Are You Having a Midlife Crisis? - Part 1

Posted under: Mind, Body, Spirit, Career, Lifestyle, Relationships

Are You Having  a Midlife Crisis? - Part 1

“Looks like he’s having a midlife crisis…,” they mutter amongst themselves when a man buys his dream Corvette or changes his hairstyle after 25 years.


Family and friends seem to consider every change made by a 45 or 50 year old male to be a midlife crisis. But is this true? Maybe, but probably not. It seems a bit odd that when a woman changes hair color, changes purses every week and buys 27 pairs of shoes with near fetish-like compulsion, no one seems to see a particular problem – they call it just being a woman!


When a man wakes up one day and decides he needs to make some changes to the way he looks and feels and how he does things, then he’s having a ‘crisis’. So, how do we know whether we’re having one or not? From this article, let’s just get some basic facts down:

  1. What is a midlife crisis? The term came into use in the mid-1960s and was applied to a period of “self-doubt.” This growing self-awareness in the middle years of our lives is believed to be the result of fear – fear of getting older and fear of missing something in life… maybe even the point of life. We become more aware of our mortality and begin to wonder what our lives are all about.
  2. Who has a midlife crisis? Research suggests that a true midlife crisis happens to less than one person in 10 and happens to those with certain types of personalities and psychological makeup. For example, people who aren’t good at introspection – looking at themselves closely – are prone to true mid-life crises.
  3. What triggers them? Many people between 40 and 60 experience a traumatic event that causes them to take serious account of their lives (ie. divorce or a bankruptcy), but only about 15 people in every 100 react in “crisis” mode, according to one study.
  4. What age do they occur? Age is not the major factor in creating a “midlife crisis.” They can happen to people in their thirties as well as fifties, though the latter is more typical.
  5. How long do they last? A true midlife crisis might last up to 10 years for a man, about half as long for a woman… Yes, women can have them as well!

Socrates said that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That we at some point in life should reflect on what ours is about hardly seems a problem. Perhaps we’re dismayed that it has taken us so long to actually do so! And, that we would then set about to change some things that have the potential to alter the outcomes we most value seems healthy, if not at least reasonable.


Let’s think more in terms of transitions rather than crises. It reflects more closely the reality of life as it is actually lived and reaffirms a framework for moving forward into the next season of our lives.


Read Part 2  |  Read Part 3

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