MidLife Crisis Articles
You may have heard the term “mid-life crisis,” often used to describe significant changes made in middle life, around 40 to 50. You might imagine an older couple getting a new car to look young or an impulsive divorce. While these ideas can be true, a mid-life crisis often involves making drastic changes to your life based on the belief that you are “running out of time” to make grand decisions in your life.
Below are several articles about the mid-life crisis phenomenon. In these articles, you can learn more about the unique challenges that might occur in one’s middle age and how to cope with these years. You can also learn what might be joyful or fun about middle age and how to find support if you are struggling with a mental health challenge.
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Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
A mid-life crisis occurs when transitioning from the first part of your life into the latter years. When some people are young, they may be more open to doing whatever they want without much commitment. They may be more carefree or take on new adventures.
As people enter their 30s and 40s, taking risks and being carefree may become more complex. They may have children, a demanding job, or other responsibilities that make living freely difficult. These responsibilities may take precedence over believing you can do anything or are “on top of the world.” When you reach the middle of your life, you may begin to crave that freedom again. A mid-life crisis is the realization of these dreams and the drastic change in one’s life that may result.
What Is A Mid-Life Crisis?
A mid-life crisis happens when you believe you are missing out. You may want to experience everything but believe time is “running out.” You may hear the term “mid-life crisis” and think of a man who buys a new red convertible dream car because he wants to feel young or is taking a risk. A mid-life crisis may make you believe it’s time to follow dreams you previously may have brushed off.
Realizing your life is not forever may cause this sensation. It could also cause anxiety, panic, or a sense of urgency. Whether you take a trip, divorce, or ditch your career for something new, you’re not alone in your desires.
Identity And Mid-Life Crises
Some people start to have a sense of being trapped by the confines of societal expectations when they reach middle age. They might believe they are stuck in their career until they retire. They may want to achieve the goals set out for themselves years ago but have forgotten about it. The anxiety they experience could result in a mid-life crisis to find out who they are before they no longer have a chance to explore their identity. This period may also prompt people to reconsider their sexuality or gender identity, with studies showing more people coming out during mid-life.
What Does Someone Do When They Experience A Midlife Crisis?
Each person reacts to a mid-life crisis uniquely. There’s no one way to have a midlife crisis. A person might shave their head, sell their house, get a giant tattoo, or go 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 is questioning who they are. They explore their identity by embarking on new adventures in life to have a more free-spirited sense of who they are. Some might refer to this process as “returning to their inner child.”
Returning to Adolescent Years
When you’re a teenager, you explore your identity and discover yourself. Your identity may solidify as you learn who you are as an adult. Life may be less carefree than before. A mid-life crisis might seem like returning to adolescence. You may believe there’s a part of yourself left untapped and unexplored. Maybe you develop 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 might not understand why you have a sense of being stir-crazy or stagnant. Talking about these feelings and thoughts in counseling may be helpful, as well as reading articles about the mid-life experiences of others.
During mid-life, you might not be interested in setting up appointments with an in-person therapist. In these cases, you may prefer online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp.
Through an online platform, you can discuss mid-life and any challenges that arise without judgment from the safety of any location with an internet connection. In addition, you can choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions and send messages to your therapist throughout the week outside of sessions.
Studies also back up the effectiveness of online counseling. One review of 17 studies found that online therapy was more effective than in-person options for people living with depression, which can be a common mental health condition in older life. However, you do not have to have a mental illness or diagnosis to partake in therapy.
Mid-life can cause several unique challenges, including potential mid-life crises. To learn more about what constitutes this life stage, consider reading the above articles and reaching out to a mental health professional for support.