’t even wear your helmet,” he said, which he knew because it was sitting on the end table.

The next morning, my ankle was swollen to the size of a softball, so we went to the orthopedic urgent care where the doctor told me that I likely had grade 3 ankle sprain and would need to wear a walking boot and then do physical therapy. That was a fun way to spend part of my third-life crisis.

I learned a valuable lesson that night — don’t exercise, which was a lesson I should’ve learned the time I tried to use an exercise ball.

Dumbest/silliest thing you did in a third or mid life crisis, if you had one?

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