Saturday, 23 February 2013

My take on the infamous midlife crisis

I've been attempting to chronicle my transition from young to old as I approach middle age. It started on my 36th birthday when I set out on a journey to complete 37 resolutions in a year. It was all in a vain attempt to prevent the inevitable midlife crisis. I say inevitable, but is the concept of a crisis in your middle age simply a matter of time or is it a figment of our collective imaginations? 

There are plenty of Western studies that have tried to establish if it actually exists. According to one, only 23 per cent of Americans said they’d actually had one, with eight per cent (of the 23 per cent) attributing it to the emotional turmoil of realising they were no longer young. The remaining 15 per cent said they had experienced a turbulent period in their middle years but the crisis was caused by significant life transitions - not by aging itself.

Well, assuming all that’s true, the study still suggests nearly one in four men have had a midlife crisis, or have got one on the way, and bear in mind the study is based on people admitting it in the first place, there could be loads more like me who are simply in denial or it is yet to take hold.

Among the events that sent lives into a tailspin were 'divorce, loss of a job, the death of a child, the serious illness of a close relative or friend or severe financial problems'. Millions and millions of people in the Western World whose lives have been turned upside down through no fault of their own, albeit some of the divorces may have been self-inflicted and who knows what the financial difficulties were a result of.

The point is as men approach middle age many have a wobble. Therefore my philosophy is to try and get ahead of it.

I figure it is wise to prepare for this life changing episode rather than just waiting for it to happen by inserting lots of positive disruption. Hence the setting of 37 resolutions. I'm now 38 and a quarter, and I still haven't completed all the resolutions, but the process has been life changing in a good way. I've made new friends, got to know my family better, travelled more, written two thirds of a book (about this topic), jumped off a bridge, changed jobs, become a local radio presenter and stacks more.

My hope is to inspire more men like me to do something similar, so that my resolutions weren't in vain after all.


  1. I like your proactive approach to ageing. I turned 40 this year without feeling the need to take charge of my life in such an overt way. I enjoy being mature and feeling more respectable than my younger colleagues. I view growing old as a wonderful thing rather than as something to dread (as some of my friends view it!)

  2. I guess a person with a positive mindset and wonderful accomplishments will not likely go through this crisis. Thus, I agree with you that the best thing is to prepare yourself for this than waiting for it to happen. I think the first thing people should do is to help themselves develop a positive outlook in life regardless of the circumstances they’re in.

    Brandi Kennedy @ Restoration Counseling