If you feel like you are having a midlife crisis, don’t worry, you are not alone. Let’s look at what a midlife crisis is and what you can do to help yourself if it happens to you.
Dr. Nate Upshaw, who is the Medical Director with the NeuroSpa TMS concluded, “Midlife crisis symptoms vary widely from person to person. The most common midlife crisis age range is 35 to 55, with some variability between genders.” Many people are familiar with the term midlife crisis.
You know, that one neighbor that went and bought a new Corvette but still has four little children and a mortgage. “He must have been going through a midlife crisis,” you tell yourself. In general, we understand the “crisis” as feeling stuck, bored, or the sense of losing our grip. So, is a midlife crisis just in our heads or is it really a reality?
In 1965, the Canadian-born psychoanalyst and social scientist Elliott Jaques introduced the term, midlife crisis. He concluded in his research that, “The compulsive attempts, in many men and women reaching middle age, to remain young, the hypochondriacal concern over health and appearance, the emergence of sexual promiscuity to prove youth and potency, the hollowness and lack of genuine enjoyment of life, and the frequency of religious concern, are familiar patterns. They are attempts at a race against time.”
As civilization has evolved, researchers, psychologists, and doctors have agreed that a midlife crisis is a very real feeling for a lot of people, and often we miss the signs of the different emotions we experience.
Let us look at some feelings you may be encountering if you are having a midlife crisis.
Are You Having A Midlife Crisis?
Do You Have To Justify Your Actions?
When you have to start justifying your actions, this could by the first sign of a midlife crisis and occurs when a person attempts to deny that they are growing older by acting out of character. For women, this might look like a need for cosmetic surgery or purchasing younger-style clothing.
For men, it might be as simple as taking hang-gliding classes out of the blue or buying a new sports car. The feelings are the same. The need to feel younger. Family and friends may regard it as depression, but there is a difference. For adults with a mood disorder, symptoms of depression are more than just a “midlife crisis.”
According to Skyland Trail, a nonprofit mental health organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, Depression is, “More than behavior that seems age-inappropriate or “feeling low,” a person with depression can feel sad, have low energy and motivation, lose interest in activities and social relationships, and have trouble sleeping. These symptoms may be disabling and affect a person’s ability to work or function day-to-day.”
If you are feeling blah or itching to go do something out of character, ask yourself if it’s just out of boredom or are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with life. Before acting out on any impulses, try writing it down. Try the 10-10-10 list. Write down 10 things in three categories. Your desires, what you are most grateful for, and what gives you joy. Now go back and read each one carefully. Now, instead of going out to buy a new Harley, maybe you could rent one for a few days for a weekend road trip.
Are You Lashing Out?
As adults, we typically do not like when people check or comment on our behaviors. “I can buy that motorcycle, I’m an adult” As the offender of the action, we strike back on anyone who might think it’s not age-appropriate. You must have it, as it will make you feel young again. You feel tired of just doing nothing exciting. Go back to the list. Will the motorcycle cause financial woes for your family or could you find a smaller one that needs repairs and include your children in its restoration? The memories alone are worth the time spent.
Do You Revisit Old Times?
I don’t know any young people who say that they cannot wait till they are wrinkled and grey. For some, the desire to lock in their youth has created a booming empire.
According to the latest numbers from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveals, “Americans spent more than $16.5 billion on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally invasive procedures in 2018.” Take a good look at yourself in a full-length mirror, are there parts of yourself that are undesirable? Maybe instead of Botox, a nice facial could help ease your anxiety. Then treat yourself to some new facial cream and enjoy the glow.
Are You Withdrawing Or Pulling Away From People?
When we feel attacked for our behavior, we begin to withdraw from those people. Often, this is seen in the family home.
Maybe, your husband keeps staying out later than usual. Perhaps, the wife keeps going out with her friends too often.
Either way when they are away from the “behavior police” they feel free. Before it gets to that level, this would be a good time to sit down with your family or spouse and explain your feelings. Perhaps by hearing each other out you can decide to do things as a team. Agree to respect each other’s individual desires and meet in the middle.
Accept Your Limitations
This last step is your graduation out of having a midlife crisis. It really is okay to be older. Maybe the body is not capable of racing in the Tour De France, but it’s healthy and well preserved. The mind is your strongest asset. Use it wisely. Instead of buying the motorcycle, you can take college courses on fixing them. Maybe it will lead to a new career path. That is worth your wiser decisions.
Life is not over just because you are growing older. Every wrinkle and memory you have are yours. You earned them. If you are feeling off, go back to your list. But most important of all, just keep living life to the fullest.
As American Author Donald Richie once said, “Midlife crisis begins sometime in your 40s when you look at your life and think, ‘Is this all?’ And it ends about 10 years later when you look at your life again and think, ‘Actually, this is pretty good.’