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This is a question Midlife Crisis

I've hit my forties, and my midlife crisis has manifested itself in old band T-shirts and a desire to go on camper van holidays. How has it hit you, or - if you are still a youngling - your elders?

(, Thu 2 May 2013, 11:55)
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This question is now closed.

I've got a theory...
... that my generation (early forties) and younger won't have mid life crises like they used to be. Here's why:

In the olden days (i.e. when I was a kid), blokes in their forties had often left school at sixteen or eighteen, or if they were lucky and/or posh had gone to uni. In any case, firmly on a track. They'd meet a girl, get married (quite possibly to one of the first few women they ever had sex with), and by their mid-twenties there'd be kids in their house. They'd get their heads down and pay a mortgage and start working their way up the ladder at work.

And then when they got to be about forty, in the mid seventies, their kids would be in their mid-teens. Girls would be flowering and bringing friends home. Boys would be getting girlfriends and bringing them home. Either way, these men would be reminded of the freshness of youth. Kids would getting independent, learning to drive, and taking advantage of new opportunities available to them due to increased affluence. At exactly the same time, their parents, who would by now be in their sixties and seventies and getting decrepit and dependent, would serve as a reminder of where their life was inevitably headed. Their wives, naturally, would be concentrating harder on running the house and possibly their careers than on making themselves look like sex kittens, and to top it all, after twenty years or so, their career would likely have plateaued. At this point, they'd look in the mirror at their greying temples and the beginnings of wrinkles, and they'd start to think about all the things they'd missed out on because they married young. And they'd think "this is my last chance". And they'd get a sports car, or a motorbike, and start wearing age-inappropriate clothing and chasing younger women, all in a bid to recapture something they felt they'd missed out on - an independent youth.

But for people now in their forties, the average age we got married - if we even got married at all - is much higher. More of us are delaying having kids, or not having them at all. We grew up in a time of relative prosperity, and the rise of Loaded and FHM were symptomatic of a society where it was acceptable for men in their twenties and thirties to behave like teenagers, playing computer games and buying toys and chasing women. Fundamentally, as a generation, we didn't miss out, because our adolescence was extended into our twenties and thirties. So we arrive in our forties and what do we find? We work indoors in an office, we always slathered on sunscreen, and we followed that skin care regime in "Men's Health", so we don't look that old. If we're married, our wives did similar and they look fabulous. Our kids, if we got any, are still toddlers or at least ten or under because we delayed breeding - and we get to play with their toys. And our parents, far from being decrepit, just Skyped us from bloody Thailand because their ludicrously generous final salary pensions mean they're better off than us. There's no such thing as a "career plateau" any more because there's not the same concept of a "career" - work is far more fluid than it used to be, hardly any jobs for life any more. Nothing about this scenario is telling us we have a last chance to grab something we never had, because anything we wanted, we had and to an extent still have. Also, in the event we find ourselves single and wishing for female company, the internet means meeting someone compatible and age-appropriate is simplicity itself.

My only vaguely MLC purchase was a left-handed electric guitar, which I bought, plonked about with briefly, then placed on a stand in the corner of my movie room, there to gather dust because I can't be bothered learning to play it. Other than that, at 44 I can't see the need for a crisis because life's been pretty sweet up to now, and the same goes for most of the blokes I know.

And yes, I know we're lucky.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 9:20, 10 replies)
Working the bag.
Being an (almost) married father of two, I was starting to get fat and disgusting. So to try and recapture some of the vim and ginger of youth, I bought a big heavy punchbag and hung it in the garden. Battering the fuck out of it makes me feel vital and energised and oh-so-terribly manly, and fools me into thinking I’m still young and healthy.
When no-one’s around though, I like to pop into the garden and start reasoning with it. I stand there pleading and cajoling, asking why it’s being ‘like this’, before dramatically flinging myself into the air and landing in a heap. Then I scream “WHAT ARE YOU DOING MAN? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” or similar before jerking up and down convulsively as I’m kicked in the face and guts. I’ll eventually end up on my knees waving my arms in the air like in Platoon and softly moaning “noooooooo” as the final blow knocks me unconscious onto the grass.
Without fail though, I always jump up shouting “TIGER UPPERCUT!” and throw one last mighty wallop. This usually cocks up and I hit a tree or skin my knuckles or something, then I have to rush inside and hold my hand under the tap.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 9:47, 4 replies)
One of my favourites:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
(, Thu 2 May 2013, 14:43, 21 replies)
A Cautionary Tale For the Not Single 30-Something Male.
If you're still with your wife
it's incredibly stupid
To try to cheat on her
with birds on okCupid
This kind of behaviour is quite indefensible
Your conduct, you cunt, really is reprehensible
Hope she leaves you, is happy, as memory fades
Whilst you die in a prison, from shanking, and AIDS
(, Tue 7 May 2013, 10:36, 19 replies)
Sometimes the midlife crisis has YOU.
Long ago I made my living as a draftsman, working for various surveying and civil engineering firms. It was not too bad overall, but after about 12 years of it I was getting pretty bored with drawing shit other people designed. Besides, the pay sucked.

