As your kids grow and you reach a comfortable place in your career, you should feel a sense of accomplishment. Yet many who reach this point in their life are confronted with a hard question — where did my youth go? This thought can lead you to experience a time in your life commonly known as a midlife crisis.
You’ve probably seen a ton of midlife crisis clichés in movies and TV, such as a middle-aged man buying a fast car or a woman diving into the world of plastic surgery. Yet this very real and very common period of life represents feelings of lost youth and a desire to turn back the clock.
When you reach the midpoint of your life, you may question the things you’ve chosen to dedicate your life to. Or maybe your goals and plans don’t seem to make sense anymore. Don’t let a midlife crisis rob you of your peace of mind. In this post, we’ll discover what a midlife crisis is so that you know how to avoid some of the pitfalls and regain your sense of self and purpose.
Midlife Crisis Definition
The term “midlife crisis” has been around since the 1960s. It describes a normal transition that happens to both men and women during which you go from being a young person to an older adult. Usually between the ages of 38 and 50, some individuals begin to struggle with the passing of their youth.
A midlife crisis can cause you to evaluate your life, achievements and dreams. Most people work their way through their midlife crisis without much trouble, quickly regaining balance. Others struggle with depression or anxiety as they face the next stage of their life.
Signs and Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis
As you realize that you’re getting older, it’s completely normal to experience some mild unease or regret. Sadly, a midlife crisis can lead to dangerous side effects that can impact your emotional, physical and financial well-being. By understanding midlife crisis symptoms, you can feel more empowered to address them as they occur, including:
- Feeling stuck in a rut or hopeless about your options for the future
- Displaying dramatic changes in mood, such as irritability or anger
- Engaging in erratic or impulsive decision-making, such as purchasing big-ticket items like a new car
- Feeling the need for a new schedule, habit or challenge
- Oversleeping or experiencing the inability to sleep
- Obsessing over how you look and changing your personal appearance
- Disconnecting with old friends and replacing them with younger friends
- Changing career paths
- Leaving your spouse or committing infidelity
- Feeling listless or bored
- Experiencing bouts of depression, remorse or anxiety
- Entertaining obsessive thoughts about death or dying
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
Midlife Crisis for Men vs. Women
A midlife crisis can affect both men and women almost equally. About 13% of women and 15% of men report undergoing a time of emotional upheaval during their middle-aged years. However, men and women experience this crisis differently.
Men tend to focus on achievement and their desire for success and the esteem of others. Women, on the other hand, tend to fixate on their looks and whether or not they feel sexually attractive. The end of parenting duties tends to hit women especially hard.
Tips for Avoiding the Pitfalls of a Midlife Crisis
The emotional turmoil of a midlife crisis can lead to a lot of serious feelings and decisions about your life. However, this time of your life doesn’t have to be negative. A midlife crisis can be turned into something that improves your outlook if you let it. Here are some tips that may help as you grow older with grace and look forward to a brighter future:
- Acknowledge the changes that are happening in your life.
- Talk to your close friends or family members to get an outside perspective before making any drastic changes.
- Try a new activity, volunteer, learn something or take a break and travel to get yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Revisit old dreams or create new goals.
- Focus on your physical health through exercise and proper nutrition.
Get Professional Help for Substance Addiction at 7 Summit Pathways
If you’ve turned to drugs or alcohol to mask feelings of hopelessness, depression or regret, this dangerous behavior can lead to Substance Addiction. 7 Summit Pathways is here for you. We can help as you work through this difficult crisis with a personalized treatment approach that addresses your individual needs.