WHEN YOU CRUSH YOUR HUSBAND'S INNER 20 YEAR OLD

MIdlife is a time of coming to terms with the fact we aren't 20 any more

MIDLIFE MISCONCEPTIONS

Have you noticed that although we're in the second half of life, quite often we still feel like we're 20? When I look in the mirror I don't see a middle aged woman, I see a morph of that woman blurred in with the 20 year old I used to be. Maybe that's why I'm always taken aback when I see photos of myself and I look a lot older than I expected!




It's the same when I look at my husband - to me he's still that young, gorgeous guy I married when I was 21 and he was 22.

I keep thinking some woman is going to come along and steal him away from me.... then he reminds me that he's a middle aged balding "old guy" and it's a pretty safe bet that he'll be sticking around for the long haul!









MIDLIFE MEN

He may remind me that he's not the 20 something year old I married all those years ago, but then he has his moments when he forgets that and I see that his younger self pop up and wave. The most recent occasion was when we sold his car and bought a new one.

My husband has a thing for sports cars - he drove a Mazda coupe when I met him - he has always liked the idea of something sporty with fast acceleration. That car was eventually replaced by one that was more suitable for a family man - (with room in the back for carseats for the kids). But I don't think that first love ever completely left him.

THE ALFA

The last car we bought for my husband to drive was a compromise between the sportscar he would have liked and the sensible sedan I thought he should have. It was a black Alfa Romeo - secondhand but still sleek and a little bit sexy. He loved that car with its European looks, leather seats and its little bit of eye candy appeal. BUT that thing was a Money Pit!

The Alfa Romeo that my husband loved - despite the expensive upkeep

As soon as something went wrong, our mechanic started planning his next vacation based on how much we would be paying him to find the right part and to then fix the problem. And of course it wasn't just one thing that went wrong, oh no.... it was a series of one thing after another - and that cash register at the mechanic's workshop could be heard ringing away merrily as we handed over chunks of money on a semi-regular basis.

BUYING AND SELLING

After the last round of repairs, my husband finally admitted that maybe it was time to sell the beloved Alfa off before anything else went wrong and to find something less expensive to drive for the next decade or so. So, the Alfa went off happily to a new owner - for a LOT less than it cost us in repairs (let alone the original purchase price!) and the hunt was underway for a replacement.

Here's where his 20 year old younger self leapt to the surface again after lying dormant for the last few years. I cannot begin to tell you the number of sports car for sale pictures I have been shown online in the last month - dozens! I kept telling him that only Midlife Tossers (my words) drove sports cars and people would snigger as he drove by - ohhh but his heart was breaking at the thought of having to buy a "bog standard" "garden variety" "grandpa car" (his words!)

my husband's idea of a grandpa car

RESIGNING TO REALITY

Finally he admitted (after I mentioned the fact that he actually was a "grandpa" and not a 20 year old) that maybe a sensible sedan was the car he'd have to "settle" for. His inner 20 year old bowed his head and probably shed a tear or two as we went to the caryard to buy a newish sedan.

We are now the proud owners of a Kia Optima - a few years old, but a lovely car that will serve us well - and if anything breaks, it won't cost a fortune. Reality checks can be tough at times, but if this is the worst it gets then I think we're doing okay.

Our new-ish Kia Optima

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you have an inner 20 year old that thinks you're still a newly wed? Or are you more pragmatic and happy to be in "grandpa" mode?

MIdlife is a time of coming to terms with the fact we aren't 20 any more

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55 comments

  1. My husband has a sports car and we've enjoyed attending car club events but I think it may be time to let it go. He hardly drives it (he also has a small SUV) yet it has required some expensive maintenance lately. As much as it will pain him to sell it, practicality will probably win.

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    1. I think that's the turning point Janis - when the maintenance costs outweigh the value you get from driving it. The Alfa costs were in the thousands of dollars range and there was no guarantee that it had ended - that's a lot of money for a frugalista like me!

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  2. I know how Ross feels. When I changed vehicles, I would have loved to have driven off in a red hot snarly two door beast containing more power than I was capable of controlling. However, reality stepped in and reminded me that I had senior citizens to drive to club lunches who would be unable to navigate climbing into the rear seats past dangling seat belts and front seats that don’t move far enough forward to clamber past. Also country visits to my children in a sports car with firm suspension isn’t exactly the most comfortable way to travel for two hours. So, in the end, I settled for a four door sedan. It was red hot in colour, if not in performance and looks.

