Friday, October 22, 2004

Andropause vs. Midlife Crisis


ome of the comments I received the other day suggested that a few are confusing andropause--male menopause--with a midlife crisis. If only it were that simple. *sigh* As I mentioned previously, andropause is a reduction in testosterone, that hormone that gives us the energy and will to go out and hunt and gather. Of course, in the 21st century, it takes much less energy to hunt for Hormel ham or gather Dole bananas, leading to weight issues... but that's another post.

In any event, andropause is a biological event that leads to lethargy, depression and lowered libido--something that bums me out even further. But a midlife crisis is--as I understand it--strictly psychological, usually triggered by a sudden change in circumstances. This change, of course, is not so sudden; it just feels like it. It is really the change in circumstances we all experience everyday. But when a male reaches his 40s and 50s, he comes to the realization that he's either running out of time to achieve his goals, or he has no more "tangible" goals left because, interestingly enough, he's had a successful career--in other words this affects virtually every male on the planet. In either case, the man tries to transform himself with the trappings of yout--a sports car, a young mistress--in an attempt, unconscious or not, to rekindle the fire that used to be in his belly.

I have lots of goals that I still need to accomplish and so should be experiencing this midlife crisis, but I don't really feel it. Perhaps it is my profession. I am always surrounded by young people. Every year, I coddle my 20 to 22 year-old students, watch them graduate and then the following year, I get a new bunch. While the discrepancy in years between us grows, I still feel young. I'm not as hip as I'd like to think I am--I don't know any of the music anymore--but still, I can hang with them and have a good time, in class and out. And still maintain, to a degree, a sense of teacher-student separation. Damn, being a teacher is good. It is certainly better than working in an office where your bosses and peers get older and gray with you, and the young people who come in are usually afer you job.

And yet, this may not necessarily be good. Since I don't feel the crisis, I lack the urgency to acheive my goals, perhaps one of the leading causes to procrastination? I need to light a fire under my butt to get me going.

Anyone gotta match?

Note: I am not a medical doctor and so everything I've written here is the opinion of a layman, and carries no more weight than my farts. Well, if you ask my son, he'd probably tell you my farts weigh more, given the sensory overoad his olfactory senses experiences when I laugh too hard and lose my concentration.

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