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Old 18th November 2022, 15:50   #1
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Default The Midlife Crisis Thread

Well, for humans, this so-called "Mid-Life Crisis" is becoming a norm. Every one of us (with some exceptions) probably would have crossed (or) are currently in (or) are yet to encounter this life-changing phenomenon.

I am a sales professional (working for an IT corporate) in my late 30's. And yes, you guessed it right - I am already in this crisis.

Being in the corporate world, most of the time I am lost in thoughts thinking
  1. Needs and expenses until retirement
  2. Life after retirement.
  3. Needs and expenses after retirement
  4. Growth in career and make the most money from now until retirement
  5. Higher studies that elevate my profile and induce my fast growth (Probably MBA). Again is the money (10's of lakhs) worth the investment?
  6. The medical field is getting so advanced, that it keeps increasing not only our longevity but also making us more fit in old age. This means our needs and activities do slow down drastically after retirement from private employment.
  7. Alternative plans/ideas to move away from being employed to becoming an entrepreneur.
  8. Do I have any business ideas? What is the business problem that I am going to address?

What is your take on this crisis? What did you do to successfully overcome this crisis (if you have already crossed)? How did you avoid this crisis - if you did? What you could have done better/earlier to avoid this crisis? What is your plan to avoid this crisis (if you have any)? What is your advice to people who are about to enter and people like me who are struck? Is there any formula to overcome this? What are the action items that you recommend to overcome this crisis?
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Old 18th November 2022, 16:21   #2
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

What I generally tell people is to have a Hobby!

You could consider your work - could be an employee or a business owner or a farmer as a means to get to what keeps you happy, in my case it is my hobby, I may have more than one and in one of them I can include my family as well.

We all need something to keep going through difficult times, could happen to anyone.

Being a car forum there is an easy route - Buy a Thar, join the off road brethren.
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Old 18th November 2022, 16:31   #3
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosfactor View Post
What I generally tell people is to have a Hobby!

You could consider your work - could be an employee or a business owner or a farmer as a means to get to what keeps you happy, in my case it is my hobby, I may have more than one and in one of them I can include my family as well.

We all need something to keep going through difficult times, could happen to anyone.

Being a car forum there is an easy route - Buy a Thar, join the off road brethren.
Isn't a hobby nothing but just a "hobby"? A hobby will probably reduce stress, improve/maintain mental and physical health, and does all good to you and your loved ones over the long run forever. I see the hobby as a kind of break time from your routine work. But this mid-life crisis is all about the main work itself.

There are many artists, musicians, sports people, politicians, corporate professionals, etc who have literally change their lifestyle and living style post the mid-life crisis.
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Old 18th November 2022, 16:44   #4
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

I am 44 and have been battling mid life crisis for quite some time now. To be honest, there is no one size fits all answer. Everyone is so unique and is placed in their own unique circumstances.

In my case, I started 2 businesses at 40 and both tanked. Then I acquired some new skills (for free) and built a SaaS app which I realised was pointless. I have now settled into a life of writing. I make no money out of it and doesn't look like I will in the near future. One thing I steered clear of is spending lakhs of Rupees in retraining myself for landing some dream career. Not that these trainings are a waste, just that I wasn't clear what I wanted to do, so the wisest thing was to NOT put whatever was left of my money into bad decisions.

I have done a lot of reflection on how one lands up in this sort of situation. I can say fairly confidently that it is a result of:
  1. Overthinking
  2. Putting a low worth on what you are currently doing.

Analysis-paralysis and poor decisions go hand in hand. I have seen that some of the most relaxed people are those who don't ponder too much over decisions. They have little to no FOMO. If you analyse too much, you will allow complex variables to creep into decision making, in the hope of gains which will be marginal at best. It is important to get on with life. Wanting to chase perfection is a curse.

Becoming an entrepreneur will not solve any mid life crisis. At best it will be some escapism and checking off a bucket list item. Even in your business you are never your own boss as people like to say. Your customer is always your boss and it is worse, because the buck stops at you. By all means become an entrepreneur but the reasons should be solid and not because everyone around you is a Co-founder. These solid reasons could be:
  1. I have solid industry expertise and there is a problem I can solve
  2. I can build a team and acquire customers
  3. I can leverage my existing network

If you want to branch out into something completely different, be prepared for a long haul. You will have to do many things from scratch and unless you have a business partner, you will exhaust yourself very quickly, financially and mentally.

