Sunday, December 17, 2017

My talk on Mid-life Crisis #1 : Defining the problem.

The next few articles will be about my 10 minute talk I gave last Friday.

People typically have a mid-life crisis around their mid-40s. One manifestation of this problem is the desire to feel young again. Some men would either do something drastic like divorce their spouses or blow up a huge chunk of their savings on something superfluous like a Ferrari.

Social scientists have tried to graphically depict a person's subjective happiness and this was the result of their work :


You can see that a person's happiness starts at a relatively high level in their 20s and it begins sloping downwards and reaches a trough at around 46 years of age.

As you move from your 20s to your 40s, the possibilities of  life becomes more and more limited as time goes by. Case in point, my classmates in Part B would all have a decent shot at becoming an equity partner of a Big 4 law firm. I, on the other hand, would need to be more realistic about my chances of going beyond a senior associate because I have fewer ahead of me. Another possible trigger of mid-life crisis is the spouse reaching menopause.

When I started this talk, a few friends who knew me better were giggling at me because they reasoned that I was immune to a mid-life crisis but I was giving a fairly academic treatment of it.  They probably thought I was trolling fellow 40 years olds or had no "skin in the game".

I had plenty of skin in the game.

Financial independence makes a mid-crisis solvable but it generally will not allow you to avoid it.

Law School is a manifestation of my personal mid-life crisis. The opportunity cost of 4 years of study plus school fees is about half a million dollars for me which is possibly more expensive than a Maserati. As I doubt it would result in any increase in future salary, I did it because I just wanted to convince myself that I can still compete in a tough academic environment with dudes almost half my age.

Next, I will discuss about various means to cope with a mid-life crisis.



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