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The almost-at-mid-life crisis, Whistler style

At a party recently, friends of mine asked me to explore a well-known issue (via this column with Bob’s approval) that many of us have faced or are facing at this exact moment in time: the almost-at-mid-life-crisis. Like the common cold, it binds all of us 20 to 30 something-year-olds living here in our little big town of Whistler. Unlike the mature version that can possess the psyche of a 45 to 70-year-old to go club hopping in a shiny new Miata, ours is an inner turmoil not yet fully ripened. Bear with me. I provide more questions than answers in the following paragraphs.

The almost-at-mid-life-crisis can be cyclical in nature and has the ability to arrive in various forms. Characterized by sudden pangs of self-doubt and an aggressive over-analysis of absolutely everything, from your current job/relationship to your increasingly empathetic connection with a reality TV personality. Skiing/riding may not be filling you up as much as it used to, debt quietly choke-holds your monthly pay cheque, paranoia strikes, relationships/friendships may crumble… and suddenly Whistler feels like a very small place.

Theories abound: Is it a cyclical thing that comes in stride with seasonal work? Is it the ups and downs of living in an idyllic yet very real and raw environment? Is it burnout from our raging terrain and after-terrain raging? Is it boredom from having roamed the same cobblestone walkways and proliferating franchises thousands of times? Being the eclectic resort town mixed with sub-cultures and even more underground sub-cultures, how many of us are collectively mixed up, messed up and put in a head lock by thinking too hard about what is deemed "successful"? Perhaps the seasons sneak up after several years and spiral into one. Suddenly you wake up __ years later in your __th living space, __ full seasons as of December 19__, five jobs and 20 contract jobs later with one heavy thought on your brain: What the F___ am I doing with my life? Of course when the sky is grey, you're bored and/or if you've injured yourself early on in the season, thoughts tend to worsen.

Most of us "locals", whether you have lived here full-time for 12 months or 20 years, can list a melange of trades and jobs: "Hi, I'm Bob. I'm a DJ/ patroller/ administrative slave/ go-go dancer/ waiter/ engineer/ cook/ writer/ herbalist/ pro-skier/ gas pump attendant/ dog sled guide/ florist/ sheep shearer/ personal trainer/ computer geek/ painter/ carpenter/ skater.…" In order to stay here, a lot of us have to shift into different personas from hour to hour, day to day and year to year. This can be interesting yet ever-confusing. Or is it that all of us have ADD? Do we spread our multiplicity of talents and interests too far and too thin? If this is the case, then I would postulate that our almost-at-mid-life-crisis is defined by livin’ it up and livin’ large – and there ain't nothin' wrong with that.

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