Midlife Reflections from 1986 Harvard Business School Grads

I like longitudinal studies because we learn

a lot by looking back and reflecting on what we have done/thought/expected. The Harvard Business School’s Class of 1986 was surveyed for its 25th reunion last year and asked about their personal and profe

ssional lives now that they are in midlife – age range 53-55 years old. 35% of the total class responded.

Here are the responses to questions that will be of interest to most midlifers:

  1. Some 47% of the class said they had been involuntarily dismissed from a job.
  2. Sex doesn’t seem to be a very high priority for this age group. Just 3% of the alums say they want more sex.

3. Their highest priorities? Time (31%), health (18%), and peace of mind (13%).

4. 43% have been in therapy.

5. One in five (20%) have skydived, while one in three (32%) completed a marathon.

6. 14% of the class is divorced, with another 1% separated. About 5% divorced and remarried.

Was life what you expected? Only 17% said ‘yes’. 12% said “extremely different,” from expectations. Some 38% said their personal life was harder than expected, while 30% said their professional careers have been harder.

I wonder if this makes the rest of you midlifers feel better or worse?

Interested in learning more about midlife? Please read The Art Of Midlife: Courage and Creative Living for Women

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