Then my mom came into a sizable inheritance. She made me an offer: if she made up for the loss of income, would I want to go back to university? I was 37, as high up in my job as I could go and miserable. Hell yes I wanted to go! So I selected a nearby university with an engineering school and enrolled.

My wife was furious that I should make such a decision without consulting her. I was stunned. What was there to discuss? There were absolutely no down sides to this. What was she bitching about?

That was just the beginning. Within six months she was raging constantly every time I left the house to go do homework at the library, raging every time the kids misbehaved and I was in class and unable to be reached, raging over the fact that I had to buy textbooks, and generally raging. About a year later I moved out. By 2002 the divorce was finalized.

At the age of forty I was starting over from scratch, no house, no furniture, no established home, no partner in my life.

But then I began expanding my social circles and meeting women about my own age and started dating again. Over the better part of a decade I had quite a number of girlfriends, some of them more serious relationships than others. I bought a house, reclaimed some of my furniture from the ex, and dug in. I was working as an engineer, making a decent wage and doing pretty well for myself.

Finally I met the one I married, who's just about as cracked as I am and also makes a pretty decent wage. Now I live in one of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, have friends from all over the globe as well as some locals, get invited to go out on the desert for sunset barbecues and get to travel to other Middle Eastern countries for long weekends if we so desire.

So some get the mid-life crisis that results in them tearing apart their lives so badly that they have to re-build, but some of us had life do it for us instead.

Not that this way was easy or pleasant to deal with, mind you...
(, Sat 4 May 2013, 5:53, 46 replies)
You're perfect, yes it's true!
But without me, you're only you.
(, Thu 2 May 2013, 12:04, 2 replies)
I bought a leather jacket, started listening to Kasabian and bought a Thai bride!
Turned out she has a cock, but that's alright, I'm pretty open-minded.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 23:31, 5 replies)
As a ssssnake, you learn to think of each year asssss a new life.
You emerge from hibernation, sssslither out into the warming sssspring air, and ssssstart to feed. Asssss the height of ssssummer approachessss, you feel yoursssself grow as a persssson: ssssspiritually, and physsssically.

Then the time comessss to be reborn. You sssslough off your old sssskin, and emerge from the battered, plassssticky hussssk of what ussssed to be you; now you are a new sssssnake.

The elasssssticity of your new sssskin allowssss you go expand physically, so you fill yourssssself with tassssty morssselsss, ready for the next hibernation. Then you ssssleep, and when you wake it isss assss if life hassss begun again.

My favourite part of thissss yearly processsss of life issss undoubtedly the midpoint: the point when I shed.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 19:34, 1 reply)
Crisis? What crisis?
Things I have noticed now that I've passed 40...

I have tinnitus.
I make groaning noises when I get up from a seat, or out of my bed, or out of a car after short journeys as well as long, and it takes me a couple of minutes to walk without a limp.
My dad turned 70, and for the first time I thought "Blimey, he's proper old now".
I feel comfortable wearing a suit jacket with jeans.
I can't go to a trendy hair stylist in Soho any more.
I'll still go to a cocktail bar when the pubs shut, but I won't go to a nightclub and dance.
I don't want to make any more new friends - I have enough now.
My married-with-kids friends use me to escape their humdrum lives by always finding excuses for me not to visit them in their family situation, and the blokes have to build up brownie points to come out on the lash and always want to stay over.
I sometimes avoid bustling trendy bars because they're too busy or noisy or it'll take too long to get a drink, so instead I go to dingy boozers full of old men where I know I can get a seat.
People in their early twenties look really young. I mean really, really young - like they're young teenagers. I also refer to them as "kids".
I don't have FOMO (fear of missing out) any more - I don't look with envy at people queuing up outside nightclubs, or drunkenly trying to pull each other in bars. I say things like "It's their time now..." to myself in my head.

