Both The Economist and the Telegraph have articles this week on supposedly middle-aged males, in both Britain and the U.S., who feel "lost." Some have retreated into despair and commit suicide at a higher than average rate. Among their problems is the dicey economy which results in job loss without the ability to land on their feet in a comparable position.
Alongside these so-called lost souls are plenty of caveman types making millions on Wall Street and pulling off lucrative real estate deals. I write for them and they are totally focused on goals.
There are also the middle-aged males who have endured the dark night of the soul. But, unlike those portrayed in the Telegraph article, they know how to find support. I encounter them all the time in 12-step programs. It's an amazing buddy system.
And there is that group of comebacks. Among them is middle-aged Henry Blodget who leads wildly successful Business Insider. I have a hunch that when former McKinsey head, Rajat Gupta, completes his prison term for insider trading, he will also re-engineer himself.
In addition, there are plenty of lost middle-aged women. They are less visible because they are able to take refuge in traditional security blankets like religion, volunteer work and visiting their grown children. But, penetrate that veneer of doing-okay and the suffering is palpable. It seems to come down to this: They are unable to get started on another satisfying path. Their work life stalled. The spouse or lover is gone. Close friends have distanced themselves.
In my own middle years, that period was a continual fluctuation of being lost and then finding something to hold onto, for a while. Somehow most of us, male and female, do make it to old age. That's where I have been for about a decade. So far, I have gotten lost twice. So?