I am sorry but there is no good news and no easy way out of this. The very fact that you are in this crisis means you are a particular type, susceptible to such feelings. As I do not know what your work experience is and what you can do in the future, I have nothing but philosophical advice for you.

The only piece of concrete advice I can offer is that if you have skills that allow you to be a freelancer, you may want to try that first. If you have technical skills which are in demand, try becoming a consultant.

Relax, appreciate the smaller things in life. Relax but don't be complacent.

Stay away from LinkedIn.
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Old 18th November 2022, 16:49   #5
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livnletcarsliv View Post
  1. Needs and expenses until retirement
  2. Life after retirement.
  3. Needs and expenses after retirement
  4. Growth in career and make the most money from now until retirement
  5. Higher studies that elevate my profile and induce my fast growth (Probably MBA). Again is the money (10's of lakhs) worth the investment?
  6. The medical field is getting so advanced, that it keeps increasing not only our longevity but also making us more fit in old age. This means our needs and activities do slow down drastically after retirement from private employment.
  7. Alternative plans/ideas to move away from being employed to becoming an entrepreneur.
  8. Do I have any business ideas? What is the business problem that I am going to address?
Adding a few more to this list
1. Could my life have been better if i had made *THAT* choice instead of *THIS*?.
2. I don't like what i see in my mirror. What can i do?.
3. Things were much simpler when i was young.
4. Was my life worth anything?.

Now for specific answers to your questions :

What is your take on this crisis? : It will pass.

What did you do to successfully overcome this crisis (if you have already crossed)? Same as the answer to the first question.

How did you avoid this crisis - if you did?: Same as the answer to the next question.

What you could have done better/earlier to avoid this crisis? : Do Nothing

What is your plan to avoid this crisis (if you have any)? :

What is your advice to people who are about to enter and people like me who are struck? : Get over it and see my answer to the first question.

Is there any formula to overcome this? : Formula?. (I can see that you are already deep into this crisis).

What are the action items that you recommend to overcome this crisis? : You seem to repeat the same questions. Its a symptom, no doubt. Again See my answer to the first question.

Last edited by srini1785 : 18th November 2022 at 17:01.
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Old 18th November 2022, 16:57   #6
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosfactor View Post
Buy a Thar, join the off road brethren.
Isn't that the stereotypical male mid-life crisis thing to do? Buy an expensive car/bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livnletcarsliv View Post
A hobby will probably reduce stress, improve/maintain mental and physical health, and does all good to you and your loved ones over the long run forever.
And that's not enough? I think any hobby that can do all that is certainly worth pursuing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
I can say fairly confidently that it is a result of:
  1. Overthinking
  2. Putting a low worth on what you are currently doing.
Analysis-paralysis and poor decisions go hand in hand. I have seen that some of the most relaxed people are those who don't ponder too much over decisions.
Superbly put!

Last edited by am1m : 18th November 2022 at 17:00.
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Old 18th November 2022, 17:26   #7
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post

Stay away from LinkedIn.
Truer words have not been spoken.

Sometimes to get over some of these existential questions, I ask myself the following.

If I were to die tonight, would all this worrying be of any consequence?

Last edited by Red Liner : 18th November 2022 at 17:30.
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Old 18th November 2022, 17:32   #8
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Happy to see such a thread. I am glad we as a community can talk about such things. Communication and being able to talk helps in finding answers/alternatives/way-outs of stress/crisis/depression.

"Get a car/Thar" may be the most common suggestion, this being an enthusiasts-driven forum, but I would definitely take that suggestion.

Personally, I'm content with my life choices. Wouldn't have it any other way. But what stresses me is just 1 thing. Is it worth plonking so much money into these new cars, most of which I feel are getting over-priced by the day? Or is this the right age to make alternate investments with that money so that I don't regret it later? For reference I'm in my mid-30s.

There are enough threads here where people have shared their criteria for setting a budget for buying cars but that further seems to confuse things.

I do not think I can give any suggestions/recommendations on the subject but thanks for starting this thread to share my 2 cents.
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Old 18th November 2022, 17:42   #9
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Mid life or not, I have always made it a point not to take life too seriously. The bubble that it ultimately is, I will enjoy it while it lasts.

And heeding to some well meaning advices, every time I go to sleep, I make sure that I am well groomed and am sporting my best smile; for, if i were to wake up dead, I would still want to look good!
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Old 18th November 2022, 18:45   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
Stay away from LinkedIn.
Include Facebook/ Instagram etc. too. What other people do/ achieve is not applicable to me, but these platforms dump all that garbage on my wall, designed to make me feel I have not done enough, and need to "keep up". It aggravates the problem which is now just a browser away.

