midlife crisis(redirected from a midlife crisis)
A period in or near middle age in which one experiences profound doubt, anxiety, dissatisfaction, despondency, etc., regarding one's decisions or position in life. People, especially men, are commonly portrayed responding to this phenomenon by making drastic or extravagant changes or purchases in an attempt to bring novelty or excitement to their lives. A: "Did you see the new sports car Tom bought?" B: "Yeah, he must be going through a midlife crisis." After 20 years stuck in the same job and the same routine at home, I feel like I'm having a midlife crisis. Maybe I'll sell my possessions and move to Japan!
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A time of psychological anxiety that some individuals experience during their middle years. It can affect both men and women. In men, it sometimes takes the form of buying an expensive sports car or other equipment that emphasizes their youthfulness or fantasizing about beautiful young girls. Women may go on crash diets or undergo plastic surgery to regain a more youthful appearance. When the author’s son-in-law turned fifty, his wife reported that his midlife crisis involved looking for a bigger and better house, an unrealistic choice since their children were already enrolled in local schools. The term has also been transferred to institutions, countries, almost anything. An article by Russell Garland had, “Venture capital is having a midlife crisis. . . . The venture community in Silicon Valley is showing signs of middle age, moving more slowly and cautiously than before. . . .” (Wall Street Journal blog, July 23, 2010).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer