Seven tips for men to have a mid-life crisis in style

I had my first (of many) mid-life crises when I was 36. It was a harrowing feeling; a sudden realisation that I was not only getting old, but that one day I would actually die.

So without training, or any preparation whatsoever, I climbed on a bicycle and pedalled 4000 kilometres from Sydney to Perth. The whole experience left me feeling emotionally flatter than ever. Not only was my arse epically sore, but I knew that there was no way - even if I lived to be 100 - that I would ever top what I had just achieved.

The male mid-life crisis is a very real phenomenon for men between the ages of 35 and 45. "The denial of age is profound in our society, because we idolise youth," says psychotherapist Dr Peter O'Connor, author of the bestselling Understanding the Midlife Crisis.

"One of the problems a lot of men have is that this period is a transition and it's not one you can turn your back on; it's really happening. What men have to accept is that we are forever changing, and so the real art of living is to learn how to manage change, and not to deny it."

Don't deny it

Like me, O'Connor had his mid-life crisis at age 36. Unlike me, he resigned from a secure tenured lecturing position at a Melbourne university and dragged his family away to England to live. It was during this period he wrote his book on the subject.

Your mid-life is really your first moment in life to actually grow up.

Dr Peter O'Connor

He says the secret to surviving a mid-life crisis is to engage with life, rather than trying to make it something it isn't.

"Life is an ever-changing adventure; you may as well enjoy it. For example, if you have always enjoyed surfing, there's no need to give it up. But remember that your relationship is to the ocean, not to being 18 again. Your mid-life is really your first moment in life to actually grow up."

The problem is, rather than celebrate their mid-life in a mature and - dare we say it - elegant, fashion, many blokes try to deny it by doing stupid things like cycling across Australia, ditching the wife for the 22-year-old babysitter, or adopting a comb-over. This is all fine if you don't mind other folks sniggering behind their backs at you.

Executive Style has come up with seven suggestions about ways to embrace your mid-life crisis without frightening the children. See the gallery above.