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.