I was browsing around the news stuff last week and an article entitled -‘Why so many of us experience a midlife crisis’ caught my eye. It was in the Harvard Business Review, (so a proper article) and discussed research that shows a midlife crisis can happen to anyone, even those in seemingly wonderful jobs. It’s a natural phenomenon! The decline starts in your early 30’s, bottoms out in your 40’s and mid 50’s and then it’s all good in your mid 50’s. The interpretation of this phenomenon seems to be about optimism vs reality. The young being so optimistic (ahh yes) and then as we age things don’t always go to plan and life basically gets us down, so many things we should have done or achieved. Then hurrah – our brain learns to feel less regret about missed chances and we come to terms with our lot and so our life satisfaction increases again from the mid 50’s onwards. Now of course this should not be taken as an excuse to sit it out until the mid 50 birthday (55?), counting down the days and wait for the optimist to reappear with a vengeance, but it is comforting to know that even the best of us face the same issues at midlife.
Another article in The Telegraph (probably a proper article) states that the age people hit their midlife crisis is getting younger, average age of 44 for women and 43 for men. To put that in context, David Cameron was 43 when he became prime minister, which would explain a lot and is further evidence that he was/is probably not good for the Country. But I digress (I’m easily distracted, see below) – this lowering of the age of ‘the crisis’ is apparently due to our modern society and the stresses and strains felt by people setting out on their career paths at a much younger age.
So a couple of silver linings – firstly that I’m old enough to experience this midlife crisis at 50 and not 44 and secondly I’m hoping this anticipated emergence of enthusiasm with life might put a stop to all this midlife pondering. That might be quite nice; it’s been a while since I’ve quietened the brain and just got on with things. I look forward to it.
PS – if you’re not sure if you’re in a midlife crisis check out this amusing list which includes:
- A sudden desire to play an instrument
- Hangovers that get worse and last more than a day
- Finding you are easily distracted
- Taking out a direct debit to a charity