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    1. I think there comes a time in every rev head's life when they actually have to start thinking about the practicalities. The trouble with sportscars is that they are an expensive hobby and burning dollars is not really an option for us. Maybe I'll let his inner 20 year old have another play when he's old and we are living in a retirement unit. :)

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  3. I would let my hubby buy a sports car in a second...he has his eye on few when the time is right. For now he is happy with a motorbike and pick up truck. Of course it's me that also has a need for speed and a love of sleek, fast and sporty.

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    1. My husband already has a motorbike Michele - and I didn't say no to the Alfa - it killed the dream by costing us a small fortune! I'm still open to a coupe one day - maybe when he trades in the motorbike??

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  4. My hubby turns the big 5O in December...he has always told me I should consider a sports car purchase as the optimal way to have a mid life crisis - after all it could be an affair with a 20 something! Well, we have had a lot of similar discussions over the years and we both realize one thing - a sports car would be a BAD thing on a few fronts. First our finances won't stretch that far and Second he is almost assuredly going to get a huge speeding ticket and an origami'd license out of the deal. So, I will probably be getting him a string butler for his Les Paul guitar so it can stay in tune. We will keep driving our Toyota Echo 5 speed hatchback...that is enough of a temptation to speed. Grandpa mode it is for my guy!

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    1. The trouble with 20 something sportscars is that they're not as "flexible" as 20 something young women! A car is a bit like a dog - they age much quicker than we do! I think the guitar string sounds like a much better option :)

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    2. Thanks, Leanne, I agree. The string butler for his guitar is around $70 before tax and fits our budget much better anyway.

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  5. Hi, Leanne - The new car looks sleek and snazzy. Not a bad compromise I'd say!

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    1. Thank you Donna!! Nice to see at least one person who doesn't think he's settling for a grandpa car - what is it with middle aged men???

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  6. I often still feel like a 16 year old Leanne, not sure if that's a good thing or just means I'm really really immature!! As far as cars go, hubby and I have both been admiring the latest Mustang that seems to be popping up everywhere, but then we realised "they're popping up everywhere!!!" So not that special after all. His head is usually turned by anything remotely resembling a Ferrari, Lotus or Lambourghini, and I think he would jump at the chance for a sportscar if the budget allowed! But he would probably be equally happy with a nice dual cab ute! For now he enjoys his motorbike, a 50th birthday pressie from his adoring wife. :)
    This was a fun read xx

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    1. My dad had a Mustang and my brother has a Monaro - it's a genetic thing on my side of the family Sue - but.... the white sheep throwback means I don't see these money pit cars as a great option - give me something reliable that isn't going to break down on the side of the road any day. And yes, Ross can stick with his motorbike for his speed thrills for now :)

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  7. I laughed Leanne! My husband marries his cars. He falls in love and they come home forever! We have 4. 4 for 2 people!!!! Our newest car which is my main drive is a 2002 and only 2 adults can fit comfortably in it.

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    1. I did feel like I was asking him to sell his youngest child Haralee - the pained expression on his face almost changed my stone cold heart....but when it started to make ominous noises last time I hardened up and took my stand. I can see us with something a bit smaller and cuter down the track - but he doesn't like "girl" cars so that limits things a bit!

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  8. Leanne - love the post. Sometimes I feel like I did my adulthood backwards. I was so responsible, pragmatic, etc given my years in the convent and then moving right into mothering - so midlife is my moment to 'indulge' in some typical 20s behavior. :) But I totally get how reality can create parameters so our dreams are not so extreme.

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    1. I think girls tend to do 20 year old stuff on a less expensive front Janet - there's nothing on my radar that costs several thousand dollars, so I guess my sympathy levels were sorely tested when it came to a toy that kept needing repairs. Rainer on the Parade is definitely my role in our family!

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  9. Reality checks are definitely cheaper than repair checks.

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    1. I LOVE that Diane! And yes- succinctly right!

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  10. That Kia still looks sporty. But what do I know. I donated my last Toyota Matrix after 12 years of loyal service and only routine maintenance. And now I own an Outback. Those are sexy...right?

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    1. Probably as sexy as my little Mazda is Jennifer - but it safely gets me places and doesn't run up huge repair bills - maybe reliable is the new sexy?

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  11. I drove the Mazda Miata when we first met, and yes it was red. :-) He has the sporty car now - not a convertible anymore because they can't take toys on the roof. But still a sporty, go-fast BMW. And I now drive a small SUV! I guess I think if you can afford it, drive what you want ... and keep it under the speed limit.

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    1. I think the bottom dollar for me was affordability + reliability Pat - not having it in the repair shop for weeks at a time, and not worrying if we were going to make long distance trips without a problem. I left unreliable cars behind in my poverty stricken teens and 20's and don't fancy returning to that era - maybe when we win lotto?

