herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

A mid-life crisis at 35? People, we need to get a grip

It's becoming more and more apparent that we children of the '70s are a generation of softies, of moaners and of miseries.

And the latest manifestation of this is a heap of research done by Relate, the marriage-counselling crowd, about the phenomenon that's the modern mid-life crisis.

Apparently, we're all at our wits end. We're stressed, lonely.

Our looks are deteriorating and our spouses are either having it off with younger versions of us, or would like to do so.

We're feeling unfulfilled in our jobs, we're not earning what we thought we would, or what we think we're entitled to. The counter is ticking down, we're aware that time's running out and we're ever so depressed about it.

Er, can anyone explain the difference to me between all the above, and real life? What do people expect these days? Have we been so spoilt through those fake boom years of automatic pay rises, weekly hairdos, endless cocktails and on-tap domestic help that we've forgotten what it's like to actually graft?

Getting the bus to the airport instead of a taxi isn't the sign of a life in decline; it's the sensible option. Ditto having a mortgage, a pension and a family to look after. And coping with a household of noisy, irritable kids is par for the course, unless you want to gag them.

While we may have visions of second homes in the sunshine with swimming pools and hanging vines, to end up in Trabolgan isn't a failure, it's what you do whilst daydreaming of the other.

The study fires off all sorts of statistics that show the mid-life crisis happens to us younger, at around 35 as opposed to 50.

That the average age of a chief executive is 48, not 59 as it was a generation ago. Surely that means we're achieving more. Becoming all the more fabulous. We should be celebrating, not drowning our sorrows over these revelations.

It then goes on to list a whole ream of inadequacies. We're not getting enough sex, we've had to leave a previous job due to difficult circumstances, we have to mind elderly parents, we've suffered from depression. Wasn't this always the way, and we just got on with it?

Crikey, what ever happened to 'proper' mid-life crises?

The ones where men got toupees, two-seater soft tops, lots of shiny gold jewellery and a penchant for Leeson Street nightclubs?



Flirt

Or the ones that would see women rediscover the mini-skirt, low-cut tops, get tramp-stamp tattoos and flirt with waiters?

Once upon a time, the mid-life crisis was something to be looked forward to. A point in one's life when one knew one was behaving inappropriately, but was old enough and 'wise' enough not to really give a hoot. Mid-lifers had the financial wherewithal to afford a bit of loose living, and were not so passed it that a few late 'school nights' were still tolerable at work the next day.

But now, it seems the midlife crisis is something that's being taken far too seriously. Far from being fun times, they're being portrayed as wilderness years. For goodness sake, didn't we do all of that during puberty? Surely once in a lifetime is enough to go through the miseries of confused identity and personal angst.

It looks like we all need to get a grip on ourselves. To take a look at life as something we work at, constantly, not some automatic golden ticket to Nirvana. It's time to get real, people, to shut up and buckle down.

And if you fancy having a little crisis, well, don some bad clothes and make it an enjoyable one.

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