The lonely forties

IT’S a lonely world up there, above the forties. People over the age of 40 routinely suffer from mid-life crisis. While many of them may be in powerful positions in their professions and organisations, it’s the age when children are turning into teenagers, having their own life and circle of friends, besides trying to fly away from home and join courses abroad.

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Published: Fri 10 Mar 2006, 10:54 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:16 PM

It is also said that men and women above 40 may be prone to get into extra-marital flings to suppress the monotony of their marriages. Now, another new study has suggested that a third of the adults describe themselves as lonely, with those above 40 being most prone to it, and teenagers being the least prone. The Australian survey, however, found that people with strong religious beliefs were less likely to be lonely, whatever their age, and so were women less likely to be lonely than men.

One of the reasons for increasing loneliness in the developed world is rising materialism. That explains the increasing refuge people in the West now seek in religion. Even in the Gulf countries, when you hear old people talk, they talk very fondly of the sixties and seventies when the concept of neighbourhood communities was very strong. Every UAE national mingled with his neighbours and there were strong bonds between people living in a neighbourhood. People are of course, more prosperous now, and have more disposable income to spend, but those strong community ties are missing, because of the mad rat race to earn more and more money, power and prestige. That has what has happened in the West, and is now taking place in our neighbourhood too. Earlier, people in the UAE used to spend a lot of time in social gatherings, but now they meet only on special occasions like weddings, deaths and festivals. The pursuit of money and greed has overtaken us all. Forty is the time loneliness and depression set in, especially in today’s world where community links are weak and each person is engaged in his own trivial pursuits. But for many, their main support is religion, as religion gives them some peace of mind and then, they don’t feel so lonely.

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