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    2. I'm all for reliability myself! I looked at all the reviews on mid-size SUVs and then test drove the top 4 that made everyone's lists - Car & Driver, Consumer Reports, etc. I don't think hubby could even justify something that wasn't reliable, even if sporty. He did get a (previously owned) BMW! For me, I wanted space for the dog. LOL.
      Popped over from MLSTL.... I don't get notification of a response to my comments to you anymore. I used to!

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    3. The commenting system on blogs seems to be going to the dogs lately Pat - I blame it on all the GDPR compliance stuff and the tweaking they're doing. I comment on yours and it disappears - you probably find them in your spam folder if you look. I'm glad you still stop by and yes to your comment about reliability - that plus a nice colour are my two major prerequisites when it comes to buying a car.

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  12. Hi Leanne, nice post and a nice topic.
    If it is about cars, I am not so much of a fan. I just need one to take me around. So, I still the one that I bought in 2002, a Maruti Alto. The dealers, who know that I haven't gone for an upgrade, keep calling me asking if I don't need a new one. I tell them, this is working pretty fine for me. And I don't take the car so often, since there are good public transport alternatives like the metro for my daily commute.
    Everyone has some 20-something fascinations within them. I could run very long distances when I was younger. I am no longer able to now. I could hang out with friends the whole night without sleep in those days, but no longer now!
    I guess, at some point, we have to reconcile to reality and accept what works for us, is it not?
    -- Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

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    1. I think it depends on what country you live in Pradeep - places like Australia with wide open stretches of road and lots of countryside to drive through seem to bring out the sports car lover. You get to put your foot down and feel the power (or so my husband tells me!)

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  13. Another great post, Leanne.
    Shared on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
    #MLSTL

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  14. Such a fun post! I'm the sports car nut in our house, hubby is a muscle car fan.

    #MLSTL visitor (shared on SM)

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    1. I'm a cute girly car lover - they don't make enough pink or purple cars IMHO! Ross just loves anything with a bit of grunt that takes off when you press the accelerator.

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  15. Oh, man, I hate to admit it, Leanne, but I am the female version of your hubby!! When my van died last Spring, I did the responsible thing and called my mechanic for a new vehicle saying I needed 4 doors and it had to be older as I have grandchildren and a dog and didn't want the stress of a bright and shiny new car.
    But... I still keep my fun car. It's my second one, a 1966, this one in need of much TLC although the engine is lovely! I say it's a work in progress like its owner! The car club is fun and supportive and if a young wife ever bemoans the time or energy her husband spends on their car, I play wise sage and remind them he isn't in the pub!
    She's a Summer driver so doesn't cost too much in running costs, although yes, repairs can add up if a car club member with the knowledge isn't available!
    Please tell your husband he got a little bit of sympathy. :-)
    #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Agnes - I'll pass on your kind words. He still holds a flickering candle of hope that he might still get to drive something sporty when the sensible car stage is over - maybe in his 80's!

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  16. My husband rarely asks for anything, so if he wanted a sports car I would probably let him have it. When we moved, the size of our yard doubled and he fell in love with a lawn mower. He felt guilty buying it and I said to go for it. We were talking several hundred dollars not several thousands of dollars! If he wants the side bagger and automatic start it was a cheap price for mowing the lawn. We have always had sensible family cars and they have served us well.

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    1. I agreed to the Alfa Michele because I thought a sleek European car was less "middle-aged tosser" than a sports car. I had no idea how much the repair bills would be - I knew they were more expensive to maintain but had no idea how many thousand dollars we'd poor into it before I asked him to move onto something a little less of money suck.
      If he wants a lawnmower that is more exciting than the one we have atm I'm sure I'd be open to him buying a flasher model!

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  17. Love the new car Leanne. I have the same problem with my racing bike that's been parked since breaking my arm a couple of years ago. I will probably never ride it again but just can't bear to see it go #MLSTL Shared on SM

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    1. I think it's always hard when you reach that point in life when you realize that you might be past certain things Jennifer. We'd all like to think we're still 20 and driving fast cars (or bikes!) but sometimes we need to step back and take the reality check.

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  18. Nice new car, Leanne. I admire some cars from a distance and am happy not to own one. #MLSTL

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    1. In Australia it's not really an option not to own a car Natalie (especially in the country) the public transport system doesn't cater to where we live - and the speed limit is too high for a scooter (although I do have dreams of a Vesper and me in a neck scarf and Audrey Hepburn sunglasses!)

