An overview of the Midlife Crisis
Do you suddenly feel like buying a new car or moving to a new house? Or perhaps you are a middle-aged woman who wants to have a nose lift or plastic surgery out of the blue just to look younger? These could be signs that you are suffering from what some people would call a “midlife crisis”.
The term midlife crisis was first introduced by Elliot Jacques in 1965. He observed that people undergo a difficult transition from their youth to becoming an older adult during their life. This time is usually marked by an intensified consciousness of one’s mortality, reflective evaluation of life’s course, and out-of-character behaviours.
A number of psychologists compared human happiness to the letter U. According to their research, there is a slow decline in happiness during the late teen years of human life that lasts until around 40 years old. This will then be followed by a gradual increase in happiness when the individual hits 50 years old. This study has been supported by many testimonies by a survey that was made in the United States and Europe. Record says that many individuals confirmed that they experienced a higher level of happiness when they were at their 50’s than when they were at their 40’s.
While others do not believe this rise and fall of happiness, there are many who also believed that happiness merely declines all the way through life. There are also many who thinks such a crisis could never happen to them. Regrettably, these mindsets could easily spark the beginning of a midlife crisis.
The Signs and Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis.
How do we know if we are experiencing this so-called midlife crisis? If you are unsure if you are going one right now, here are some common symptoms that may help you understand your condition more.
Experiencing an influx of negative emotions.
- Doubts – This usually jolts the start of an individual’s so-called “Midlife crisis”. You keep on thinking about your past and whether or not your current life is in the direction that you planned it to be. During your evaluation, you may realize that your life has been lived based on other people’s expectations of you and not your own. You feel ill-fitted to the direction your life has been leading. You are beginning to question whether you have made the right decisions or feels the need to redo them again.
- Boredom –During this time, you might feel apathetic towards everything in your life. You become passionless and surprisingly tired or lazy at your workplace and feels out of place in parties and social gatherings. The things that you do for fun before does not seem to give the same effect any longer.
- Depression – Because of failed aspirations during youth, you fall into despair and regret. Your inability to bring back your youthful vigour, together with unrequited career efforts, also contributes to your depression. Being jealous over what others have that you don’t add salt to the injury.
- Isolation. You prefer to be alone than to be with anyone. Ironically, your feeling of helplessness and hopelessness cause you to refuse comfort and company, thinking that nothing and no one can change your current predicament.
- Imprisoned. You have that excruciating feeling of being stuck with an unfulfilling job, thinking that you don’t have any chance for advancement. Sadly, you may also feel trapped in a marriage that doesn’t seem to work despite how long the relationship is.
- Irritated – Even without any explicable reason, you are constantly angry at everyone and everything. You feel very irritated at anyone, even those who come to you asking questions about how you feel.
- Loss – You have this badgering feeling that something is missing in your life, but you can’t figure out what. You might also feel that you have lost your purpose and, consequently, your motivation to strive for anything greater. Your efforts are no longer directed into succeeding, but into simply surviving.
- Stress – You feel that time is running out and there are still so much you desire to do.
You are stressed with everything that goes wrong in your life, thinking that this is probably how your life is destined to unfold. And just like so many movie clichés, you already know the “ending”.
Never let your emotions decide who you really are.
- Habits. You suddenly feel the need to be different from who you are and do something totally out of character. You love doing something troublesome purely because it feels new and thrilling.
- Appearance. Refusing to accept the fact that you are ageing, you spend a considerable amount of effort and money in order to look and even feel younger. Men would suddenly decide to hit the gym not for health purposes, but for vanity. Women, on the other hand, are willing to spend money on more beauty products and treatments, coupled with some provocative dresses. On the other hand, some individuals prefer to simply not to care anymore whether they look attractive or not.
- Likes and Dislikes. You now start to love the things you hated or hate what you previously loved. This can easily be seen in a person’s drastic change in clothing styles, food and music preferences.
- Setting or View. You feel the urge to move and live in other countries or have an unplanned vacation to places you have never been before.
- People and Relationships. With an intent to relive the best days of your youth, you choose to be friends with younger individuals and let go of your older buddies. You also begin to consider having an extramarital affair with someone younger despite knowing full well what the consequences might be.
Changes are only as good as their purpose.
- Skills. Unexpectedly, learning new musical instruments such as the piano becomes one of your top priorities. You suddenly want to learn how to cook, paint, dance or sing. However, you are so obsessed with gaining new skills that you rejected your more important responsibilities.
- Career. You may still be good at doing your job, but you no longer find it rewarding. Even if society has high regard for your work, you feel the need to search for a new career that you find more fun and exciting, may it be low-paying or unconventional.
- Possessions. To prove your worth, you made an unconsented decision to buy an expensive car to show off to your friends. Perhaps you are considering starting a collection of expensive watches, sandals or other items.
- Goals. Feeling discontented with what you have accomplished until now, you set a higher goal than before seems a little too farfetched. Goals such as becoming an international celebrity or perhaps a world-renowned guitar player fall to this category.
Tips and Advice on Handling a Midlife Transformation.
If you have a few or more of these symptoms, then you are most likely going through a phase of Midlife Transformation. Unguided, many victims fall into this transition crisis that could last for many years. Here are some tips that may assist in sailing through the rough waters.
- Face the truth and learn to acknowledge the problems. You will never be able to take any step forward if you don’t think that there’s any reason to do so. Begin by recognizing that there are irrevocable changes in your life, but also innumerable chances to enjoy new opportunities and experiences.
- Reflect before deciding to do anything. Regrets are present as a result of decisions that we never really thought through. Before you lose anything important, do some thinking, then do some more.
- Set new goals and purpose. There is little use to moping for unfulfilled wishes from the past. You can never go back to change the past but, you can always begin something new. There is always something better to do.
- Hold on to what is important. Weigh your priorities in life very carefully. While it is good to have fun once in a while, never trade anything important for momentary pleasure. Keep reminding yourself how it would feel if these things are taken from you.
- Accept the support of others. If you are going through a transformation phase, it is advisable to get help from a professional. Incidentally, you can always ask for support from people who care about you. It may be hard to show weakness to our family and friends, but that is one of the reasons why they are there – to accept us as we are no matter what.