Am I Doomed for a Midlife Crisis?

Midlife is fast approaching and you notice that a lot of guys you know between the ages of 45-55 seem to be acting, well, a bit unusual. They may be sporting a new younger hairstyle or clothing choices or maybe they are suddenly reverting to their adolescent personas. Some may be becoming the butt of jokes around the office about their “midlife crisis,” while others may actually be ruining certain aspects of their lives. If these otherwise “normal” guys are acting so strangely, you may be wondering if a midlife crisis is inevitable.

The statistics are clear: about 85-90% of men in this age range do seem to experience some sort of upheaval. They may begin to question their past choices, or fall into the trap of boredom and complacency. Both can leave a guy thirsting for ways to reignite the excitement in their lives – and that can be dangerous!

Just because you find yourself taking stock of your life doesn’t have to send you into a tailspin. The good news is that while revaluating your life is normal at this age, only about 15% of midlife men are actually considered to have a full meltdown. Still, any time a man begins to question his happiness, turmoil may result.

So what is midlife turmoil all about? Basically, it is the feeling that your life should offer more. Maybe you had dreams and plans that got sidetracked over the years or you have been lucky enough to accomplish your goals only to be left wondering “what next?” This conflict between expectations and reality can send some men reeling off the deep end, desperate to find the “it” he longs for, no matter what the cost.

We have all seen the stereotypical midlife crisis man on TV. He is an older, balding gentleman that usually sports a thicker middle. Bored with his life as it is, he goes out and buys some new clothes (that rarely fit well); or maybe he buys a motorcycle and begins acting like a teenager again. The most common signs of a midlife crisis are of course the affair with the younger woman. Bored with his sex life, he goes out looking for a better, more interesting and a younger mate, thinking that more and better sex is going to solve all of his problems and make him feel better about his life. It rarely does.

Quitting your job or cheating on your wife rarely offers the freedom that the middle age man craves. Overwhelmed by responsibility and seeking a way out, the middle aged man begins to act uncharacteristic, looking for anything that will make him feel better about his life and himself. The results can be disastrous.

Recent reports show that drug abuse among the 45-60 crowd is growing. Alcohol abuse is also widespread amongst this age group. To make matters worse, suicide rates among middle age men is higher today than ever before in history! The mid life crisis is indeed becoming a real crisis that is not only endangering a man’s self worth, careers and marriages, but his life as well!

Does all this mean that you are doomed to fall victim to a midlife crisis if you are between the ages of 40 and 60? Of course not! Just because you reach a point in your life where you want to make a few changes doesn’t mean you have to buy a sports car or have an affair. Understanding that this is a time of immense change (both physically and emotionally) can help you stave off a real crisis. Acknowledging these changes and finding ways to create a more fulfilling future without simply grabbing at whatever feels good in the moment can help you overcome the negative emotions middle agers must deal with and create a new and better life right now.

What are some of the signs of the middle age crisis that you should be aware (and wary) of?

  • a deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished
  • a longing to look and feel young again
  • a need to spend more time alone or with new friends
  • uncharacteristic behavior (or spending)
  • resentment and anger ( especially to anyone the man feels holds him back)
  • feelings of discontent at wok; home; and in your relationships
  • a heightened sense of sexuality (or lack of it)
  • a sudden or drastic change of appearance
  • entering relationships with younger people

Watching for these signs can help you recognize danger areas that you should stay clear of. Recognizing certain patterns can help you find more appropriate ways of handling your feelings and making the changes necessary to overcome the sudden urge to break free and discover all of the wonderful things that middle age can offer.

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