Death may still probably be a long way off, but are we becoming more and more alarmed about how we will spend the remaining days of our lives? If it is what we think we are suffering from a transformational crisis. Some call it the “Midlife Crisis”, whereas some simply believe that it is a stage-wise transformation that one goes through during midlife.
So, What are the different stages of midlife crisis?.
Growing old may be a natural part of life, but it is not something so easily welcomed by many. Most people would rather stay young for as long as they could. However, due to the natural ageing and the negligence towards health and fitness, there is a mismatch between the person’s physical capability and mental maturity.
This identity confusion creates a conflict in a person’s life, making him unable to move forward. This conflict in a middle-aged adult’s life is commonly known as a “midlife crisis”. This normally occurs to men and women between the ages of 40 to 50 years old.
Stage 1: DENIAL
This kicks off the beginning of the crisis. Middle-age adults start to notice the physical changes happening to them. The male midlife transformation usually begins by noticing that day-to-day activities are becoming much harder to accomplish. They are running out of breath by climbing a few flights of stairs or just by simply chasing the dog out of the house. They no longer last until the second half of their basketball games and even walking becomes a real pain. Female midlife transformation, however, is more central to the changes in their physical appearance. Wrinkles are starting to show up, and eye bags are becoming more evident. Many people deny these changes because they want to stay young for as long as they could. However, no matter how much they try to refuse to accept the truth, time does not stop.
Stage 2: ANGER
Being unable to do anything, most of those who undergo midlife crisis cannot bear the truth which results in anger. They somehow think that life is against them and does everything to treat them miserably. Consequently, this constant feeling of anger develops irritation towards others around them. Many people would often show signs of aggression, assertiveness and hostility to those around them. Their unstable and egotistic behaviour can often lead to bad decisions which would be a reason to regret later in life. This state of the transition poses a great threat towards the sufferer’s future as it may jeopardize his career and most of all, his relationships with friends and family.
Stage 3: REPLAY
Being dissatisfied of how things are unfolding for them, men and women who are going through a midlife transformation or “midlife crisis” would often reminisce their past where everything was perfect. Unfortunately, they don’t just stop at recalling these memories but attempt to try and relive them as well. Men would often go back to the times when they were able to drink alcohol with their buddies for as long as they want or go to nightclubs and party all night. Some husbands would even try to show off by senselessly buying something expensive like a new car or even a new house. Women, on the other hand, would often do everything to look and even feel younger. Some ladies wouldn’t mind spending an absurd amount of money on beauty products and treatments to achieve this goal. This stage makes both men and women very vulnerable to falling into temptations such as starting an extramarital affair which could also easily result in a divorce and broken family.
We can never go back in the past, but we can always build a better future.
Stage 4: DEPRESSION
Victims of midlife transformation or “midlife crisis” would soon come to realize that no matter what they do, they will never be able to relive their glory days. Efforts to bring back their vitality and youthfulness would all be for nothing. This feeling of failure and helplessness would cause many individuals to fall into depression. They would often turn to anti-depressants to relieve them off this burden, but even that at times wouldn’t be enough to overcome what they feel. The scariest part of this stage is when in extreme cases those who are inflicted with the midlife crisis might also get some suicidal thoughts due to extreme feelings of guilt and disappointment.
Stage 5: WITHDRAWAL
This stage is basically a continuation of the previous one which can happen simultaneously with depression. This is when sufferers would start to detached from everyone else, choosing isolation instead of the company of friends and family. Some people would choose to seclude themselves for various reasons, simply because of a feeling that even if they do share their plight, others would not understand them or might not understand how they feel. Some would choose to be alone because would not want to trouble others with problems that they can do nothing about. Often, this is because they think that in doing so, it would help them think clearer about their life and the path ahead. Victims of this crisis would start reevaluating and reflecting on the decisions that they have made and rethink about what course they want their lives to take.
Stage 6: ACCEPTANCE
The final part of the process where individuals who are going through a midlife crisis would come to face the facts and recognize the cold, hard truth – that they are getting older. However, this acceptance could set a more positive course for their lives. By accepting who they are, they will be able to move forward through life and accept its challenges with a newer and refined perspective. They may start by rebuilding the damages done from the previous stages of the crisis so that they can choose to create a stronger foundation for the life ahead.
The first step towards fixing a problem is to accepting that there is one !
How do we deal with a midlife crisis?
If you feel like you are going through a midlife crisis, remember you are almost never going through it alone. No matter how much the world seems to ignore you or how much of a failure you think you are, remember that there are always people who never stopped caring for you. Surround yourself with such people who are willing to listen to your burdens and even bear it with you, is the quickest way of bouncing back from this transformational crisis. You might want to take some time alone to think about it all, but you should never be out of reach of those who care.
As much as you can, try to think clearly and positively. Set your priorities right and Never do anything that would risk losing, what is most important to you. Your career, spouse, kids and the beautiful world around you are great reminders to take an orderly path in life. Think about what you are willing to let go and sacrifice to protect what matters most.