When I recently read…
“Men may go through a “teenage-like rebellion” at this point in their lives, says Boston psychologist Lynn Margolies, PhD. “A sure sign you may be in a midlife crisis is if you are feeling trapped and very tempted to act out in ways that will blow up your life,” she says.
I tightly clenched my fist in frustration and cursed at the screen!
There is no way that mainstream society is going to trip me up on this one! I am not going to be hoodwinked into believing that recently turning forty will bring about an unstoppable swirling cyclone of crisis that will inexplicably influence me to make irrational decisions. I don’t think for a fleeting moment that turning forty will make me want to suddenly loose weight, buy a sports car, have an affair, search for younger friends or frantically run around desperately trying to hold onto the fading sands of time.
Funny thing is the term “mid life crisis” was introduced by Canadian psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques; the irony being that Mr Jaques was in his mid forties when he completed two doctorates in medicine and psychology and then went on to create some of his most original ideas in his late seventies and early eighties!
Make no mistake, no one really wants to think they have already lived half way through their lives, but that is based on the assumption I make it to my eighties? Without sounding too morbid I may have already lived over halfway through my existence or perhaps I’ll make it to a century which technically means my mid life crisis isn’t due for another ten years?
To be totally objective it is fair to say not all men my age feel the same way; there are some interesting themes that come into conversations when you enter the arena of middle age and somehow nostalgia always manages to subtly creep in as “teens years” and “twenties” are glorified as a golden age. I will miss the bittersweet life lessons my twenties bestowed and inflicted upon me but these were lessons of the past, which is where they will stay.
While I have no issue with contemplation or reflection, personally my teen years and twenties were a very confusing time as I was measuring myself against a commercial mythical standard (partly created by society, partly my own set of ideals) I could never realistically sustain.
As for the concept of thirty being the new forty? I understand the intention, however my thirties served me just fine and unlike soul/funk group Maze I don’t want to re-capture the Joy and Pain of a bygone era. Rather than making forty a pale imitation of a previous decade, I thought it might be an idea to be part of a generation that helps to re-define and sculpt what 40 is and what it actually means…or at least what it means to me?
Having never been particularly athletic throughout my twenties (and accumulating weight in the process) I tentatively started running during my thirties and it was during this physical transformation I realised that my body had untapped potential that would continue to develop and advance as I got older. But improved physicality was only part of the equation as aging assists in developing a more mature mentality towards, health, relationships and personal truth even if at times personal truth is in direct conflict with societies mainstream ideals.
I am in good company as David Beckham, Chadwick Boseman, Naomie Harris, Reece Witherspoon, Ryan Renolds and Mike Colter are a small sample of celebrities with whom I share the same birth year but I’m not trying to hard sell the benefits of being 40 but for anyone who is on the fast track to hitting this number anytime soon, I can tell you that aging isn’t as awful as our youth obsessed culture would have us believe, not to mention that advancing in age sure beats the alternative!
Until next time.