And, do you remember in almost every decent nightspot there's an old geezer leaning up against the bar who looks like he doesn't belong and that he's only there to perve at the young girls? I've come to realise that's now me...

...but even with all of that, I don't feel as old as I thought I would. I still act as though I'm still in my late-twenties/early-thirties.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 17:08, 2 replies)
I'm planning my midlife crisis.
First I'm going to buy a shed. A really big shed, maybe one that has a little veranda bit on the front of it.

Then I'll need to buy a car, obviously the only choice is a Honda Accord, the difficulty will be deciding what totally rad paint job I am going to get. I'm thinking I may paint a massive Mr T face on the bonnet, maybe he'll have a little speech bubble painted in blackboard paint so I can write appropriate sayings depending on what I'm doing. On my running over drug dealer days he'll be saying "I pity the fool who be selling drugs" and when I am picking up hot young models who are many years my junior he'll be saying "Quit your jibberjabber" and if they try and talk over my amazing stories of the time I flew a plane that was full of provisions for orphans into a war zone and only one engine was working and all the other people jumped out but I stuck with it and single handedly saved everyone, then I'll point and Mr T and they will totally know to shut up and keep basking in my reflected glory.

I should probably also schedule in some time for spouse beating, massive drug taking and becoming a doctor or something.

Cheers.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 11:10, 4 replies)
nope
I feel that it's that bit in the middle between about 18 and 50, that bit when you're still working your arse off as a subordinate in a godawful job, driving frumpy affordable cars, stuck in boring relationships and watching in horror as your fun friends fall off the radar, having started to breed like bonobos - that's the crisis.

After the menopause, when you finally have time for hard drinking, gardening, sports cars and spending money on yourself, that's the good bit. I can't wait.
(, Sat 4 May 2013, 21:45, Reply)
I can
barely cope with a mid-day crisis let alone a mid-life one.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 20:56, Reply)
Thing is, the older you get, the more you realise it doesn't matter, and don't care.
It's fun watching young 'uns get freaked out by the thought of people older than them having sex.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 10:34, 1 reply)
Fending off a mid-life crisis
When I turned 35, I was having a weird time and spending a lot of time on my own. Just meditating that life hadn’t turned out how I’d expected when I was young. I think it was the birthday that really threw me, for the first time, and made me think ‘What am I doing with my life?’. I want to tell you the story of how I pulled myself out of it.

On one of my long walks, I was out in the forest near home one weekend, I got into a bit of an altercation. Basically, some chav’s big dog had a go at me and I got into an argument with the guy. Not sensible, but I was really angry. He only went to let the fucking dog on me so I sprinted off through the forest! Luckily, an old guy came to my aid and got rid of the dog. I was in a state, and he took me to a pub nearby to recover. I didn’t really feel like it but wasn’t arguing with him.

It was a weird pub I’d never been to before. Loads of layabouts hung around in the street nearby, and then we had to cross a river to get there, which didn’t seem to bode well, but we went in. Old chap was called Virgil. We got chatting and I was actually pretty happy just to be talking to someone who had the time to listen. Got another pint in and he said he wanted me to meet some of his friends in the pub, all of whom were older men like him. The guys in the first room seemed like a nice bunch. A friendly group of guys who asked me lots of questions about what I got up to, my life, and the World outside. It almost shamed me to admit that I wasn’t living much of an exciting life myself and didn’t have much to say.

This was when Virgil said to me that the people I really ought to meet were in the back room. We went through, and it was a totally different world. Nearest the door, there were an old couple getting off with one another, then the next table was a bunch of fat guys eating cheesy chips, then a table of blokes who looked a lot like Estate Agents, and at the back of the room, a few guys who looked like total roughnecks (tattoos and black eyes all round), a few Mormon missionaries, and another table of horrible looking thugs. Weirdest pub I’ve ever been in.

Anyway, we had a chat to all of these groups, one by one, and realised that they were all even more unhappy than me in some ways. Basically, what Virgil pointed out to me was that all of these people were suffering in their lives in ways which reflected paths they themselves had chosen in life. Really snapped me out of it and set me back on the straight and narrow.

