It’s been well over a year since I posted on my beloved website: A website that was created to share real, honest information and expert advice on aging, fitness, wellness, any subject that I couldn’t find real and not overly editorialized information on, especially in the bottomless pit of the internet.
It’s taken a global quarantine forcing me to stay inside my New York apartment to sit down and finally revisit one of my favorites things: writing.
I’m not the first woman to start a so-called “beauty and wellness” platform. Far from it. But I like to think I offer up a unique perspective: A 40+ female looking for some quick and dirty real info, a voice of someone unabashedly obsessed with keeping fit and healthy and – gasp – looking and feeling youthful. And balancing it all with my intense love of food and wine? It’s tough. Easy when you’re 25, or 30, or even 35 with a great metabolism, not so easy as you get older. #thestruggleisreal
My case against going #botoxfree and thoughts on weed vs wine were pretty popular reading. Celebrity nutritionists such as Keri Glassman were my regular columnists ( her sushi guide is the best) and famed dermatologist, Dr. Shereene Idriss, discussed facial aging in the context of your living room couch. My website traffic was steadily rising, my newsletter was highly acclaimed, and we were featured on Refinery29, Yahoo, Town & Country and justBOBBI (absolutely love my Girlfriend’s Guide).
And then I completely dropped the ball.
My husband, my supposed life partner of nearly 15 years, had a complete and very *severe* mid-life crisis – which completely blindsided me – but it was the series of events that unfolded that spiraled me into a complete breakdown and a pretty deep depression.
In a severely drunken state at about 2:00 am, my husband let me know he wanted to “live like he was 19 again.” He pulled out a picture of himself from college and then proceeded to tell me how life’s pressures were just too much. He no longer wanted to have “responsibilities.”
Well…I’ve seen all the movies. I knew what that meant.
One private investigator and many incriminating photos and videos later, I soon learned that my husband was…you guessed it…having an affair.
I really didn’t see this one coming.
Our story started out as a pretty good one: two successful Wall Street careers followed by an adventure to move upstate and open a micro-brewery. I didn’t count on the “husband starts sleeping with local bartender” part. A very young girl whom we employed. I know…how perfectly cliché.
I realize now, after having time to reflect and recover, that stories like this are not new stories, certainly not novel stories, but one I didn’t expect to be part of my life story.
I read the statistics, I’ve seen the tabloid stories, husbands cheat on their wives all the time. Men have mid-life crisis’ all the time. Men cheat with nannies. They cheat with co-workers, with strippers and the girl-next-door. But until it happened to me it was just that: something I saw or heard about. I didn’t really understand the emotional mindfuck it brings to have your husband tell you how much he loves you and then know in the same breath he is sleeping with someone at the same time he is sleeping with you.
“Mid-life crisis” is actually a legitimate chemical ‘thing’ that happens to men. Elliott Jacques originally coined this phrase back in 1965. Daniel Levinson of Yale University said that men go through this phase like clockwork between ages 40 – 45. Although all men don’t experience it in the same way. Men mourn the loss of opportunity and as the Scientific American so eloquently discusses, the comparison of one’s youthful dreams compared to their sobering reality becomes more of an issue for men than women. Often this life review causes a manic flight that leads men wanting reassurance from younger women.
Divorce, affairs, and middle age struggles are topics people feel ashamed to talk about. As if they failed their marriage somehow. As if they failed their life goals. So I am happy to open the conversation. Too many people brush it under the rug. And in the spirit of open, honest talk, I am excited to kick it off here.
Maybe divorce is good thing? Maybe it’s a good thing to admit that your “happily ever after” isn’t making you happy? And sometimes your partner has nothing to do with it. I implore you to watch Esther Perel’s Ted Talk on affairs.
It all makes you think. Divorce rates are 50% and spiking for those in the 40-49 years of age category. So, are all of us married folks just playing the odds?
After a lot of processing and lots of self-help, to be honest, I am feeling pretty fortunate about it all. The experience forced me into a do-over. And the more I talk about the experience, the more my friends open up to me and talk about the issues they have in their marriages, their jobs, and their life. Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you think it will, and what you wanted in your 20s or 30s isn’t all you thought it would be.
What’s interesting and made me even more compelled to write about my experience is that so many people are going through COVID quarantines and realizing that they don’t actually like their partner or they are simply not happy with their life. For some reason when you are ‘the divorced friend’ – everyone confides in you. And there is a whole lot of introspection going on right now. So I am excited to start adding this content to my website during these truly crazy times.
So, in addition to reading about how breasts reveal your age, the ass v. face dilemma, you can look forward to learning and reading a lot more on Charlotte’s Book. Like (but certainly not limited to):
How to Hire A Private Detective
How To Deal With A Man’s Mid-Life Crisis
Intimate products for grown ups. The 101 on condoms and lube.
How To Install A GPS Tracker
Plus all the usual obsessive beauty and anti-aging content we write about here at Charlotte’s Book. P.S. – I just tried PRP. Story coming soon.
Thankfully, Charlotte’s Book traffic has held up well despite my 18-month hiatus. A testament to the good SEO and good content, I think. And my fucking awesome newsletter. If you haven’t signed up for it – it will be the best thing you get in your inbox each week.
I haven’t been completely hiding under a rock the last 18 months. I have also been super busy formulating the most innovative hydration products over at HALO. I have been rebuilding and reworking my personal and professional life.
It’s also been really weird and really amazing traversing a new relationship. My new beau is da-bomb. But, how do I announce my new relationship status? Post a photo on Instagram? Send a group email? Do I make it Facebook official? Will people just figure it out? It’s all so new and so fucking weird. But I am learning to roll with it.
In the words of author and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and echoed by singer Kelly Clarkson: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And I can tell you I truly feel that way. I wish people would change their tune from “I am sorry to hear about your divorce” to ” Congratu-fucking-lations!”
In any case, thanks for sticking around. It feels good to be back.
By the way – the feature photo is not me. It’s the end scene in one of my all time favorite movies: Down Twisted. It’s a classic and overlooked action thriller from the 1980’s. It stars the gorgeous and timeless Carey Lowell (one of my Charlotte’s). It’s one of my go-to movies that always reminds me that life is a crazy adventure and you need to enjoy the journey. And quite honestly, the more ups and downs, the better the ride.