There comes a point in just about everyone's life when the realization that time is limited strikes. This tends to happen when you're in your 40s and 50s, thus the term midlife crisis. While these two words might conjure up images of aging men driving around in convertible sports cars, the psychological issue of coming to terms with the fact that a large portion of your life has passed you by can happen to anyone and it can manifest itself in a variety of ways.
What Is a Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence that generally occurs in middle-aged individuals. The phenomenon is a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person's growing age, mortality, and possible life regrets or shortcomings.
A midlife crisis is a relatively normal life transition, but it can hit you emotionally like a ton of bricks and cause you to react to life and relationships in ways that may not be in your best interest. Some people react to these emotions by making major changes in their life, like quitting their job, selling their home, or even filing for a divorce. However, this may not be the best time to make such lofty decisions.
Ahead, find out nine common signs of a midlife crisis and discover some helpful tips for dealing with these feelings that won't uproot your entire life.
9 Common Signs of a Midlife Crisis
- You feel unhappy with life and the lifestyle that may have provided you with happiness for many years.
- You feel bored with the people and things that may have been of interest to you before.
- You feel a need for adventure and change.
- You question the choices you've made in your life and the validity of decisions you made years before.
- You feel confused about who you are and where you are going.
- You feel angry with your significant other and tied down in your relationship.
- You're unable to make decisions about where you want to go with your life.
- You doubt that you ever loved your significant other and feel resentment over the relationship.
- You have a desire for a new intimate relationship.
All of these feelings can be triggered by the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a significant change in lifestyle. It can also be caused by childhood trauma that was never properly dealt with. Whether the feelings you have are due to external or internal issues, you may find yourself making irrational decisions you will later regret, like leaving a job, getting a divorce, and throwing away the security that you've built up during your life.
How to Deal with It
Most people take stock of where they are in life during their 40s and 50s. Some blow their lives up out of fear of never being in a better place or believing they've been held back by their spouse or family. This is often the crux of a midlife crisis. You may feel angry and direct blame onto others in order to make sense of your own dissatisfaction with life.
However, major changes like divorce are not necessarily the answer to mid-life unhappiness. Instead, the focus should be on taking responsibility, communicating your needs, and trusting those closest to you to help you realize your goals.
If you think you're experiencing a midlife crisis and aren't sure where to turn, try talking to your spouse, a close friend, a family doctor, or a therapist before you make any hasty decisions. Doing so may end up saving you and those you love from a lot of emotional pain.