Two days ago, I was at a Timberland store trying out one of their new foldable and zippable slip-on shoes that you can wear without socks. One young salesman (and they really have nice people) knew exactly which buttons to push in a 47-years old man…he told me when I was trying them out that people around me would be very impressed. I laughed and told him that I was way past wanting to impress anyone…but I landed up buying the shoes anyway.
He had touched the right nerve. The older people get, the more they want to look good and “hot”. While clothes help, beauty parlors and gyms also make a difference. Why is it that a good number of people in a gym on any given day are in their mid-40s or 50s? Why is that the 40Plus Marathoners group on Facebook has more than 100 members?
The mid-40s are a complex time. We are well off financially and socially and most of the times emotionally as well, but we are aging at the same time. While we still want our bodies to function the way they did when we were in our 20s, the joints have started creaking. And so we try to cling to these memories of our nimble youth and try hard to continue to make ourselves a shade more “desirable”.
But what happens when you already are and have been the most desirable man in the country! And young studs slowly but surely have started upstaging you! I cannot imagine myself in those shoes (Timberland or otherwise), but it must hurt! And when that happens, when one can see that soon there is a real chance of becoming irrelevant and when a few films don’t really do as well as expected, it must lead to a certain change in temper and disposition. Unfortunately, what in Mr. Rajesh Khanna’s days would have remained behind close doors or at the most would have come out in next month’s copy of Stardust now becomes instant knowledge world-over.
Not too many professions allow people to be more useful and important as they age. The more grey hair a doctor has, the more experience he/she usually has and the more patients go to him/her. The same usually goes for lawyers, teachers and personal accountants. But if you are an investment banker or an alpha male in the race to become CEO, you have a short-lived life with young blood constantly baying at your feet, waiting for that one misstep that will have you out soon. And if you don’t make CEO by your late 40s or early 50s, you will be forced to “retire” soon thereafter. In the entertainment industry it gets worse, especially if you are a “hero” used to constant adulation.
Why just men! What else is it but a mid-life crisis, when the fame and adulation during a couple of reality shows continue to be so addictive that you leave the country where you have resided for more than 10 years and come back in your mid-40s to become a heroine again?
Most of us deal with our mid-life crises by doing “third” things apart from our work and home-related stuff. Running, writing, teaching, traveling…things that allow us to get through to our 50s and 60s easily and gracefully. But when you don’t have a “third” thing or your fame doesn’t allow you the freedom to explore other avenues or your “other” ventures don’t work out…how do you deal with a mid-life crisis?
You burst and curse and have a meltdown!