Midlife Crisis and How to Make Peace with It
At what stage are you in your life now? Are you the teen that is just starting in life, or the young adult in your prime, or maybe the mature adult entering into your advanced years? As human beings, we go through several stages in life and the main five being infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. The different stages in life come with dissimilar experiences and expectations.
The first few stages in life from infancy to adolescence is a phase of discovery, which entails finding your identity and purpose in this world. At this stage, mistakes were made and through it all, you undergo a learning process. In-fact, the process will serve as a foundation to which the remaining another half of your life will turn out. It is indeed true that your decisions today will define your tomorrow.
If the early stages in life was a journey of self-discovery, what happens when you reach middle age?
Being middle age is characterized as being between the age of 45 and 65, a period where you are in between early adulthood and old age. Middle age also simply known as midlife, is a central period of a person’s life. This is a critical period that can turn out to be stressful; it brings you face-to-face with certain things that you wish you will not have to deal with ever.
In certain instances, you may come to feel discontented and restless as you tackle issues on aging, mortality, and trying your best to hold on to your sense of purpose.
The term ‘midlife crisis’ was first introduced by psychologist Elliot Jaques, who wrote about it in an article that was published back in 1965. In the article, Jaques pointed out that the midlife crisis was a time when adults come to realize mortality and the years they have left for a productive life.
Although most go through their middle age, only a minority sometimes do experience a severe crisis during this point in their life, but not necessarily. For those that indeed go through a mid-life crisis, this group of individuals is more prone to develop conditions such as depression and anxiety, which can make matters worse if there is no intervention.
What ticks off this mid-life crisis experienced by some men and women, and how does it impact them differently?
Aging is the main factor, but a midlife crisis may also be driven by aging with a combination of other elements like unpredictable changes, problems, regrets are it professional or personal, troubled relationships, and empty nest syndrome among others. Midlife crisis is a condition that affects both man and woman, but its effect has evolved as well.
The minuscule difference that sets it apart between a man versus a woman experiencing midlife crisis is that - a female midlife crisis may be blatantly described as a period when a woman in her middle age, tries to find time to do what she was unable to do before due to the many responsibilities shoved upon her, whilst man experience midlife crisis thinking that they are losing time.
So, what are the common symptoms that come along with the midlife crisis?
Signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe, including exhaustion, boredom, discontentment, restlessness, and a couple of other adverse behavioral attributes. The common signs noticeable in individuals going through a midlife crisis is that they tend to be discontented with the state of their life, and this may be projected onto things and even people that use to provide fulfillment to them.
They will also exhibit frantic energy build-up and want to do something completely different, for instance, rushing to take on other things or projects because they feel like there won’t be enough time left to accomplish what they want to do. The midlife crisis also forces someone into a state of doubt and self-questioning on the decisions they have made early on and trying to decipher the meaning of life.
Consequently, some may exhibit irritability and have unexpected outbursts of anger, which may sometimes be accompanied by persistent sadness. It is basically like a whirlwind of emotions, and a midlife crisis is similar to taking a roller-coaster ride, not knowing what is around the corner.
A midlife crisis is not a pleasant experience, but it is not a condition that is to be ashamed of. There are treatments for it and with time and a little effort, the negative effects can be minimized or greatly reduced. Because a midlife crisis is sparked by negative thoughts and emotions, it helps to explore, accept and express your feelings with your loved ones or anyone close to you. It is also beneficial to devote time to set new goals and develop new habits that will ensure your mind is focused on tasks that bring joy to you.
At this point in your life where age is catching up, it is also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle be it in terms of food or exercise. Ensure that you eat a balanced and nutritious meal with plenty of exercises to keep health issues or sickness at bay. Having a healthy body will automatically influence your state of mind and have an effect on your overall outlook in life. Also, getting sufficient sleep is necessary as it serves to rejuvenate the body. Although sleep patterns may change as you age, it is ideal to include naps or rest time during the day if you sleep less than eight hours at night.
In summary, life is a journey to be cherished and enjoyed regardless of the state or phase we are going through. There will be a point in our life that may seem like the worst, but do know that we are capable of going through it.
Acknowledging there is something wrong is not a sign of weakness, but instead, pluck up the courage to do something about it is bravery in action. Thus, if you or anyone you know is facing a midlife crisis, either reach out for help or extend a helping hand to support and make the experience a little easier.