Weirdest thing about the whole experience was that they all kept banging on about 13th Century Florentine Politics….
(, Thu 2 May 2013, 18:32, 5 replies)
I celebrated turning 40 with a massive party, had 3 bands playing, 80+ people turned up.
It's 6 years later tomorrow. In that time I've lost my house, every relationship has fucked up, I tried having birthday drinks tonight and got no takers.

Life begins at 40 ? does it arse; it fucking ends.
(, Sat 4 May 2013, 14:53, 21 replies)
shed!
I have a therapist. Its all a bit un-British and probably un-manly, but I have a therapist. I've had an awful lot of very unfunny stuff in the last 3 years and theres no need to tell the whole world why I've got a therapist. It will suffice to say that I have at least 35years of cognitive distortions to unpack and the Boy Scout movement has a great deal to answer for... However.... During our last session we finally got to the place where I could get a couple of points where I could take action. The first of these was that I need to get a "shed" ! Mid-life stuff and sheds really do belong together.
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 21:58, 3 replies)
ouch
I was working in my lab the other day when one of the more attractive members of the department approached me. She's american and all curves and cleavage "tell me sittingduck me and (another unattainable sexbomb) were chatting about you the other day"
oh yes? threesome here we come?! said my mind
She went on..."and we decided that with your spiked hair and old band T-shirts you haven't changed how you dress since you went to University, are we right?"


ouch :(
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 11:10, 27 replies)
At 43
I'm seriously considering buying a metal detector to hunt for old coins.

I think that says it all.
(, Thu 2 May 2013, 20:30, 5 replies)
Bought a cabriolet?
What you think you look like....


What you actually look like.....

(, Thu 2 May 2013, 16:25, 5 replies)
Not so much a crisis, more a shift in perspective
When considering buying a DVD box set, I find myself calculating how many times I might watch it before I die.
(, Wed 8 May 2013, 11:56, 3 replies)
At 40, I started divorcing the ex. Our kids were old enough and I'd loathed him for years.
I went off with a bloke about 6 years younger than I am, settled down and eventually married him.

The ex also found a younger partner. So much younger that he went to prison.

That put ME in my place.
(, Wed 8 May 2013, 9:42, 17 replies)
I will never play the Dane.

(, Tue 7 May 2013, 20:32, 4 replies)
I shouted at a child in the street...
For making a loud clatter in the street. Turned out, a shower rod had unaccountably fallen in the bathroom.
(, Tue 7 May 2013, 16:08, Reply)
Not me, but my Sibling
When she was pregnant, we were all a little concerned at how the labour might go. She has been known to have a foul temper at the best of times, usually accompanied by language to make a docker blush. Not good for the person on the receiving end.

The only words of wisdom I could think to pass on to her before she went into labour were:

Try not to make the Midwife cry, Sis.
(, Tue 7 May 2013, 13:41, 1 reply)
So we had a reunion, and some of us went to the nightclub we used to frequent back in those times.
We didn't care that we were the oldest in there; we were genuinely there for our collective company and the nostalgia hit.

Oh dear god.

First of all, it was fucking ridiculously loud.

Secondly, I didn't know any - ANY - of the music they were playing.

And then the Stone Roses came on.

So I grabbed a nearby friend, and screamed into his ear, "Oh YES mate! Come on!", pulling him to the dancefloor.

And just then, a very pretty, petite little 18 year old girl behind us likewise grabbed her mate excitedly, and likwise screamed into her ear "Oh yes! Let's go and dance to this ... I love all this old stuff!"

She lives under my patio now.
(, Mon 6 May 2013, 18:05, 7 replies)
I moved in with my girlfriend
We are watching Antiques Roadshow.
(, Mon 6 May 2013, 17:58, 2 replies)
What mid life crisis
I hit 50 last year and my life has continued as before.

Admittedly since hitting 50 I have got divorced, bought myself a big noisy motorbike, moved into a bachelor pad, got a great girlfriend and am having lots and lots of messy, noisy sex.

Oh hang on. Now I understand what a midlife crisis is!
(, Fri 3 May 2013, 16:32, 2 replies)
I'm buying
all the things I wanted when I was a kid.

A C-64, proper real 1702 monitor, 1541 disk drive like rich people had, and ALL THE FUCKING GAMES :D

Annoyingly, the games are 3 - 4 x the price they used to be!

Only got a few more carts to collect, and I'll have the lot. Then start on the speccys!
(, Thu 2 May 2013, 20:03, 5 replies)
I got a job on TV and started noncing

(, Thu 2 May 2013, 13:02, Reply)

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