Do people really have midlife crises? The topic has been debated for years. And yet studies confirm that many people do get the blues during middle age. For men, a period of depression often comes between the ages of 35 and 50, and can last for up to a decade. Women, too, suffer midlife crises, but generally for only two to five years.
The traditional image of the Harley-mounted silver-haired man running off with a girlfriend half his age is -- more often than not -- anachronistic. Not every pathway through middle age is so dramatic. Rather, those traversing the midlife minefield seem much more likely to splash out on a luxury they never could afford during their younger years. Indeed one study showed that one-third of all middle-aged men admit to forking out big bucks on a new car.
We asked our Facebook fans what big midlife crisis purchases they've made, and received a wide range of responses. "We went to Italy for two weeks, a trip we'd been wanting to do for years. It was worth every penny!" said Huff/Post 50 blogger Sharon Hodor Greenthal. Check out seven other responses below. Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments section.
1. Home renovations.
"I'm going to treat myself to recycled glass countertops for my kitchen. It costs the Earth... but I want and deserve it!" "For once in my life, I'm going to live in a place where nothing is leaking, falling down or fading and every single appliance works exactly like it should." "I want to hire a decorator for the first time."
2. Flashy cars.
"Mustang convertible. Yeah, go ahead and judge. It was a 3/4 life awakening and not a crisis."
3. Improvements to appearance.
"I revisited my teen years and invested in Invisalign braces to wrangle in some snaggleteeth."
4. Dream vacations.
"I had a dream in January that I loaded my teenagers up in the van and we headed out to visit all 51 capitals in 51 days. On Saturday, my sister, my boys and I are starting the road trip of a lifetime in Salem, Oregon."
"Traveling to Australia in December. Using American Express 'points' for trip and hotels that my wife and I have collected since 2006."
"I had always wanted to get a tattoo so I did. It's a rose. I don't want anyone telling me I can't have one. This is a sign that I'm doing what I want to do."
6. Nice clothing.
"Alden boots. First pair of boots I have owned since about 1980. Then it was Timberland, now it's Alden."
"I've enrolled in a six-week cooking school. Never had time to do it before. After that, I might take up photography. I've been so busy but now it seems that, finally, I can take time for me."
Well, in this time of transition, amid the perfect storm of life challenges so many of us are facing -- an empty nest, aging parents, career doldrums, health issues, menopause -- why not?