Have you bought a new sports car or purchased new jewelry lately? Is your impulse buying becoming obsessive? Are you over 40? You may have a midlife crisis to manage.
If you suspect that your spouse is going through one or if you are doing so yourself, you may want to know its signs. More importantly, you must know how to deal with it.
What Is a Midlife Crisis?
So, what is this crisis? Is it something that occurs abruptly, or is it a natural part of one’s life? The phrase ‘midlife crisis‘ was a creation of Elliot Jacques and explained in more detail by psychologists like Carl Jung. It is a time of life when people transition from being young people to being older adults.
This type of personal crisis is not exclusive because both men and women experience it. However, they do so differently. The former concentrate on their achievements, while the latter may start to obsess with their looks.
No matter who goes through it, a midlife crisis remains what it is. Men and women realize that they are getting older and have not achieved a great deal.
What Are the Signs?
A midlife crisis can take many forms. It can represent danger, no matter how it shows itself. You can help a loved one survive it if you recognize its signs.
1. Health Scares
First of all, people facing midlife crises may start worrying about their health. They may run to the nearest clinic at the slightest hint of illness.
2. Tough Questions
The next sign of a midlife crisis is the raising of tough questions. Because they are at life’s crossroads, people will start asking themselves ‘Who am I,’ and ‘Where am I going in my career?‘
And then, they will start to compare themselves with others. Depression may set in because they may resent that they are not as successful as others are.
4. Acknowledging Time
They will have, in addition, a sense of time flying. They may suddenly feel discouraged with their lives and routines.
5. Focus on appearance
People facing midlife crises may start feeling dissatisfied with their looks because they are conscious of growing older. The obsession may drive them to try numerous weight loss programs.
Also, older men and women may try to appear younger than they are. They may feel left behind, or that doing so is the only way to connect with their children. Women may start to dress younger than they are, while men may show off.
6. Assigning Blame
People going through midlife crises may start to grouse over trivial matters because they feel confused about their lives. They indulge in petty grievances, like accusing spouses or friends of trying to malign or undermine them.
7. Feeling Tied Down
Furthermore, people going through a midlife crisis may feel stuck in a rut, with no way to improve their situations. They believe that they have no options for a better future.
8. Career Change
Moreover, those who have reached their middle years may feel that their jobs are dreary and want to change them. They may want to follow their passions and launch careers that they did not get a chance to before.
Middle-aged persons may also experience depression because they realize that they are getting older. The thought of death may scare them.
10. Having affairs
Finally, people experiencing midlife crises may crave romantic attention. The boredom that sometimes accompanies years of marriage may overwhelm they may seek new partners.
What Are the Causes?
You can overcome a midlife crisis if you understand its causes. First of all, people may face them because of external factors. Work stress may prompt them to wonder why they have not progressed in their careers.
Unresolved issues are the next trigger. People may display odd behavior because they have unmet needs. They may feel that circumstances robbed them of chances in life. A man, for instance, may feel cramped in his career because his family situation deprived him of higher education.
Debt adds to this list of push factors. Being middle-aged and having huge mortgages to pay is frightening and stressful. It may make otherwise rational people walk away from family and other responsibilities.
Also, there is grief. Coping with the death of a loved one compounds a midlife crisis. The transition can become utterly bewildering. Finally, those with self-esteem issues may find it hard to transit from young adulthood to midlife. They probably become distant because they have feelings of inadequacy.
Coping with a Midlife Crisis
If you recognize these symptoms, do not let them overwhelm you. Put a few coping mechanisms in place, and overcome them.
First of all, admit that you are going through a midlife crisis. Acknowledging it will clear your mind and help you find a way forward while denying it will prolong it.
The next step is to pause before making any earthshaking changes. Talk to a counselor or a trusted friend before buying a sports car, undergoing plastic surgery or leaving your spouse.
And then, note that a midlife crisis is not necessarily negative. It is a time to shift your paradigms and improve your attitude towards life. You can move out of your comfort zone and take part in activities you never tried before.
Furthermore, it is a chance for you to improve yourself. It is a time for you to align yourself with your partner and set new goals for your marriage. Set yourself new targets if you feel that your career has not progressed.
Any type of existential crisis is not easy to go through, so seek support. Talk to your loved ones about it. If it overwhelms you, turn to a professional for advice. Finally, exercise and have healthy eating habits. Try Yoga or meditation to alleviate your stress and improve your vibrancy.