Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

My non-midlife crisis

I turn 40 in, if I’m counting correctly, nine days. (September 8th, for those playing along at home.) It wouldn’t be accurate to say that I haven’t thought too much about it, but I’ve not been getting flipped out over it.

A good friend of mine turned 40 last week, and she reports that she doesn’t feel any different, but did note that “I may have lived half my life.” I’ve had similar thoughts, but 1) median ages aren’t correct for every age cohort (we’ll probably live longer than today’s elders), and 2) we may have lived 99.8% of our lives, or (less likely) 1% of them– you just don’t know.

Given that most of why I do for a living requires mental stamina rather than physical stamina, and a certain amount of experience is considered a good thing, I don’t think I need to worry about being on the street any time soon.

On the other hand, I’m being interviewed this afternoon by a researcher who’s doing a dissertation looking at technology use among people 40-65. In other words, it’s a project that could also include my parents. Hmmm.

But the question remains: what does turning 40 signify? Or maybe the better question is, what meaning can you put to it?


  1. I’ve heard this often enough lately that I pass it on: 40 is the new 30.

    (Maybe that is just another way of commenting on the average life span, though.)

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