Forever 21

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40 is the new 30

When I tentatively admitted my blogging ambitions to two friends early in the new year, they each separately (this wasn’t a mass sharing session) admitted to their own aspirations for the new year. And they weren’t of the get fit variety, but were both long-nurtured dreams of doing something that makes them very happy but that also puts their talents out there for people to judge. I found this really interesting that the two people I had confessed my goal to, also had their own goals that really took them out of their comfort zone. Did I just pick two friends who I felt were like-minded souls, or if I had confided in other friends, would they too have dreams to put into place for this year? Maybe it’s the stage of our lives we’re at (back to Phases again!) with children in double-digits so we’re no longer enveloped in the all-consuming toddler years or maybe it’s an age thing and a feeling of time passing by too quickly: life is short, we all know that.

So it has crossed my mind that maybe I’m having a midlife crisis (but surely I’m far too young for that, my inner 21 year old cries), and I found a newspaper article that states that men hit their midlife crisis at 43 and women at 44. Having scoured the Top 40 signs of having a midlife crisis, I am relieved to say that I am only about a quarter of the way there! Take up a new hobby (you’re reading it)? Check! Excessively reminisce about your childhood? Check! Worry about being worse off in your retirement than your parents? Check! However, I’m taking comfort in the fact that I’m not thinking about buying a B&B, contemplating plastic surgery or have flirted embarrassingly with men 20 years my junior. Yet.

I’d always thought a midlife crisis was a bit of a myth, or a handy excuse for men of a certain age to buy a sports car, but are we all heading straight for it? The term was coined in 1965 by Elliott Jacques, a Canadian psychoanalyst, and describes the normal period of transition and self-reflection many adults feel between the ages of 40 and 60. This strikes me as being a huge period of time, which could encompass anything from becoming a parent to becoming a grandparent, and all life stages in between. During these years, many people question who they are and what their purpose is in the world and is often brought on by a change in their life circumstances, such as a child going to university (I’m not looking forward to my nest being empty but we’ve got a way to go yet) or the loss of a parent. These changes can lead to uncertainty or discontent, and a feeling of being in ‘crisis’. Despite this stress, it can also lead to a feeling of new beginnings or discoveries. My (very) uneducated guess would be that most people will go through some of these thoughts at some stage, but not everyone will find themselves in ‘crisis’ over it.

Losing my Mum certainly has made me feel that life is precious and time is passing too quickly, but I’m not sure if starting a blog is a sign that I’m in crisis! If that’s the case, then I’m taking my friends with me. 40 is the new 30, as they say: we’ve got years to go yet!

 

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