How to Rock Your Mid-Life Crisis

by Steve Stevenson

If there’s one thing that’s great about being a guy, it’s our apparent innate inability to come to terms with our own unavoidable death. Seriously, it’s awesome! Not only do we get to blunder through adolescence doing things that would leave the most reckless of monkeys shaking his monkey head in disbelief, but if we go through all that and live to middle age, we then get to flip out that we might not live forever!

We speak of course of the noble tradition of the midlife crises, and if the movies are to be believed (and we honestly can’t see why citing movies as fact would be any kind of problem) then we have a whole host of humorous stereotypical shenanigans to look forward to.

But wait, dagnabbit! Are we not the internet generation? Did we not grow amidst a world of fantastical technological and social change the likes of which would have baffled our poor, steam-powered ancestors? If we’re going to face our rapid and inevitable decent into a poorly executed second adolescence, then shouldn’t we be doing it much, much harder than our forefathers?

Hold our hands in a entirely platonic way, fellow Man Cavers, as we teach you how to amp up your midlife crises into a midlife catastrophe!

Symptom: You Buy A Stupid Car

It’s a common life-trope; by the time you’re old enough and secure enough to be able to afford a truly awesome car, you’re too old to drive it without looking like a jerk. There’s just something innately pathetic about a man revving the engine of the slickest, most red and shiny fun-mobile he can get his wallet on, and insisting on driving with the top down so everybody can hear his earnest but misguided definition of popular music whilst his comb-over flaps merrily in the breeze. Nothing says, “I was young once, but I can’t really remember how to do it properly” than an aging man driving a teenager’s car.

Amp It Up!

If you really remembered what it was to be young, you’d be driving one of these babies. Sure it might not get particularly good mileage, but you stopped caring about that when you busted out your high-school leather jacket. Don’t live the fantasy of what an old man thinks a young man would like to drive, just buy a freaking mech robot. You’ve got bags of insurance and you’ve already made up your mind to look silly, so why not instill some fear and wonder in your neighbors while you’re at it?

“There goes Bill in his robot car,” they’ll say. “God help us all.”

Symptom: You Start Going To Music Festivals Again

Quiet is the new loud!

Quiet is the new loud!

So what if you’ve been stuck behind a desk for a quarter century- you can still shake it up when you need to! Why not prove you can still rock with the best of them by suddenly deciding that going to a youth-orientated music festival is a good idea? You’ll be the cool old guy that people will respect for his musical wisdom and years of accumulated party-down experience. You will have a single beer and will want to leave early to avoid heavy traffic. When you get home, you wont be able to hear anything properly for days.

Amp It Up!

Why attend music festivals when you can headline them? At the time of writing, the album charts are crammed full of musicians who should by rights be dead by now- and they’re still playing sellout concert dates! Mick Jagger still prances about on stage even though it looks like somebody stole most of his bones! If this trend continues, along with the advances in medical technology, then you still have time to learn an instrument, start a band, and be the headline act at your own reunion tour! Don’t expect your groupies to be anything other than enthused octogenarians though, you live in an aging population and thems the breaks.

Symptom: You Suddenly Decide to Get A Tattoo

That's not a vest it's another tattoo.

That’s not a vest it’s another tattoo.

You’ve lived your whole life without the need to get a tattoo. Maybe you just don’t like the look of them, maybe you don’t like needles, or maybe you just couldn’t decide which Smurf best depicted your personality type. Well doubt is for those who aren’t nearly dead, bucko, so it’s time to get a big ol’ dragon wizard tattooed right across your shoulders. Take that mortality!

Amp It Up!

Do you really expect to recapture your youth with just one tattoo? No, to truly turn back the clock you need to get all the tattoos. All of them. Don’t stop until you’re head to toe in ying-yangs, swallows and heavily-seriffed fonts. Now when people see you walk down the street they won’t think “Hey, look at that middle aged guy with the tattoo,” they’ll think “Aieee! It is the Wikipedia entry for Terrible Decisions become flesh! Flee!” And that’s better, right?

Symptom: Extramarital Affairs

"I just think we should start seeing other realities..."

“I just think we should start seeing other realities…”

You’re not sure why, but you’re fairly certain that everything that’s wrong with the way you’re feeling right now can be solved by cheating on your wife. So why not find a likewise terrified-of-the-endless-black work colleague and shack-up in some awful motel room so that you can pretend that shame is the same flavour as excitement?

Amp It Up!

Regular affairs are for squares- why only cheat on your wife when you can cheat on your entire life? Simply sign yourself away to one of the endless second-life style MMORPGs and you can spend the rest of your days working at your brand new space-office job and being married to your brand new space-wife, who may or may not be some other depressed forty year old dude.*

*feel free to replace the word “space” with “paladin” or “cat person”


Okay, okay, so maybe a bleak depression caused by your frustration at the perceived futility of your existence isn’t that funny. And maybe that ol’ Buddhist proverb that death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely isn’t much of a comfort if you feel your life has been full of questionable definitions of wisdom. So if you think you’re on the verge of a midlife crises then take heart, and remember that the world belongs to you just as much as it always did, and, in the words of Bill Cosby, the past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now.

Or buy a motorcycle. That’s awesome.

Not every man earns tiger-skin boxing gloves. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Not every man earns tiger-skin boxing gloves.

Steve Stevenson is a writer of stuff and things, and you can read his books, his Maxim articles or follow him on Twitter. If you like.

"Vote Mike Haggar! He'll suplex the crap out of crime!"

“Vote Mike Haggar! He’ll suplex the crap out of crime!”

More from Steve Wetherell

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