I want a midlife crisis, but not if it means no meat


06.12.18 at 10:45 am

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This week I have been mostly worrying about my midlife crisis. Specifically: where is it?

I am 42 and have been reading about some of the telltale signs. This has only served to make me more anxious that it might not happen. Or worse: that I might have missed the (speed) boat altogether.

This recent study by Bupa Health Clinics found that turning 30, 40 or 50 pushes many people into crisis. For example:

  • almost a quarter (24%) of Brits sign up for a competitive event, such as a 10k run, marathon or Tough Mudder style event to mark a significant turning of age
  • 53% of us cut down on alcohol or give it up completely
  • 47% of us make a positive lifestyle change.

Dig a little deeper into the gender specific data and it shows around one in three men (31%) sign up for a competitive event. Good on them. But I am not sure that applies to cyclists and triathletes, does it?

If I’d hit 40 and put pen to paper on an Ironman having not swum since Speedos were in fashion the first time, then fair enough. But a recent spate of “applications to enter events” that are all fairly manageable is far from midlife crisis material.

How about this one, then? Six per cent of men are motivated to hit crisis point by the “need to get fitter to keep up with a younger partner”. My wife has a few years on me, a better marathon time and (if she does one) is likely to get the better of me at Ironman distance. But I haven’t signed up to a marathon or Ironman to lower those bars. Yet.

Which currently leaves me with: becoming a vegan. Apparently, a key indicator of hitting a “midlife turning point” is shunning meat, dairy and eggs. Almost one in five men (24%) hit a major birthday and think: I can still beat the wife in a foot race, and Tough Mudder sounds a bit 2014, so I’ll just give up most of the things I like eating instead.

Don’t get me wrong, I can flexitarian the f*** out of my diet with the very best of them – I probably eat meat once, at most twice, a week, and my policy is less, but better. I’ll admit that I am struggling to know what ‘better’ is because no-one has defined it yet – organic ticks most boxes from the evidence I’ve seen, but it can have higher greenhouse gas emissions (which means I don’t feel guilty about the odd sausage and bean melt from Greggs).I want a midlife crisis, but not if it means no meat - a knife slicing meat

However, having to eat vegan cheese wouldn’t just push me into a midlife crisis – I’d reach levels of depression that no amount of frivolous spending on Reiss blazers, Baume & Mercier watches, £35 haircuts, and tattoos (for me or my bike) could curb. Incidentally, the average spend on a midlife crisis is reportedly £2,106.

So, for those embarking on Veganuary next month, good luck and good on you, but I won’t be joining you in your midlife crises just yet. Which means mine will be further delayed. Unless I have already had it, that is.

I read some more studies and come across one reported by the Mail Online. I should supposedly be on the lookout for “a profound sense of turmoil and confusion as life may not have turned out as envisaged”. I have that every morning as I wonder how on earth it takes us 43 minutes to get out of the front door.

On the bright side, “this period of introspection doesn’t necessarily have to be negative – for some men middle age can in fact be positive, leading to more time spent with family, health kicks and getting back to once loved hobbies”. As it turns out, I have just reduced my hours to spend more time with the children (and hopefully exercise a little more). Perhaps I’d better start thinking about how to spend that £2,106 after all…

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