A Girl and Her Horse

Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter.
It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark.
~Old Gypsy Quote

According to Carl Yung, it’s perfectly normal to have some sort of meltdown between 40 and 60. Newer studies have cited multiple symptoms of this phenomenon referred to as midlife crisis— gambling, drinking, affairs, changing careers, depression, anxiety, splurging, traveling, and pampering. Men and women supposedly experience this for different reasons. Men go through it because they wake up one morning and realize they are aging, thus they begin to fear they’ve made mistakes, worry about their health, and question their abilities. Women wake up and realize the kids are old, and begin to look forward to the things they’ve missed while busily raising children and focusing on family.

I started joking about having a preplanned midlife crisis a couple months ago. Midlife because I accept its existence—I’ve seen it happen to the best of them. Preplanned because I’m too logical to have some bizarre behavior change and blame it on some invisible condition. No. I’m not a control freak, but I don’t like the idea of not being in charge of myself (which is why you will see me actually drunk when drinking only about once a decade), so of course I’m going to take this silly notion of midlife blah-blah by the throat and decide how exactly I’m going to experience it.

I joked about buying a Mustang, but I was seriously planning travel instead. The plan was white sand beaches. Specifically, Aruba—because that’s the first island in the Beach Boys song and I am going to do the whole song… in order.

It was going to be awesome.

Then my truck broke down five times in six weeks and instead of Aruba, I found myself car shopping…

When I was sixteen, I fell in love with a particular vehicle. I tore the full color page out of my dad’s Car and Driver and put it on my bedroom wall. When asked to identify my dream car, the answer has never wavered—1968 Cobra AC, midnight blue, black interior, five on the floor. Dad smiled and said by the time I could afford the car it would be an antique and I still wouldn’t be able to afford it. He wasn’t kidding… have you priced those lately? Maybe that’s why when I joked about having a midlife crisis I said Mustang rather than Cobra, because I knew there was no way in Hell the ’68 Cobra could happen and my second choice vehicle has always been the Stang.

Car shopping. Ugh. I joked with my parents and others that I was going to get some stupid compact car, put a Mustang sticker in the back window, and make everyone refer to it as “The Mustang”. Then I found an actual used Mustang. Older. Affordable. Awesome.

After the perma-grin test drive, I hemmed and hawed. Everyone I talked to said get it—you love it, the kids are big enough (I’ve done the mom vehicle, the grocery getter, and the sensible 4-wheel drive), you’re old enough to have earned it, and rarely get anything just for yourself. And while I worried it was too flashy for simple little me, mom said it best and convinced me, “It’s perfect for a Gypsy… it’s a horse.” The Mustang isn’t exactly the Cobra, but it’s about as close as I’ll ever get, and as mom reminded me—the horse is often the most prized possession of the gypsy.

White sand? Next year. This year, the elusive Mustang…

I think I’ll call her “Aruba.”

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