If you Google “Am I having a midlife crisis?” and you’re over 40, you probably are. And I’ll save you the hassle if you’ve not looked it up yet: The effects are concerning.
But the midlife signs mimic so many other issues and circumstances. I mean, maybe you’re not having a midlife crisis. Maybe you’re an author with a bored muse.
Or a cat owner with bored cats.
Or it's IRS month and you’re trying to do your taxes.
Oh! Wait a sec while I check something…
Yes. That’s what I thought. If you pull back your blinds a tick and notice a Big Top Circus Tent in your backyard with clowns practicing their juggling and unicycle poodles getting snippy with one another… well, this also causes symptoms that look much like a mid-life crisis.
So, take that Google, M.D. We can hit pause and back up out of that midlife rabbit hole of crazy because I can check all the above boxes: Muse. Cats. Taxes. CIRCUS. I can check with my Couch Lady, but she’ll probably agree…
At the moment, the cats are hungry. By their feline clock and kitty toe-bean counting skills, it’s wet-food time.
See… The IRS and cats have a lot in common when it comes to manipulating time and numbers. (So do overworked, underpaid, and overwhelmed women nearing—but not quite at—midlife crisis level, but I digress.)
Cat math goes something like this: It’s five a.m. (or close enough) somewhere. It’s also five p.m. (or close enough) somewhere. Therefore, wet-food time can be any time of the day. All day long,frequently losing count of “twice.” And they think they deserve it.
IRS math goes something like this: You worked from five a.m. to five p.m., so give Uncle Sam 40% of all of that. Twice. And you can’t be close enough — you must be to the penny. And they know they deserve it.
All those tax lines and forms take hours to fill out, creating a large bill, a bored muse, and cats who are convinced you love them not one bit.
(If I ever get audited, it’ll probably be by someone in a midlife crisis of their own. I would hope for a guy on a motorcycle that he can’t quite maneuver properly and not a woman with a bag full of bottle rockets, Zippos full of lighter fluid, and a grudge against humanity. My luck, I’ll get the lady.)
“Do you know how many words and ideas we could’ve explored in the time it took for you to do your taxes?” Little Miss Muse flicks her lighter at Stella Marie’s tail. Stella calculates it’s time to be bored and hope for wet food in another room.
“Yes. And please don’t torment the cats.”
She puts her lighter away and takes out a fresh piece of grape bubble gum. “Gobs. Gobs and gobs and gobs of words. But instead, you did gobs and gobs and gobs of math. And for what?”
“I’m told it’s for roads and schools and libraries and such. And I’d like to not go to jail. So there’s that.”
She ponders this for a minute. I believe she’d like to see me in jail. At least we’d have time to write. “I wouldn’t pay them anything if I were you.”
“Not an option. The IRS wants its share more than you want lavender stilettos.”
She rolls her eyes at me. “No one wants anything more than I want new shoes. And now you’re in a bad mood and sulking, so you won’t want to get down to real writing anytime soon… See ya.” Annnd… she’s off.
I peek out the window. She’s cavorting with the elephant tamer, flirting if the flick of her wings is any indication. I see glitter bottles and purple-tipped whips exchange hands. The clown with the eggplant wig joins in on the conversation. I let the blind fall back and turn up Pandora, drowning out what I calculate to be an impending nightmare.
There’s also a fight breaking out in the hallway. The kitties are hangry now. Fur is flying. Bodies are thudding into the walls.
I’m hangry, too.
Here’s some math. Some hangry, hangry math from the author with a bored muse, cats, CIRCUS clowns, and too-high-taxes due: If the cats get fed twice a day, and the IRS gets its “fair” share, the CIRCUS gets a good chunk of my mental real estate, AND I might be dancing along the edge of a midlife crisis after all, by my math…
I do believe it’s white chocolate Reese’s Cup time.
And I think I deserve it.
*Disclaimer: Neither I, my Muse, nor any of my three cats are tax specialists. If you, dear reader, do something epically stupid with your taxes based on reading way too much into this blog, the five of us can’t be held responsible. One is a figment with an attitude problem, three are covered in fur and tuna juice, and me? Well, try explaining to your just-passed-middle-aged auditor that you took accounting advice from that writer person with the CIRCUS.