Midlife Crisis

Yes, I’m turning 40 this year.  And I realize that this past year – the last one in my 30’s – I have gone through a minor midlife crisis.  Lacking the funds to purchase a sports car and being too in love with my wife and kids to start flirting with anything that would cause them harm, I have nonetheless changed in an interesting way.  Some might say I’ve devolved.

Bookish and sensitive as a youth, I was a rather nerdy, wimpy kid.  I avoided confrontation and liked to please everyone.  I never got in a fight.  I was quiet and got good grades.  Even when I got older, I loved philosophy, literature, culture, etc.  I was a student of the higher things in life, and this continued through my twenties and thirties.

In the past year, I have regressed to a somewhat more rugged demeanor.  I’m finally in decent physical shape, I’ve shaved my head, I speak my mind more often and don’t shrink away from acting, even if others (my long-suffering wife) think it’s hasty or might give some offense.  And I realize that, along with this, is a slight reduction in my “finer” sensibilities.  I’d still choose a symphony over a ball game, but I’m much more inclined to participate in sports than do other things.  I’m a little more reckless, and a little less concerned about obeying rules.  And I’m considering a tattoo.

Along with this has come a certain measure of appreciation for stereotypically masculine behavior – the sort that Christianity has spent 2000 years trying to subdue, if the religious ed teachers from my youth are to be believed.  The quiet, contemplative, asexual, rosary-praying, wrong-bearing, cheek-turning doormat was held as the paradigm of Christian living.  What I’ve realized experientially is that being this way tends to enable wrongdoers to continue acting wrongly, so if bearing wrongs violates justice, I’m not as inclined to bear them anymore.  Sometimes, people need a good spanking.  And assertively demanding that others maintain good behavior in public, while offensive to modern sensibilities, is something I’m more inclined to do.

 

I believe Christianity in America needs a good dose of masculinity, so I’m starting with “the Man in the Mirror” (that reference just undercut my whole thesis, didn’t it?).  Any suggestions for an authentic Catholic masculine spirituality would be appreciated.

By

Jason is a practicing attorney and the Assistant Director for the International Task Force on Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide. Epitomizing the maxim

Crisis Magazine Comments Policy

This is a Catholic forum. As such:

  1. All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
  2. No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
  4. Keep it brief. No lengthy rants or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
  5. If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
  6. All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
  7. Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)
MENU