39: Prime Time for a Midlife Crisis?

Leonardo DiCaprio at 39 (Source: GQ with some digital liberties taken by yours truly)

Leonardo DiCaprio at 39 (Source: GQ with some digital liberties taken by yours truly)

Debate proliferates about when exactly to “prime time for a midlife crisis” begins. Thirty five? Forty? Forty five? Fifty? Fifty five?

I remember my mother dismissing my precocious self-references to midlife when I turned 39. That was back at the beginning of this journey, back when I was still feeling a perplexed, sideswiped, and maybe even slightly pissed off about the aging hiccup. It was surprising to me at the time when my mother quickly, categorically dismissed my comments.

“You’re too young for midlife,” she said. I knew she actually meant, “I can’t believe you’re almost forty,” and “Midlife crises are for other people, not you, son…”

Fortunately she was more or less right about the midlife crisis. But I was almost forty. And then I was exactly forty. And so on… I definitely was in the throes, albeit the early throes, of a midlife transition.

Prime Time for a Midlife Crisis

Stuart McGurk took a poke at what constitutes prime time for a midlife crisis back on September 26, 2014 when he posted a send up of Leonardo DiCaprio’s goatee, pony tail, etc. A fluff piece by any estimation, but it resonated because of the magic number thirty nine which obsessed me a couple of years back.

Here’s the rub: the coolest film star on the planet may be having what can only be described as some sort of weird mid-life crisis (he’s now 39 – prime mid-life crisis territory). And yet, he’s still cool… that beard doesn’t belong to someone who collects Golden Globes, it belongs to someone who collects empties and wheels them around in a shopping trolley. And… literally the only men who have sported ponytails in the last three decades are generally seen wearing polonecks in Bruce Willis films and hacking computer systems while speaking in a German accent. But he pulls it off. In fact, everything about his mid-life crisis goes through a Leonardo DiCaprio reality distortion field… he even makes vaping look cool. That was thought to be impossible. Of course, yes, it could just be that confidence is all. That if you walk like nothing is on your back, the irony is you can carry anything. That charisma, ultimately, is everything. God-damn him. (Source: GQ)

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