A little introspection and analysis to mark the new year, and my own belly-on-cardboard-on-the-grassy-hillside slide to forty.
Today I've a feature in the Sydney Morning Herald's 'News Review' weekend lift-out, 'Crisis and the Cure'. It's on the so-called 'midlife crisis'.
It began with research into Relate's findings of an early midlife crisis, and then broadened: Is there such a thing as a midlife crisis at all? And if so, what causes it, and what can be done about it? A sample:
In the journal Gerontology, they report no evidence for a pervasive, distinctive middle-age malaise. Instead, middle-aged adults are simply more likely to review their accomplishments, with a new awareness of mortality.
This squares with Sara's experience. "I am feeling the weight of my decisions differently," she says, "and lots of things are irreversible."
Freund and Ritter suggest this isn't a disaster. "Even if this process does not lead to a crisis," they write, "it poses a developmental challenge that needs to be mastered."
Put simply, at some point in our adult life, the scales often fall away. The past seems heavier, the future less open - we have fewer days, less energy. We recognise our failings and delusions. This awareness can be crushing or motivating - the trick is to make the most of it.This message is particularly poignant for me - this time last year Ruth was still in Emergency. Happy new year folks. I hope it's a great one.
(Image: SMH/Rocco Fazzari)