Nowadays my LinkedIn wall is filled with AWS/ Kubernetes/ Data Science "certificates". If it is important to somebody, sure do it. But I did not ask about it, so why dump it the moment I login? Same thing applicable to people from academia. I am not interested in the paper they recently published, because it is not relevant to me. So put it up on the department notice board instead?

We should be competitive and do our current work as efficiently as possible; that has a separate level of satisfaction. Trying out new technologies, just so see how they work, even if they are not directly relevant to the current job, are often refreshing and provide new ways to a solution which otherwise may not have occurred. Similarly, if possible we should travel to places, to see and feel different perspectives. But reading up about blockchain because all tech magazines and my peers say it is the next big thing, or going to Europe because your vacation photos will then say that you have "arrived", are all side effects of social network that we should avoid.

At this stage, I am not sure how much a new degree will help unless you are willing to pivot and start new. As long as you are willing to learn and unlearn (the latter is important too), that is good enough. Remember, growth in career should first be perceivable by you, not others looking at your LinkedIn profile. You should be able to measure your skillset and efficiency, and if that is better than last year or two, you are growing.

If possible try to get into a position where experience cannot be shorted by a degree (though it is easier said than done, but not impossible either). A less competitive company with a marginally lower salary can also be an option, if it offers better job security. Early retirement at high salary with no life outside work till that, is not better than retirement at superannuation with lower salary but comparable total income over the years. Your health will thank you.

Do not think too much about that retirement corpus either (more than half of your list is exactly that). You cannot fully solve all the unknowns. The only thing in our hands is to find a comfort zone in lifestyle that matches our income, and avoid spending where unnecessary.

Life is much more than the day job, but if you have spare time but not necessarily interested in anything particular, you can just spend that time on things related to your job. Attend a conference, write a blog, read up about your competition.

Finally, thinking of mid-life as a "crisis" already puts you in backfoot. It is a overhyped jargon. Do not let age come in the way when it does not have to. (Of course, stay away from unhealthy food/ lifestyle that you could do with 20 years ago).
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Old 18th November 2022, 18:46   #11
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Default re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

These rules worked taking me past half-century. I am no Guru, nor super sorted. I have my headaches sometimes but mostly am a cheerful, easy to get along with human Labrador of a person. Perhaps they will work for you . . .

1. Solve your money worries. A solution that relies excessively on increasing income will lead to higher stress and lesser free time. Look deeply at controlling expenses and avoidable “lifestyle inflation”. Reduce instances of eating out and ordering takeout. Ideally look at saving 40% of your income by taking better care of the stuff you already own to make it last longer.

2. Use the help of a recommended investment advisor to plan out your finances. Avoid all forms of debt except the most unavoidable of expenses.

3. Owning a home does not make financial sense. However, having at least one house of your home, no matter how humble, is a good idea from a peace of mind point of view.

4. Provide for your family from the main earning member’s untimely demise with a Term Plan Life Insurance policy for 7 to 10 times your annual income.

5. Medical policy for all family members and a comprehensive annual health check up for everyone above 30 years of age.

6. Physically taxing hard work makes for restful sleep. If your work does not physically tire you out add elements like taking stairs, parking the vehicle far away, standing and working, prefer to walk up to colleagues desks in office instead of using the desktop intercom. These habits make for restful sleep at night when the worries intervene. A hot bath, a cup of milk, music, meditation or simply writing down whatever is bugging you helps too.

7. Max out your holidays. Barring a few days “in pocket” for emergencies and unforeseen illnesses, ensure that you use your holidays.

8. Maniacally seek simplicity – in food, lifestyle, financial matters, relationships. Simpler every facet of life is, less complex the business of life becomes.

9. Help wherever and whoever you can without expectations. The helping heals you more than it affects the person you help.

10. Do much more of whatever you enjoyed doing as a younger person provided it has no negative impact on health, finances or relationships.

11. Do not do anything in excess or too fast. Try not to start any pursuit that you did not do as a young person. Many of those who suddenly start running long distances only on weekends at the age of 50 wind up dead on a treadmill.

12. Career, position, security and money are bottomless pits. People rarely have enough of these. Do not chase the “Golden Deer”.

