According to the NHS 'the male midlife crisis is often made fun of, but for many men it is a distressing experience. A male midlife crisis can happen when men think they've reached life's halfway stage. Anxieties over what they've accomplished so far, either in their job or personal life, can cause a period of depression. In men, this usually happens between the ages of 35 and 50, and can last for up to 10 years'.
The term ‘midlife crisis’ was coined by Psychoanalyst Dr Elliott Jaques in 1965. His test group was made up of 310 painters, composers, poets, writers and sculptors. It was his belief that only geniuses have midlife crises; he thought he detected a tendency for their lives and work to undergo an abrupt change of direction around the age of 37.
One recent study by the US National Institute of Ageing followed a group of men and found that those who suffered a midlife crisis tended to also have crises at other times in their life, suggesting that it may be the person rather than the time of life that’s to blame.
A ‘quarter-life crisis’ has been reported by people who leave university and have to move back in with Mum and Dad.
It dawned on him gradually that he had entered middle-age without ever being young, and that he was, in the nicest possible way, ‘on the shelf’.
It seems even the great apes go through a midlife crisis. Dr Alexander Weiss of the University of Edinburgh studied more than 500 Chimpanzees and Orang-utans from around the world, assessing them for ‘mood’ and ‘health’. He reported that great apes go through the same kind of U-shaped curve of well-being and happiness as humans; high in youth, low in midlife and then rising again in old age. How their midlife crisis might manifest itself was not part of the study, but Dr Weiss has suggested ‘mating with more females or gaining access to more resources’.
Chimps have their crises at about 28, orang-utans at 35.
‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ was first observed in elephants. It is associated with a seasonal drop in testosterone levels and is now speculatively applied to humans during the male menopause (andropause)... if, indeed, that exists.
Henry VIII was 35 when he chose to break with Rome, partly inspired by an affair with a younger woman.
Both Jesus and the Buddha led unremarkable lives until they turned 30.
Muhammad didn’t start preaching until he was 43.