One of the ways and reasons to embrace the death of dreams is to dream new dreams. The Sunday Times Magazine article by Matt Rudd “Why Didn’t I Just Buy a Porsche” (paywalled) examines an increasingly popular mid-life catharsis – extreme racing.

  • That’s the problem with middle age: you stop getting new boxes to tick. Day in, day out, it’s the same boxes. You can’t just change to a different box, not unless you are one of those cavalier types who enjoys reading leadership books and still wears jeans at your age. For normal people, middle age is a time of growing inelasticity. Age five, you could be anything like astronaut, fireman, town planning advisor, absolutely anything. Age 18, you’re going to be whatever the career planning advisors didn’t advise. Age 28, you have a job, a specific job, but you could still change. You could change whenever you like. And then, quicker than you were expecting, you’re middle aged, you have love for richer, for pooer, of your entire life. You have dependants. You have responsibilities, you have insurmountable debts, you have no new boxes.”

He talks about how crises appear at all times in one’s life. The “quarter-life crisis” (“must jump back out of adulthood temporarily and go back into an adolescent exploratory period”), or the “later life crisis” – (“sixtysomethings”). But they all seem to less acute that the classic afternoon of “midlife” which echoes the observations of India Knight….

  • There is no particular point where you are more likely to have one, although midlife crisis has an archetypal resonance because it has that sense of passing over the brow of the hill…Not the morning, when anything is possible. Not the evening, when you can relax and coast towards Horlicks and bedtime. The afternoon is when it’s too late for fresh ideas and too early to put your feet up.”