Unleashing Resilience: The Power of Middle-Aged Women’s Tantrums in a Shifting World

I was thinking the other day how much I’d like to be a toddler and behave like our granddaughter. I don’t mean being a kid again; I mean having the freedom to indulge in a tantrum freely and feeling entirely resolved in those actions, exclusively when I’m pissed.

Recently, our youngest experienced a meltdown at a Big Box store. Her arms and legs spread wide with the appearance of making snow angels, emitting a vehement cry because her mother wouldn’t allow her to open a multi-coloured box of twist ties. Pedestrians passed by, some finding it adorable, others reminiscing about their children’s tantrums, and a few expressing annoyance at a child blocking a portion of the aisle. That bundle of tumultuous and volcanic anger couldn’t care less, remaining unfazed, her eye on the prize as she raged louder than their security system. I admire that because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to do the exact same thing at the airport because of a considerable mess made by the airlines, at a government office because they didn’t give a shit about resolving an issue, or even at the grocery store because people can’t count anymore and for some 12 items mean 122 and that’s only the beginning of the list.

There is something liberating in that type of release. It’s freeing. Unfortunately, I can’t exhibit that behaviour because I’m confident I’d be arrested. I’m not cute, short, or under 40 pounds, nor do I resemble a whimsical fairy that feels like it’s smacked up against a brick wall. A toddler’s irritability can be cute and forgiving. A middle-aged woman’s not so much typically being misconstrued as being in a state of utter madness. 

Middle-aged women aspire to a more polished and refined tantrum, while toddlers pursue the full dramatic flair. Ours are more curated and elegant; theirs displays feelings, turning a potential meltdown into a performance worthy of applause. Toddlers are like a writer’s first draft, while older, more seasoned women are the authors adding finesse to their emotional narratives.

The similarities between a middle-aged woman’s meltdown and a toddler’s are humorous and somewhat profound. On the comedic side, they share the unpredictability of erupting emotions, from tears to tantrums. Both scenarios have a certain theatricality, with dramatic gestures and an unfiltered expression of discontent.

I recently needed to contact someone high on the command chain for a corporation to bring something significant to their attention that affected me directly as a consumer. It would have been easier to find Amelia Earhart than the person I was looking for. The task took several phone calls with people demanding personal information every step of the way that was irrelevant to my initial request. After the seventh customer service rep, I wanted to bang my phone incessantly against my desk like I was in a temporary state of insanity. Still, if I did that, I’d have to promptly go to Apple to purchase a new one and deal with a group of young geniuses who would take me down the same labyrinth, except this time with a phone. 

I cannot throw myself down at a box store in frustration. I must practice Grace and restrain. That is part of adulting, but that’s my point. Continual adulting is exhausting these days, and sometimes you’re pushed back and forth so many times in one day in a new world that is so disorientating and void of common sense that all you want to do is scream. It’s like trying to run errands all day, negotiating your washroom time until you know you can’t hold it anymore and will explode. The only difference is you’re dealing with emotion, which, much like crap, needs to leave your body and screaming like a toddler is a sensational way to expedite that action. The trick is to do it without being arrested.

Technology has become my nemesis, infiltrating all the venues where common sense once lived. Why can’t simple requests be answered? Why do corporations insist you deal with an online bot that only knows what it’s been programmed to learn, nothing more? Why do I have to verify I’m not a robot and distinguish all the out-of-focus squares for those with bicycles? If you still need to resolve an issue, often, you’re out of luck, leaving you with what might be a critical unresolved issue. That’s a problem. To be able to throw yourself on the floor screaming becomes the release you need. 

It is the repetition of this insanity that surrounds us, which is becoming exponential and disorienting as we bear witness to it. Where left is right, bottom is top, and off is on, it is utterly void of common sense, never mind logic, filled with the pretence of responsibility but void of any action. This landscape is foreign to our generation.

In a world increasingly detached from the logic and common sense we once knew, it’s time for middle-aged women to embrace the occasional tantrum. As the landscape of reality shifts, expressing frustration through a metaphorical toddler’s tantrum can serve as a powerful release. Encouraging an understanding that this expression is not a sign of weakness but a bold declaration against the absurdities of our evolving world.

It’s a call for empathy toward ourselves as we acknowledge the challenges presented by reality’s ever-changing context.