According to an article in National Geographic, some of our closest relatives get midlife crises, too.
Which is not, of course, to suggest that your Auntie Edith is going around buying a Porsche, sporting a comb-over and hitting on boys half her age by wolf whistling at them. Or that you're even particularly close to your Auntie Edith. And just why, in fact, you believe National Geographic would be reporting on your Auntie Edith in the first place is a question for another time.
Rather, it's the apes that are doing it.
Which is not, of course, to suggest that apes are going around buying a Porsche, sporting a comb-over and hitting on apes half their age by flinging poo at them. Which is, in fact, something National Geographic would probably go around reporting on.
More specifically, apes, our closest relatives (deoxyribonucleic acid–wise) seem to experience a decrease in happiness near the middle of their life. Just like us.
A study led by Alexander Weiss, a primate psychologist at the University of Edinburgh, "asked longtime caretakers of more than 500 chimpanzees and orangutans at zoos in five countries to fill out a questionnaire about the well-being of each animal they work with, including overall mood, how much the animals seemed to enjoy social interactions, and how successful they were in achieving goals (such as obtaining a desired item or spot within their enclosure)."
The article didn't, unfortunately, indicate whether or not some of the "animals" the people reported on included particularly infuriating coworkers or the boss who, despite your best efforts, simply will not stop staring at your cleavage while you discuss TPS reports with him. It also failed to mention if enclosures are the animal kingdom's version of cubicles.
The study then asked caretakers to "imagine themselves as the animal and rate how happy they'd be."
Which, if you ask me, seems to be a different kind of study all together, or, at the very least, a very silly yet excruciatingly common type of job interview question.
The good news about midlife crises – for us and the apes - according to Weiss is, "It may feel lousy, but your brain could be tricking you into improving your circumstances and situation, signaling you to get up and really start pushing while you're absolutely at your prime."
Do you hear that all you chubby, balding, 4-decade-old men out there? According to primate psychologists, you're in the prime of your life. Woo!
And about your Auntie Edith: Next time she stares a bit too hard at the flashy sports cars while driving by the Porsche dealership, remember it is perfectly normal for her to be experiencing those kinds of feelings; they are reminders that she is alive and kicking - seizing the day, so to speak.
The time, really, to be worried is when Auntie Edith starts flinging poo.