Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Midlife Crisis

An interesting article I have read not that long ago makes an interesting claim. While most men in and around their forties go through what is known as a midlife crisis, the article claims some men are exempt. It claims men who are engaged with women significantly younger than they are - as in, women in their twenties - do not show midlife crisis symptoms.
The explanation the article offers for this phenomenon is based on evolutionary psychology. Men going through a midlife crisis are men who are trying to make themselves attractive for a new mate. They're behaving as if they've made the most of their current mate and are on the lookout to find a new one that might help them spread their genes. Those who are already engaged with fertile women have no reason to pursue a similar course of action.
The point the article was trying to make is that men's midlife crisis is a reaction to their partner's recent infertility. The reason why midlife crises are so popular with the general population of men would be quite trivial if the theory is correct: Those that do go through it will have a better chance of leaving more offspring behind, so all you need to do is give it enough generations to profligate, shake the mixture a bit, and you have yourself a population full of midlife crisis victims.

This post really has nothing to do with midlife crises, at least not in the conventional sort of way. It's just that I'm so bored at work lately and that the assignments on my desk are so unattractive that my mind wonders everywhere but work. Lately, my sport has been to try and conjure ideas for a potential career change. Blame Jo for it, really: She was saying that it must be interesting to work as a travel agent, reminding me that I'm actually a qualified travel agent (a residue of my airline days) and how much travel can set fire to my imagination. I was thinking of a post sharing these thoughts with you and suspected such a post would result in certain friends labeling the experience a midlife crisis; hence the above unrelated story.
The problem is that working as a travel agent is not that great an idea when you think about it a tiny bit more. For a start, you'll be spending most of your time dealing with demanding idiots on the lookout for the cheapest deal possible, people such as yours truly. Second, pay will probably suck. And third, you'd have to work weekends, which is a bit of a problem given that childcare doesn't do weekends and given that weekends are the only days all three of us can spend our days together. Back in Israel there was a period in which I was looking to work in travel, and I remember one of the people interviewing me telling me that with my skills I would be an idiot to work as a travel agent; things are different in Australia, though, where my skills are greatly unappreciated. There is no genuine R&D done in Australia, hence my boredom.
There are other things I enjoy doing other than travel. There's photography, there's writing, there's hi fi, and there's messing around with computers, to name the top contenders. However, I really can't see any course of action that is safe enough for me to let go of my current work in order to try a new adventure. Besides, let's be frank: I enjoy photography but I'm not that skilled, especially in post processing, and I lack professional equipment; besides, what will I shoot for a living? Babies at a studio? Weddings? I'd rather puke.
The same goes with writing. In this era of the blog, every schmuck can write (and this blog's proof); I'm not particularly skilled in the art, and other than writing about myself or the movies I watch I lack in subjects that would appeal to the masses.
Hi fi is something I do understand in but can only find a job as a shop salesman, and computing is something I genuinely like but lack the skills to sell myself with. That is, unless having someone to teach you how to use the internet could sell (I should sell my services to my own family!) or unless you're in need of someone to help you with choosing a motherboard or helping you choose the best anti virus. People just won't pay for that.
I think being made redundant would be my only hope of redemption.

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