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  19. Nice car. I am not really a car person. I guess I have always tried to move on and not go back. I have stuff I have collected over the years but I never want to revisit my 20-year-old self. #MLSTL

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    1. You are a very mature soul indeed Patrick - most men have an inner child lurking in the background waiting to be indulged - there should be more practical men in this world!

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  20. One of my friends from the pool drives a little red convertible sports car and boy do I covet it. lol Husband keeps saying but I thought you were going to get a Kia Soul?My problem is my knees are so bad I don't think I could get in and out of a low car.

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    1. My mum says the same thing about her knees Victoria - she is a revhead from way back but had to eventually admit defeat and accept practicality. I'm happy with my girly car - nobody tries to drag me off at the traffic lights!

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  21. Hi Leanne, love your new car and chuckled at this post, although there was a touch of pathos to it. Although we've never been car enthusiasts, I realise that for many men especially it feeds the theme of their youth, adventure and possibly attracting girls! Dave drove a company landcruiser when we were first together in Alice Springs - it had no doors and a gear stick which used to come out of its joist so that no one could steal it when unattended. It went 'vroom vroom' and 'mostly' we got around the outback on his geological jaunts without a care in the world. In London I owned a beaten up VW which spent more time dying on the roadside than being driven. These days we have upgraded massively and now own a Sportage - not quite a mid-life sports car crisis but maybe could be classed that way with our history of cars!

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    1. I think back to the early cars I had Jo - one in particular that broke down on rainy days when I drove through a puddle and it wet something in the engine. I'd be on the side of the road with an umbrella and a can of WD40 spraying it everywhere in the hope it'd restart! Reliability in cars is a huge incentive for me - but I'm not a bloke and I don't feel the need to be "cool" any more.

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  22. Hi Leanne, I think many of us feel we are still in our 20s until we look in the mirror! My husband hasn't really been into cars other than as a means to an end. Unfortunately, Ross's hobby is not a cheap one, those classic and European cars cost so much to maintain. I'm glad you reached a happy medium and that is what life is about as a couple, isn't it? We are off to a flying start for #MLSTL and I'm sharing on my SM. Have a lovely day xx

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    1. Hi Sue - we knew the car would cost extra if things broke - we just didn't realize HOW MANY things would break and how the engine would need to be pulled out to fix them and then something else would break ad infinitum! I think you need to buy European cars new and trade out of them before things go wrong - shame we're not wealthy enough to do that. Looks like Korean cars will be the answer for us for a while :)

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  23. My husband was in a motorcycle club when he was much younger, his eyes still light up like a fire when he sees a nice bike ride by. Then he says, nope, I'm too old for that sh*t. But we both know that if we had a little extra money right now, he would be sporting around on a motorcycle. LOL

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    1. Motorbikes are my husband's other love Cherie. He bought one when he turned 50 and now rides a 1000cc Honda Firestorm - with me perched on the back like a koala (a very tall koala!) I guess he has the revhead gene and I'm going to have to keep raining on his parade until he settles into old age!

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  24. My husband has two Corvettes he can't seem to part with. I'm sure we're a site getting in and out of those! We don't take them often, but when we do my husband's in heaven--me not so much. #MLSTL

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    1. Corvettes are very cool Christie - but I'm not sure I'd want two of them! I hope he can fix them when they break - because that's where the big bucks come into play :)

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  25. I am kind of the guilty one in our family for the car choice I once made. I was trying to be very sensible and when we sold our house we had enough cash to buy a new car each. We were moving away from Sydney and needed very reliable and comfy cars. I was too sensible and chose a corolla hatchback but having driven a car that was higher off the ground for the previous 7 years suddenly I felt this was wrong for the amount of freeway driving I would be doing (proven correct this year with my trips to Sydney) so we took a BIG loss for me to trade that in after less than a week (gosh they really do lose value the minute you take them out of the showroom) and got my now much loved Nissan SUV. Sigh. Yes, I have a very forgiving spouse but back in your younger days he bought his share of not great cars. No sports ones though. Denyse

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    1. I'm glad you found your perfect car Denyse - but what a shame it cost a chunk of money to fix your original decision - your loss would have had the dealer rubbing his hands together with glee - they're such sharks aren't they? How can a car lose so much value in such a short time?!

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  26. Oh yeah ... hubby had a V8 Commodore when we first met! These days cars aren't really a priority for us, he drives a Falcon Wagon and I drive a Toyota Camry, both are over 10 years old. As long as they are reliable and get us from A to B, and have air con, that's enough for me. Although, hubby still day dreams about owning a classic old Torana ...

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