The Actual Meaning of a ‘Midlife Crisis’

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

I just celebrated another trip around the sun, and based on my year of birth, I am still clinging to the age range where people like to ask you if you’re experiencing a “midlife crisis.” Fortunately, nobody that actually knows me has asked me this because they know better.


You see, usually people’s intention with this comment is pejorative, one aimed at a subtle and passive-aggressive criticism of another for the very real feelings of self-assessment and desire for peak experiences in what’s left of one’s life.

The standard bromide here is that if a man (and it’s almost always a man who’s scolded with this pejorative) wants to experience some actual fun in life, either through buying a motorcycle or a McLaren or entering into an exciting, new loving relationship with someone who sees his value, that he has somehow regressed into a state of lost and willful adolescence.

Well, to anyone out there who criticizes or critiques or otherwise derides another with the comment, “he’s just going through a midlife crisis,” my response is — why are you criticizing another for wanting to experience life to the fullest?


Why is your conception of what a middle-aged man “should” do of any relevance to the way that middle-aged man chooses to live his life?

What I have found to be the case is that those who sling arrows at others for how they choose to live their lives are often those who need that arrow aimed directly at themselves. “Misery loves company” is the adage that comes to mind here, because all too often, the “he’s just going through a midlife crisis” critique comes from a place of latent and/or explicit jealousy over someone choosing to experience life on their own terms.

Exclusive  Seeking Extreme Income in a Rising Rate Market

The philosophic underpinnings that give rise to this sentiment are easy to identify. The ethics so prevalent and so ingrained in the culture for thousands of years are those of self-sacrifice, suffering, duty and the so-called “moral good” of living your life in the service of others. Your life is transient, and doesn’t really matter, so say these ethics. What really matters is your service to others, to the group, to society and to the collective.

Yet, ask yourself this: Why doesn’t your life matter just as much as anyone else’s life?

Isn’t your life the only one you can live? Moreover, don’t you have the right to be happy? Or is your happiness somehow a source of moral turpitude?

According to my ethics, the ethics of rational egoism and rational self-interest, you have the right to your own life, and your own achievement and your own pursuit of your own happiness. You don’t have the right to sacrifice others to your cause, nor do you have the duty to sacrifice your happiness to others.

The chief exponent of this philosophic view is novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand. In her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged,” the protagonist, John Galt, puts this theory of ethics in brilliantly succinct and powerful form during the climatic speech scene:

“A morality that dares to tell you to find happiness in the renunciation of your happiness — to value the failure of your values — is an insolent negation of morality. A doctrine that gives you, as an ideal, the role of a sacrificial animal seeking slaughter on the altars of others, is giving you death as your standard. By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man — every man — is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.”

Indeed, one of Rand’s most-brilliant contributions to intellectual history is this defense of one’s pursuit of one’s own moral happiness and rational self-interest. And because this view challenges thousands of years of conventional morality so deeply ingrained in us all, it’s both difficult and, at first, somewhat uncomfortable to consider.

Exclusive  The Cat and the Horror (2023)

Yet, when we do stop and really contemplate the idea of rational egoism, we realize that however difficult our struggles may seem, the pursuit of our own happiness is our highest moral purpose, whatever we deem that happiness to be — even if that happiness come to us in the form of a midlife motorcycle.


The Things We Lost

They say time is the cruelest trick of all
You’re riding high, next thing you know your back’s against the wall
You can’t take it with you when you go
And we’ve all gotta die someday
When it all turns to black, we’ll be left looking back
At all the things we lost along the way

— American Aquarium, “The Things We Lost Along the Way

As we grow ever more seasoned, the notion of “the things we lost along the way” builds up like the plaque in our arteries. Knowing the inevitable fate that befalls us, isn’t it incumbent upon us to live for the now? Doing so will allow us to create more beautiful memories that, eventually, we’ll all lose along the way.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

P.S. My Eagle colleagues will be hosting a free teleconference on Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. EST entitled “How to Turn $2k Into $10k in 90 Days.”The event is free, but you must register here to attend. Don’t miss out!

Exclusive  Mountains of Debt Need to Be Addressed

P.P.S. Come join me and my Eagle colleagues on an incredible cruise! We set sail on Dec. 4 for 16 days, enjoying a memorable journey that combines fascinating history, vibrant culture and picturesque scenery. Hear seminars on the days we are cruising from one destination to another, as well as dine with members of the Eagle team. Places we’ll visit include Mexico, Belize, Panama, Ecuador and more! Click here now for the details.

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

share on:

Like This Article?
Now Get Jim's FREE Special Report:
The Top 11 Dividend ETFs to
Buy Right Now

Get up to 5X the yields of traditional income plays.

Get Access to the Report, 100% FREE

share on:


Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Product Details

  • Forecasts & Strategies
  • Home Run Trader
  • Fast Money Alert
  • Five Star Trader
  • TNT Trader

Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays.

Product Details

  • Cash Machine
  • Premium Income PRO (exclusively for subscribers of Cash Machine)
  • Quick Income Trader
  • Breakout Options Alert
  • Hi-Tech Trader

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker,
financial journalist, and money manager. As well as a book author and regular contributor to
numerous investment websites, Jim is the editor of:

Product Details

  • Successful Investing
  • High Velocity Options
  • Intelligence Report
  • Bullseye Stock Trader
  • Eagle Eye Opener

Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details

  • Retirement Watch
  • Retirement Watch Spotlight Series
  • Lifetime Retirement Protection Program

Jon Johnson

Jon Johnson's philosophy in investing and trading is to take what the market gives you regardless if that is to the upside or downside. For the past 21 years, Jon has helped thousands of clients gain success in the financial markets through his newsletters and education services:

Product Details

  • Investment House Daily
  • Stock of the Week
  • Technical Traders Alert
  • Rapid Profits Stock Trader

Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research.

Product Details

Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.

  • Dividend Investor

George Gilder

George Gilder is the most knowledgeable man in America when it comes to the future of technology and its impact on our lives.  He’s an established investor, bestselling author, and economist with an uncanny ability to foresee how new breakthroughs will play out, years in advance.

Product Details

  • Technology Report
  • Technology Report PRO
  • Moonshots
  • Private Reserve
  • Millionaire Circle


DayTradeSPY was founded by head trader Hugh Grossman, a retired internal auditor for a Fortune 500 company. After years of first-hand experience trying out one trading strategy after another, Hugh instead developed his own trading system centered around day trading SPY options. That’s it... Nothing else.

Product Details

  • Trading Room
  • Pick of the Day
  • Inner Circle
  • Online Workshops