A mid-life crisis, otherwise known as a middle age crisis, usually affects people between the ages of 40 and 55, and is characterized by the mental shock people sometimes undergo as they transition from their “younger” years to their “older” years. It is estimated that about 10 percent of people experience a mid-life crisis, which can result in feelings of depression, despair, and meaninglessness. In popular culture, such as on TV and in movies, men are often depicted as suffering the worst effects of mid-life crises, and try to make themselves feel young again by getting an earring or buying a motorcycle. Despite these popular representations, there are steps you can take when dealing with a real mid-life crisis.
One of the first steps to dealing with any kind of dramatic emotional upheaval is to admit it. Admitting to yourself that you are actually going through a difficult period, which is characterized by feelings of losing your youth, is an essential step on the road to dealing with the situation. This acknowledgement does not have to be a public affair. It can be done privately, and need involve no one else. Writing down your feelings in a journal, for example, can be helpful.
DON’T DO ANYTHING DRASTIC
Many people try to accommodate the feelings they experience during their mid-life crises by getting a new (young) girlfriend, quitting their jobs, or cashing in their retirement so they can travel the world. These kinds of drastic actions may feel good in the moment, but will likely just compound problems down later on. As such, it is best to avoid doing anything drastic at this time.
FIND A CAUSE
One great way to make it through your mid-life crisis unscathed is to find a cause and devote your spare energy to it. Find something you really care about, like feeding the homeless, saving the rainforest, or building schools for needy children, and really throw your energy into it. This process makes use of the principle that you will have less time to stew over your own issues when you are helping others with theirs.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Many people treat a mid-life crisis as a bad thing, but it doesn’t have to be. You can use those raw emotions as fuel to propel you into a new phase of life. Learning something new can provide you with just the kind of creative outlet you need in order to reclaim that sense of excitement in life that you desire. You can reap double rewards if you choose to dive into a new hobby which has positive physical benefits, such as learning a martial art or getting involved in a work-out program.
GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
You should never be ashamed to seek professional help if your mid-life crisis seems to warrant it. At the end of the day, life is to be enjoyed. If your mid-life crisis seems to be difficult, and all the measures you have tried don’t seem to be working, perhaps you should consider seeking professional help. A qualified counselor will be experienced in helping people in your situation, and could mean the difference between just getting by and living life with renewed purpose and vigor.