Is it becoming cool to have a ‘modern’ midlife crisis?

Having a midlife crisis is almost becoming cool. Pop psychology, the media and general ignorance has led to many articles describing how everyone is having a midlife crisis. This broadening of the topic to include any moderately disaffected person between the ages of 27 and 65 has made it much harder for the people who are really suffering to get the help they need, it is much harder for them to be taken seriously.

One example of the type of lists that are create by the media is given below. This was published by the Daily Mirror in the UK. Many of the things on this list are normal choices that thousands of people make every day, they are not indicators of a midlife crisis. We’ve highlighted the few items that do relate to people who are truly suffering. The other items on the list are added by the media to try and give the impression that it is somehow cool to be ‘having a crisis’.

When taken to their extremes the things on this list do indicate a midlife crisis, but in their normal form, taken as read, they are, in many cases, simply the types of life decisions we all wonder about every week.

  • Wanting a simpler life
  • Still going to festivals like Glastonbury
  • Looking up old boyfriends or girlfriends on Facebook
  • Realising you’ll never pay off your mortgage
  • Joining Twitter so your bosses think you “get” digital
  • Reminiscing about your childhood a lot
  • Taking no pleasure in friends’ success
  • Buying a very expensive bicycle
  • Suddenly wanting to learn a musical instrument
  • Worrying over your thinning hair
  • Taking up a new hobby
  • Suddenly wanting to make the world a better place
  • Looking longingly at old pictures of your younger self
  • Fearing the worst if a parent calls at an unexpected time
  • Going to reunions of favourite bands from the 70s and 80s
  • Switching from Radio 2 to indie stations like 6 Music
  • Revisiting holiday destinations you remember from childhood
  • You cannot envisage a time when you will be able to afford to retire
  • Reading obituaries and always checking how people died
  • Obsessively comparing your looks with others the same age
  • Dyeing your hair when it’s grey
  • Stopping telling people your age
  • Dreaming about quitting work but knowing you’ll never be able to afford to
  • Taking vitamin pills
  • Worrying about being worse off in your retirement than your parents
  • Wanting to change friends but not meeting anyone new that you like
  • Thinking about quitting work to buy a B&B or a pub
  • Flirting with people 20 years younger
  • Looking up your medical symptoms on the internet
  • Thinking about going to church but never acting on it
  • Always noting when politicians or bosses are younger than you
  • Thinking of having a hair transplant or plastic surgery
  • Taking out a direct debit to a charity
  • Can’t sleep for work woes *
  • Hang­overs get worse and last more than a day
  • You can’t help but compare your career success with your friends
  • Worrying about a younger person taking your job
  • Taking up an extreme sport
  • You are very easily distracted
  • You only read books on holiday
Updated: 14th November 2014 — 11:06 pm

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