THOUGHTS: MID-LIFE CRISIS - "The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano"
When I turned 41, my teenage son, Liam, gave me a handmade Happy Birthday card with the numbers 51 written in green magic marker. I laughed, but inside I gulped a bit. That's just 10 years away, I thought. And if anyone knows how fast the years zip by, it's me: father of four, husband, volunteer and freelance filmmaker. When time is that limited, it seeps through your fingers quickly. Too quickly.
About a year later, at 42, I plunged into a bit of a mid-life crisis myself, and I did what I felt was necessary: Research mid-life crisis, and why the hell it was called a crisis. There were many articles and I'll spare you all the theories and insights, but the negative connotations surrounding men coming to terms with their mortality and making a crisis out of their sudden existential dread often carried predictions of their next steps: total irresponsibility, escapism, self-indulgence or antisocial behavior. This disregard for others, while drenched in deep solipsism seemed far from my current state of mind, but the panic of not having accomplished certain goals and dreams at this point in my life was real.
Then I came across this New York Times article. I felt an immediate kinship with talented filmmaker Joshua Seftel and featured artist, Manhattan photographer, Phillip Toledano. Sublimating his middle-aged angst through a series of fatalistic photographic fantasies of death and demise, well, the idea of creating art by entering an extreme form of exposure therapy seemed like something that could certainly heal my own draconian downturn.
Now to find the right project and the time to do it. Ugh. Crisis.