I find myself wondering sometimes about what must go through peoples heads on a day to day basis when they are dealing with themselves and reflecting on who they are. It is often true that at some point or another, just about anyone will go through some sort of self reflection phase, looking back at actions and outcomes that have occurred, and what life would look like if certain events or plans had gone differently. This is often what leads people to buying themselves a Porsche or Corvette at the age of 40 thinking it will be the miracle cure that will change things, when in reality it is their way to distract their own minds from remembering the amount of poor choices they’ve made. It is after all called a mid-life crisis, and not the celebration of a new sport car.
So if we call that a mid life crisis, what happens this entire 1st half that leads to this event and is there truly no way to prevent it? Are we all doomed to go through a mid life crisis? More importantly, why are mid life crisis associated with entry level garbage sports cars instead of Ferrari and Lamborghini purchases which primarily occur by men in that same age group?
I think we can clearly say that the reason people get to this so called “mid life crisis’ is heavily due to their own expectations of the world but more importantly expectations of themselves which as you imagined, must have been pretty low which resulted in a life lived reactive to their environment.
I was at dinner the other night in what you would call a 4 star priced restaurant and looked around me for about 15 minutes before an actual waiter approached and started his job. He had no idea why he worked there, hadn’t shaved in 3 days, spoke like he never finished middle school, and dressed like he had shopped at Kmart. He took our drink orders and walked away, without creating any type of interaction or pleasant connection. I analyzed the situation and chose to let it go, as I felt he might be having a bad day. 20 minutes later he still wasn’t back and I grabbed a different waiter losing my cool a bit and asked very rudely where that idiot went. I shocked the table and those around me as my voice got louder and tone got more serious. Someone in my party said “Was that really necessary?” and I said “We are about to find out” and magically came a new more professional waiter with much better table manners who made the rest of the night more enjoyable for me.
Take a moment and analyze the situation above and how you would have reacted, as I am pretty sure at some point or another you will go through that or have already experienced a similar situation.
The first point is the waiter, who despite working in a 4 star restaurant, made no attempt to create a great atmosphere for his clients and none the less did not portray the image that the restaurant owner must want his clients to see. As someone whose income relies on people’s generosity and assessment of one’s skills, why would you not make an effort to earn more by doing a good job during the same amount of time you chose to be there (I am pretty sure he constantly complains of not making enough) without mentioning the types of individuals you can meet that can potentially like you and see you to be a fit in their organization (opportunities missed).
The second issue here is the manager who despite knowing what his employee looked like that day, made no attempt to change the outcome of the evening by controlling the situation. Instead he allowed mediocre behavior to start and end on his watch without intervention. The same manager also is responsible for allowing a waiter who is not trained properly to engage with his clients costing him more clients and hurting his brand which ultimately costs him more than he can afford to not make (I am sure he also complains of not making enough). Knowing what the expectations are of him, and what his expectations are of his employees, he allowed a mediocre circumstance from taking place despite being fully in control of the situation.
The third issue is actually not with the restaurant but rather someone in my own party asking “Was that necessary?” and unfortunately the answer is YES, it is very much necessary for us to have expectations, and control our environment to make our expectations come to reality. You are either a by-product of your environment or in control of your outcomes and despite perhaps seeing no relation between a dinner and a mid life crisis, I urge you to take a second look and rethink your point of view. I, as an individual, walked in a 4 star restaurant with a $40 per plate price, I paid $20 to park up front, and waited 10 min despite having reservations. I expect a dinner without headaches and I expect that what I pay for, will allow me to enjoy my food rather than worry about my party having a good time. I expect the waiter to pay attention to every detail and the manager to be fully aware of what is going on to be pro active, but more importantly I expect myself to quickly fix the situation rather than wait for the evening to be over and find out that it was a waste of my time. Why else would you go to a 4 star restaurant? Why else would you spend good money on food but for the service, atmosphere, and quality? So when my expectations are not met, I control my environment and allow nothing to stop me from getting what I want from the beginning rather than waiting for the situation to worsen past my tolerance for fixing it.
The individual at my table was afraid of how that other person who wasn’t responsible got yelled at, and it wasn’t fair to them as they weren’t even our waiter, but the truth is despite being unpleasant, the situation was fixed and the message was heard, perhaps damaging for that waiter but more importantly causing the desired outcome. Life is never fair, life is never even and balanced, life is only what you make of it, and how you make sure that all the expectations you have for yourself and those around you are constantly met with your very own standard of living.
When you think of those with mid life crisis, you ask yourself “how many times have they been disappointed and yet said nothing?” and also “how many times did they make the wrong choice and decided to just let it go, instead of fixing it?” Those individuals have mid life crisis because they haven’t lived a life they wanted but rather a life that they believe was given to them instead which is highly untrue. The life they lived is exactly the one they chose but they simply never accepted it as their choice. I asked earlier why Lambo and Ferrari owners are not looked at as having a mid life crisis when they are the same age and also are buying a toy. Simply because they can do something that not many can, and therefore that level of purchase is looked at by society as a mark of success and not a mark of settlement for something you don’t want but feel you must do to forget.
So now all you have to do is ask yourself if you are prepared to make the choices other won’t and make sure nothing comes between you and your expectations of yourself.