13. Do not buy stuff with money you don’t have to impress people who don’t care.

14. Call up people, wish people, go meet people, say Thank You and Please even to the worst curmudgeons. Especially to the worst curmudgeons. Talk a lot to people, even to strangers. People who bottle stuff up are the ones populating looney bins.

15.Be a nice, reasonable person ... Life can be more difficult that way but you sleep better and have way better digestion!

16. Schedule down time. Doing absolutely nothing heals.

17. Don't stay low for long - baths, walks, music, food, friends and if all fails ice-cream. A Labrador is usually always happy and being a human Labrador is the image to aim for!

Hope this helps

Last edited by Sheel : 18th November 2022 at 21:01. Reason: Spaced out the post for better readability & visibility. Thanks.
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Old 18th November 2022, 19:38   #12
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Default Re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
I have done a lot of reflection on how one lands up in this sort of situation. I can say fairly confidently that it is a result of:
  1. Overthinking
  2. Putting a low worth on what you are currently doing.
Exactly!
Being grateful is a key ingredient of happiness in life. The above two just destroy it. Most content people I know are immensely grateful to themselves and others.

But obviously we all are mere mortals and cannot be in an eternal state of gratitude. You need to be somewhat unsatisfied for progressing in any field of life - whether it be financial, behavioural, spiritual, educational, etc etc.
But we typically tend to amplify this dis-satisfaction creating a crisis out of it.

The only practical advice I can give to the OP - This is a phase. Just try to surround yourself with people you trust. Use them as sounding board with all the funky ideas that might come to your mind - Buying a big bike, car, going to the Himalayas, taking financial risks to retire early and what not. Once again, this is a phase and shall pass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
In my case, I started 2 businesses at 40 and both tanked. I have now settled into a life of writing. I make no money out of it and doesn't look like I will in the near future.
Seems the day is not far where you will be able to monetise this flair of writing!

Last edited by warrioraks : 18th November 2022 at 19:41.
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Old 18th November 2022, 20:49   #13
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Default Re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

Being a Team-BHP member is the final (and perhaps the only) cure for automotive enthusiasts undergoing their midlife crisis, whichever profession they may be in. As I said many years ago (newbie onboard and waiting to take off)...
Quote:
Midlife crisis, eh? Team-BHP will soon take care of that collectively!
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Old 21st November 2022, 13:17   #14
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Default Re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

A very apt thread.

The biggest asset for us is not real estate or cars or bank balances. Its the HEALTH.

Without good health, one cannot enjoy anything else.

So, irrespective of age focus on maintaining good health. Also, don't fall for the media frenzy of reducing weight or getting six packs abs or size zero.

Tn stead focus on:
  • Building Strength (of muscles),
  • Building Stamina (overall),
  • Maintaining Flexibility (of muscles and Joints)
Ask, few questions to yourself:
  • Can you climb 2-3 flights of stairs without getting exhausted
  • Can you touch your toes without bending knees or sit cross legged
  • Are you able to carry and load those heavy luggage yourself for that road trip.
Focusing on Strength/Stamina/Flexibility will require a very disciplined lifestyle. This lifestyle will beat any mid life crisis and related depressing thoughts.

A wise men say - Life is like driving/riding:
  • There will be people slower than you,
  • there will be faster then you,
  • there will be people overtaking you and being overtaken by you,
  • there will be people causing you to slow down,
  • there will be cutting your lane.
Despite all this tHe drive and life still goes on.
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Old 21st November 2022, 13:23   #15
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Default Re: The Midlife Crisis Thread

All fair questions and if am honest, these trouble me more than I’d like to admit. But as another member said : This too shall pass.

I enjoy reading some management literature / books and admire articles by Peter Drucker. Not because they are intellectually ground breaking but in the ‘matter of fact’ way he puts things across. A few excerpts.

1. Get a hobby by the time you are 40. Individual careers peak around 45 yrs of age and not much more learning is needed , which leads to boredom or questions like posted by OP. These hobbies develop into responsibilities which elevate one’s sense of self worth. For example, If you like to teach, start slow before 40 and by the time you are 50, opportunities open up which provide a second outlet for your time. This may be more exciting than your regular job as you learn more. To be honest I am 39 and still trying to find my ‘hobby’.

2. Your job is a part of your life and not your whole life. Treat is as such and don’t tie your purpose of living or self worth to your job. ( don’t be too inspired by fountainhead , maintain perspective and balance).

I have found articles by Peter Drucker help me out things in perspective. Try googling to see if they help you as well.
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