As I hit my statistical hump day of midlife, there’s a bunch of stuff I have to do. I’m not talking about buying a Porsche, but all the other stuff that hits. Suddenly there’s a bunch of medical screening I’ll have to go through in another year for diseases that don’t kill, "young men". And there’s the obvious expectation of a midlife crisis.
A little web surfing revealed that Carl Jung in fact studied the concept of the midlife crisis through the lens of the personality archtypes made popular by the Myers-Briggs personality system. What a surprise! If you know me well, you know that I am fascinated by the various archtypes distilled in Myers-Briggs.
However I think midlife crises are more than just that. They seem to result from people giving themselves a mid-life report card and discovering they’re really not happy with the results they’ve got or the choices they’ve made. The "crisis" part comes in when they realize that unlike a game of Monopoly, they can’t really do it over. I suspect it’s worse when they realize that even if they quit their jobs and try and start over, that there’s a whole lot barriers in the way.
It’s hard (but not impossible) to run a startup at 40. It’s harder if you have a crushing mortgage and family obligations, worse still if your marriage isn’t working.
I don’t think I have any of those problems, so it looks like I’m not buying a Porsche this year. I’m generally comfortable with the concept of my death, I’m happy in my job, I’m happily married, and I’m not drowning in debt. (Any of these things being out of whack are all causal factors of a midlife crisis) I have friends who are not so lucky, and as each birthday is an exercise in tears and drama over the fact that they’re ageing and not happy about it, I wonder when they’ll finally flip out.
Like the regular prostrate exam I’ll have to start taking, I suspect I’ll do this mental check every year. However if I flip out next year on my birthday and disappear for a week, you’ll know why. 🙂