We’ve all heard the term mid-life crisis. We imagine a middle-aged man revving up his motorcycle, or a couple buying a new car to make themselves look young. While this does happen, in reality, the mid-life crisis usually revolves around our regrets. It often involves making drastic changes to your life based on the feeling that you are running out of time. Here you will find articles that talk more about the mid-life crisis phenomenon. What are its symptoms? What can someone do to help relieve their mid-life crisis? Is middle-age really all that bad, or is it some of the best years of your life? You can find these answers and much more.
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
A midlife crisis occurs when you are transitioning from the first part of your life into the latter years. When we’re young, we’re more apt to do whatever we want. We’re carefree, and take on new adventures. As we grow up, it becomes more difficult to take risks and to be carefree. We may have children, gotten a demanding job, or taken on other responsibilities that make it hard to live freely. These responsibilities may take precedence over feeling like you can do anything, and like you are on top of the world. When you reach the middle of your life, you begin to crave that freedom again. You want to feel carefree, and that’s where the midlife crisis comes in.
A midlife crisis happens when you feel like you are missing out on something. You want to experience everything, but feel like time is “running out.” You often hear the term “midlife crisis” and think of the man that buys his hot, new, red convertible dream car because he wants to feel young. He wants to feel like he is taking a risk. That’s what a midlife crisis is: it’s the feeling that you need to do all of the things that you want to before you leave this world. You realizing that one day you won’t be here, so you experience a sense of panic and urgency paired with the desire to make sure that you get the most out of your life. Whether that’s taking a trip to Bermuda or buying a convertible, that is the nature of a midlife crisis.
People may begin to feel trapped by the confines of societal expectations. They might feel stuck in their career until they retire. They may want to achieve the goals that were set out for themselves years ago but have forgotten about, and so they start to get anxious. The anxiety they experience results in a mid-life crisis. They want to find out who they are before they don’t have a chance to explore those identity issues any longer.
Each person reacts to a mid-life crisis in a unique way. There’s no one way to have a midlife crisis. A person experiencing one could respond to many ways. They might do something drastic that no one saw coming like shaving their head, selling their house, getting a giant tattoo or going on a trip around the world. They may change careers, get a divorce, or go on a reckless spending spree. No one action defines a midlife crisis. The point is that an individual is experiencing some identity crisis, and they are questioning who they are. They explore their identity by embarking on new adventures in life to feel like a free-spirited version of themselves.
Returning to Adolescent Years
When you’re a teenager, you explore your identity and discover who you are. Then, you enter adulthood, and your identity solidifies. Life is a little less carefree than before. There’s something similar to this feeling that occurs during a midlife crisis. You feel that there’s a part of yourself that is untapped and unexplored. Maybe, you even develop new thrill-seeking urges that you’ve never had before. You might not know what you want to do in this next chapter of your life and you might not understand why you’re feeling stir-crazy or stagnant. Talking about these feelings and thoughts in counseling can be helpful.
How Therapy Can Help
Whether you’re talking to an online therapy or a mental health professional in your local area, it’s important to discuss your experiences during a midlife crisis because you do not want to make drastic actions or mistakes that could negatively affect you or your family. Talking to a therapist or counselor in online gives you a place to discuss what’s changing within you before you make any lasting decisions. Search through the network of counselors and therapists at BetterHelp who can help you through this challenging time.