Posted by: Scottie | 2009-07-13

Midlife crisis?

Dear Doc
I am 35. I have no children and plan go to University to study for a medical degree when I am 37. I look good, am healthy and thin, I do mountainbiking and like rock music. I like good looking men!!
My collegue at work says I am having a midlife crisis. I guess technically she is correct as 35 is probably in the middle of my life if I should die at 70. But in my mind I AM still young and I do not plan to be an old lady soon! Is it true that I am having a midlife crisis? Is my activities unfitting for a lady of my age?

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Our expert says:
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I see no problem with a woman ( or a man, for that matter ) doing anything legal that they enjoy and are physically capable of. There are two aspects here that occur to me ( having in the past been a medical school Dean advising on such matters ) --- one is that many medical schools are extremely reluctant to accept an older, mature student. Although in my experience such students may make excellent practitioners, they worry about many aspects including the fact that it will cost the school and the nation as much to train a mature med student as a younger one, but the older person would have a much shorter career. Even to be a GP now takes extra post-graduate training, so with medical school, internship, community service and specialty training, there's at least 20 years to add to your age on starting medical school to see the age at which you'd start practice.
The other aspect often overlooked, is how extremely physically exhausting medical studies are ( the volume of material to learn, the multiple exams, and then the exhaustion of internship and early practice years --- most of us who started younger ( I entered medical school as young as I was legally allowed to ) would dread the prospect of trying to do even a few years later what almos wiped us out when younger and more energetic. It's a bit like child-birth and infant-rearing, I suspect --- before you do it yourself, you can't believe it could possibly be as ghard and exhausting as everyone else says --- and then you discover that it is.
If this is mid-life, and if this is a crisis, then maybe technically it's a midlife crisis. But the real issue is (a) is your dissatisfaction with life as it is reasonable and realistic ? and (b) are the prospects for satisfaction and happiness with the new plan genuinely realistic ?

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