The Myth of the Mid-Life Crisis


I don’t know a single person who reaches their 50s and decides the right thing to do is go crazy and act like they are 24: divorce the spouse, buy a sports car, move to a remote island. It turns out that the reason I don’t know anyone like this is that they rarely exist. Daniel Levinson interviewed 40 people in his social circle in 1978 and concluded that 80% of men undergo a mid-life crisis of some sort. Say what? This is all about 40 guys in 1978? In Barb Bradley Hagerty’s excellent book Life Reimagined, she quotes a much larger 1989 follow up study that concluded that 10% of men may have such a crisis. I wonder about the women. Humm. In any case, if you feel like you will not be complete without the orange McLaren, please, buy the car. But do it because you love the car, not because you are searching for deeper meaning in your life.