Approaching the 40th birthday a person begins to expect a mid-life crisis, even though everybody hopes that it won’t happen to them. Apathy, irritability, anxiety, insecurity, discontent, desire to stay young and change everything are common signs of this phenomenon, but there is another side to it.
If you are on the verge of a crisis
It is generally believed that people experience a mid-life crisis between the ages of 45 and 64. It can be quick or particularly lengthy. Moreover, not everybody actually has it. Still, a person can recognize the approach of a mid-life crisis and make a conscious effort to mitigate its effects.
1. Impulse buying
Uncertainty breeds a desire for self-affirmation. For this reason, people on the verge of a mid-life crisis make exorbitant purchases, even if they can’t afford them. It can be cars, jewelry, antiques, or even spending too much on rejuvenation.
2. Comparison and envy
The approaching crisis can be evidenced by the fact that people start to compare themselves to others more often and evaluate their own success. This usually leads to two outcomes: either a person starts envying, or becomes more conceited. Both options are flawed. The first one is fraught with more stress, while the second enhances dissatisfaction with life and promotes a desire to leave everything to start anew. There is only one way out – don’t weigh your achievements against the others’.
3. “Bad” days
Over the years we begin to analyze everything more deeply and take things more seriously. This is how we explain our tendency to reflect and the fact that we have way more “bad” days than in carefree younger years. Don’t take every failure or trouble too close.
4. Sense of deja vu
Our rich life experience makes us increasingly sure that we know exactly “how it is going to end”. The feeling of deja vu creates additional emotional pressure and aggravates the situation. In this case, you can set 3-5 important life goals and analyze what will happen if you change nothing. Or you can venture to do something new.
5. Change of goals
Usually, by the age of 45-50 people have already achieved a lot and suddenly realize that the things they worked hard for don’t mean anything anymore. Favorite business turns into routine, the family into a burden, the house into a cage. Don’t think that you have stopped in development. Cut yourself some slack, determine what matters at this stage of your life and schedule a new plan of action.
Myths and misconceptions
There is so much information about a mid-life crisis that we begin to subconsciously “prepare” ourselves for it (vent our frustration or notice previously uncharacteristic fears). Here are the most common misconceptions:
1. Feeling discontent and a desire for a radical change is mandatory
It is believed that a person going through a mid-life crisis experiences changes in behavior and character. But this is not so simply because not everybody really feels dispirited, deceived, or discontent. Don’t turn into a grouch only because you are “supposed to.”
2. There is no happiness
A mid-life crisis is a transition period, the same as in youth. Old priorities have become irrelevant, and new ones have not yet been formed, thus creating a conflict of ambitions. This is not anybody’s fault - it just takes time.
3. The best years are behind
Aging has a positive effect, too - it makes a person more positive and balanced, teaches to rejoice in small and familiar things. Of course, there are many things (for example, a parachute jump) that are better done before reaching 50, but there can be plenty of pleasant moments in life after this milestone.
Middle adulthood is not the peak point. About 15 years ago, economists suggested a theory that the happiness and satisfaction follows a U-shaped curve, with the lowest section in the mid-life. According to this theory, the emotional component of human life approaches its peak later.
Remember that a mid-life crisis is only a notion, as psychologists have not yet scientifically proven the existence of this phenomenon. We use it to explain natural changes that occur at a certain stage, and you may not find it as bad as they say.
The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.