Boomer Author Jill Teitelman Knows How to Beat a Mid-Life Crisis

We’re not sure how many of us are still in some sort of mid-life crisis. It’s already behind some of us, isn’t it?! So we don’t know what to make of this story from Jill Teitelman, whose debut novel is Saving Gracie, but what we do know is, Jill knows how to Beat the Odds and Write About It.

I have a theory about Boomers: We’re shape-shifters. We’ve recreated ourselves so many times that by now, beyond 50, finding the courage to do something entirely new isn’t a biggie. You can’t get this old without going through several reincarnations. A trauma comes along, so you learn stuff from it. You grow.

Author Jill Teitelman

Author Jill Teitelman

The three people I ever met who never went through something difficult seem naïve. They also seem bored.

Your life’s an experiment. How else are you going to stay interested in the plot if you don’t change course from time to time?

I’m still searching for my destiny. Choosing a career would have meant committing to it. I’ve had a stint as a private French tutor for Japanese executives and I was the personal assistant to a Famous Feminist, and, for a very short time, I waitressed in London. I was an New York East Village poet-type, and a college prof whose classes were more entertaining than educational. I was a late, unmarried mother, then a much later bride and divorcee after that. I’m good at change. Even motherhood basically ends once your kid flies out the door— or it should. Change is what lasts, and I’m into it.

I was feeling sorry for myself this morning because no one could drive me to the train— or at least to the subway. I got cold waiting for the bus, so I decided to walk the two post-storm winter miles. Suddenly the sun came out and It felt good to move.

Then I slipped on black ice and landed flat on my back. Scared at first, I got up easily, no pain at all. All that yoga is obviously paying off! Bravo for me. Maybe I should have waited for the bus, or taken a taxi with my heavy backpack and suitcase instead of walking over snow and ice. But the blue sky was so beautiful. I noticed a black, possibly cashmere scarf hanging from a branch over the ice and grabbed it. Down again. Same choreography, same graceful rebound.

What do our lives become eventually but stories? It’s important to notice them and try to learn a thing or two. And in case yoga doesn’t work forever, I’ll have to figure out some other way to stay flexible.

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