How to survive the turning point of your life, analyze the results of achievements and find new ways of development? How to realize your place in life and move forward towards success?
The midlife crisis is not the arrival of old age, but a turning point in life. The time when we reap the first fruits of our achievements and look for new ways of development. In order not to get depressed, you need to get to know the enemy in the face and learn how to deal with him.
At the origin
Discussions about the midlife crisis can be found in the monographs of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung and the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Both noted that at a certain stage in life, it is common for a person to think about reassessing values. In the middle of the last century, the largest American sociopsychologist Daniel Levinson defined the midlife crisis as "a state of deep physiological and psychological stress." But the official terminological status "midlife crisis" received only thanks to the Canadian psychologist Jacques Elliot, who first used it in 1965.
The course of the middle-aged crisis is described in different ways, but most experts agree with the stages proposed by the American and Swiss analyst Murray Stein. Conventionally, they can be called "death", "rethinking" and "rebirth".
At the first stage, a person has a feeling of irreparable loss, which may be associated, for example, with the loss of parents. On the second, uncertainty arises, which is accompanied by numerous questions about the effectiveness of the years lived and attempts to realize their place in life. On the third, a new meaning is acquired. Psychologists do not undertake to determine the boundaries of the stages, warning: if a person is ineffectively living through the crisis, the stages-states can return. It is recommended to pay special attention to the second stage: the search for answers and the formation of a new consciousness take time.
Jung, Vygotsky, and Levinson all believed that the midlife crisis was a predominantly male problem. But modern science erases gender stereotypes. Midlife crisis is no longer exclusively a male prerogative. Researcher of the characteristics of transitional moments in human life, Dr. Dan Jones believes that the crisis occurs in men and women in different ways. While men predominantly assess the level of success through professional achievements, women rely on personal relationships and their own solvency in the role of wife and mother. True, even women who have devoted themselves to the family often fail to avoid a crisis. The loss of former attractiveness is another reason for the emergence of the mid-life crisis, and not only among women.
When to expect?
If Jung and Vygotsky gave very vague age boundaries of the crisis (from 35 to 60 years), then Levinson, who actively studied various age crises, limited the time frame. He believed that the crisis occurs "at the stage of transition to middle adulthood," which occurs at 40-45 years. In the modern world, both men and women aged 25 to 50 go through a "midlife crisis", while in Russia, where life expectancy is shorter than in Europe, most of the population goes through a midlife crisis at 30-40 years …
Myth or Reality?
Most modern psychologists believe that all people, without exception, are going through a midlife crisis. It's just that people who are temperamental and prone to reflection go through this period more painfully, while others do not notice it at all. Modern science generally prefers not to use the term "crisis", calling it a "transition period", since this period can be accompanied by both serious depression and significant personal growth. American psychologist Joan Sherman, for example, is sure that the path that a person chooses after a crisis depends on numerous factors, including the support of loved ones.
Scientists from Tel Aviv University, led by Carlo Strenger, are convinced that middle age is the moment when the "second wind" should open. This time is perfect for self-development, setting new goals and realizing them.
Israeli scientists refute the notion that the brain capacity of a 40-year-old person is beginning to deteriorate. It is at this age that life can be full of rich events and activities for which there was simply no time before. To overcome the crisis, according to Professor Strenger, will help the awareness of the possibility of improving one's life, building personal plans, knowing oneself and searching for strengths, which, however, may not meet the expectations of others. Finally, the one who is not afraid of difficulties and is guided in choosing a new path by his own experience and knowledge, and not by blind ambitions, will be able to overcome the crisis. James Hollis, in his book Midway Pass, speaks of the unique opportunity that a person gets. It allows you to make the second part of life more exciting and interesting.
Know the enemy by sight
Appetite disorders, drowsiness, feelings of hopelessness and pessimism, irritability and anxiety, guilt, loss of interest in what is happening - these symptoms may indicate the onset of a midlife crisis. Thoughts about the illusory nature of a life lived, about unfulfilled plans, a not found vocation, about the fact that most of life has remained in the past lead to despondency, emptiness, self-pity and other negative emotional experiences. Modern domestic and foreign psychologists give different descriptions of ways out of the crisis, while the majority are sure that it is possible to prepare for the crisis in advance. Healthy food, good active rest, a new hobby - all this can help to adequately endure the "blow". Given that the age range of the onset of the crisis is extremely blurred, preparation should begin as early as adolescence.