I forgot to have a mid-life crisis 62



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A chum of mine who is still on the sunny side of 50 – a bit of a lad really – is so bloody politically correct that he wants to know what the right age is to have a mid-life crisis.

The thought that he might have missed it, the fear that he is already over the hill mid-life-crisis wise is consuming him and, frankly, driving everybody he knows mad. He spends a good part of his day surfing the net trying to get answers which, in my considered view, is a symptom of having a mid-life crisis in itself.

As yet, he hasn’t bought a ludicrously expensive sports car or abandoned his good lady wife for a chit of a girl young enough to be his daughter or become obsessed with thinning and greying hair and an ever-widening paunch and he worries about that. Yes, he is depressed about the fact that he may have missed the depression he thinks automatically comes with a mid-life crisis.

The term “mid-life crisis” was coined in 1965 by the Canadian psychoanalyst and organisational psychologist, Dr Elliot Jacques. He was 48 at the time so I am presuming he was going through his at the time.

My chum recently informed me that the consensus view among the mid-life-crisis-analyst-crowd is that men have their crisis anywhere between 40 and 60 while women have theirs between 35 and 45. If a man and a woman were roughly the same age when their relationship began there is obviously a dangerous overlap when all hell could break loose.

Anyhow I’m certainly out of harm’s way – 60 seems such a long time ago – and to be honest I think that I forgot to have a mid-life crisis. Apart from occasional and perfectly understandable human reactions to assorted provocations, I can’t recall having a really extended period of depression, anger, resentment, jealousy, remorse or ennui. I don’t think I spent much time going through extended soul-searching, reflection or personal reassessment.

Perhaps, fundamentally, I’m just lazy because life has more or less just drifted along with the odd little victory here and there counter-balanced with some mild disappointments which could be shrugged off. Call me shallow if you like but that’s the way it was and still is.

I didn’t really go through some anguished period of realising that I had unrealised goals because I was too busy having fun in my teens and twenties to get around to setting any goals.

Some years ago – practically a decade actually – I went to the 40th anniversary reunion of my Year 12 class and I came away feeling very pleased with myself because I realised that people I considered to be absolute brain-dead idiots in 1966 were still absolute brain-dead idiots, only older. I’m sure that proves that I was a remarkably mature teenager with excellent character assessment skills because after a lifetime of experience meeting all sorts of folks I came to the same conclusion that evening I had in the mid 1960s.

I could sure pick the ones who had had or, perhaps, were still having their mid-life crisis. A lot of clear evidence of botox, liposuction, face-lifts, nose jobs, and tummy tucks, implants, hair transplants and hair pieces and assorted fillers. Some were dressed in a riot of designer gear warped into most unbecoming shapes because of the body they were trying to clothe. I was in my comfy corduroys, cardigan and hush puppies.

One of the aforementioned absolute brain dead idiots tried to engage me in conversation about the various travails of having a tricky prostate. I told him he could take his chosen subject of discourse and shove it up his bum which, on reflection, I thought was rather humorous in a very subtle, mature sort of way. Apparently his is enlarged which I didn’t find even vaguely interesting apart from the thought that given the size of his bum he could accommodate that organ quite comfortably even it was as big as a watermelon.

I won’t be bothering with the 50th anniversary reunion – it will only be a rerun of the 40th with a smaller cast due to deaths and various infirmities and a much greater number of walking frames and other aids for perambulation. And I suppose it will be an afternoon function because most will be under orders from Matron to be in bed by 6pm and be a minute late and there is no cocoa.

And I suppose the obligatory music from The Righteous Brothers, The Mamas and The Papas, The Four Tops, The Loving Spoonful and The Beatles will have to be set at a roaring volume not because everybody wants to cut a rug and jive the afternoon away but because so many are too bloody vain to wear their hearing aid.

Not having had a mid-life crisis has ensured that my sunny disposition, forgiving nature, generosity of spirit and profound respect for my fellow humans have remained undiminished.

That’s why I told my chum to just get over it.


Did you have a mid-life crisis? What happened? Or did you forgot to have one? What does it mean? Tell us below.

Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

  1. Oh I did enjoy that and so true. My friends husband has coffee with his mates and the two topics that are discussed are superannuation and prostate. Get a life.

    1 REPLY
    • Thanks Jill – That’s good advice to remember; if my conversation ever narrows to worries about my prostrate and superannuation, I’ll know that I have hit a new low. But, NOT there – yet!

  2. Who has got time for mid life crisis? Such a selfish male thing. Why dont they spend some time with their grandchildren and grow up. What are they going to do with young chick? Spend money on them

    2 REPLY
    • Patricia – another mate of mine reckons he should be allowed to have a mid-life crisis because he had to put up with his wife going through menopause. Dear God – what can you say about that sort of infantile, asinine remark? And he wasn’t joking.

    • what makes me laugh is … men in their 50’s want some young chicky babe in their late 30’s to show off on their arm.. but they forget they get old also.. I spose it for their egos.. stupid men

  3. I just loved that, had a good laugh, because most of it is just so true. I didn’t have time for one, too busy with travelling, Grandkids, whinging husband, working for a whinging male boss, now unfortunately a widow & too busy at 78 to have one.

    1 REPLY
    • Go Jannette go girl! You are an inspiration for us all!

  4. I am with you, Russell, and forgot to have a mid-life crisis! Although, when I was 39 and had two teenagers, I gave birth to my youngest son, and we called him our mid-life crisis! Been a fun ride ever since!

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