Just get ready,” a colleague whispered to me during a birthday party at work. “40 is great. 41 is … Well, you’ll see.”
I brushed it off with a laugh. Turning 40 struck me as an accomplishment. Four decades appeared to be the perfect age—old enough not to be foolish and young enough to still have energy and ideas and a career that seems upwardly mobile. Whenever I read the profiles of young leaders, they seem to be in their 40s. Right?
I’d always dismissed the idea of a midlife crisis—guys snapping and buying a Mustang, leaving their families, and starting over—as some cliché, hedonistic act of selfishness. I still think these decisions are foolish, but I no longer doubt the pathos that descends upon many of us when we hit midlife.