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Relate survey – ‘Mid-life crisis begins in 30s’

September 29, 2010

Marriage guidance counselling service Relate has published the findings of a recent survey run in conjunction with mobile phone and broadband provider Talk Talk. The headline? That the mid-life crisis probably starts in our thirties and not forties or fifties as previously commonly asserted.

Unsurprising in some respects, yet reassuring in others, it’s difficult to interpret the statistics as a wholehearted indictment on the rise of the Internet. The survey results don’t do that necessarily, but others will I’m sure.

Personal experience reminds me that my adult crisis of confidence came around seven to eight years ago. Several years after running away from arts management bemoaning the woefully low-pay and criminally long hours, the cash-cow of a career in IT support had long since lost it’s appeal. There was no creativity. I was lacking motivation. I needed a kick-start.

I quickly recognised my frustration. Four years of therapy followed during which I explored what it was interested in and experimented with a few alternatives.

It was a vital period of my life, the need of which is symptomatic of the pressure which teenagers, school leavers and graduates are unwittingly put under when they go through the education and are (if they’re successful) spat out the other end.

How is it teenagers are expected to have a firm idea of what career they want to pursue when they’re selecting their GCSE studies, or indeed their A Levels? Minds change. Abilities (or lack of) are quickly brought into focus. Priorities adapt. If there’s no time as a teenager or as an adult to pause, reflect and possibly reboot, then we’re only storing up trouble for the future.

If Relate’s survey results are indicative of the wider population – especially those in their thirties and forties – then some might consider it depressing news.

It’s not, of course. Get your mid-life crisis out of the way early and you’ve got all that extra time to live a different (possibly better?) life. In fact, maybe the survey just reminds us we all need to schedule it in.

The picture above was published by Flickr user SpecialKRB and is used in accordance with the Creative Commons License.

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