Avoid Your Mid-Life Crisis
Midlife crisis is something that happens to most individuals
somewhere around their 40s, where they expect their quality
of life to decline from that point forward. But Prof. Carlo Strenger
of Tel Aviv Universitys Department of Psychology believes
that adult lives really do have second acts and mid-life years are
the best time of life to flourish and grow.
What's a midlife crisis? It's the stuff of jokes and stereotypes
-- the time in life when you do outrageous, impractical things like
quit a job impulsively, buy a red sports car, or dump your spouse.
For years, midlife crisis conjured those images. But these days,
the old midlife crisis is more likely to be called a midlife transition
-- and it's not all bad.
The term crisis often doesn't fit, mental health experts say,
because while it can be accompanied by serious depression, it
can also mark a period of tremendous growth. The trick, of course,
is to realize when the transition is developing into depression
so you can get help.
"Somehow this line has been drawn around the mid and late
40s as the time for a mid-life crisis in our society," said
"But as people live longer and fuller lives, we have to
cast aside that stereotype and start thinking in terms of mid-life
transition rather than mid-life crisis.
"If you make fruitful use of what youve discovered
about yourself in the first half of your life the second half
can be the most fulfilling," he added. Studies have also
disproved the notion that brain deteriorates after 40. "A
rich and fruitful life after 50 is a much more realistic possibility,"
Strenger has given four tips to avoid a mid-life crisis. "First,
and most important invest some sincere thought in the fact that
you have more high-quality adult years ahead of you than behind
you. Realize what that means in planning for the future,"
Secondly think about what youve learned about yourself
so far. Consider what youve found to be your strongest abilities
and about the things that most please you, not what your parents
or society expected of you when you were young.
Thirdly, dont be afraid of daunting obstacles in making
new changes. "Once you realize how much time you have left
in this world, you will find it is profoundly worth it to invest
energy in changing in major ways. A new career choice is not an
unreasonable move, for example," Strenger added.
You may now have a better chance of succeeding, because your
choices will be based on knowledge and experience, rather than
youthful blind ambition.
And finally, it is absolutely necessary to make use of a support
network. Individuals should discuss major life changes with their
colleagues, friends and families.
The people who know you best will best be able to support you
in the new directions you want to take, he advises, and a professional
therapist or counsellor can also be helpful.
February 1, 2010