IN THE SAME BREATH and from the same newspaper Huffingtonpost, here are signs that you may be going through a midlife crisis. Then again, these signs and everything they say about middle age might all be a myth. Two viewpoints given, believe what you will.
First, here are…
The Top 10 Signs of a Midlife Crisis:
1. A growing sense of regret over unattained goals.
2. New feelings of self-consciousness around more successful colleagues.
3. A new emphasis on remaining youthful when the effort previously seemed unimportant.
4. A desire to spend more time alone or with certain peers who could be characterised as “youthful” or “comfortable in their own skin”.
5. A new-found tendency to abuse alcohol.
6. Placing importance on acquiring unusual or expensive items when such purchases could previously have been described as frivolous or impulsive.
7. A sharp increase in self-criticism with a correlating decline in self-compassion.
8. Obsessing over one’s physical appearance when similar attention was previously unpaid.
9. Placing unusual amounts of pressure and stress on one’s children to excel in a variety of fields
10. Entering relationships with younger partners
The 7 Myths of Middle Age
These myths are based on research done in the UK. In Asia, or more specifically in Malaysia, the percentage of midlife crisis among the middle-aged (as seen in Myth No: 1) is probably way, way higher than 10%. But we will never know.
If you’ve never questioned yourself at all, or had a worry about where your life is heading as you face the second half of your life, then the research below is probably true of Malaysia too.
According to Huffingtonpost:
Research shows that midlife crisis is largely fiction. People in their 20s and 30s are more likely to experience the kind of “crisis” associated with middle age. Only an estimated 10% of middle aged people have the classic midlife crisis.
Myth 2: The Empty Nest Syndrome
Researchers have found no evidence of the so-called Empty Nest Syndrome. Many parents relish and enjoy the transition, taking pride in the fact that all their child-rearing efforts have paid off, and their offspring are on the road to accomplishing their goals.
Myth 3: The Trophy Wife
Men don’t abandon their middle-aged partners for younger trophy wives as the stereotype suggests. Most marriages break up in the first eight years. The recent rise in divorce among the middle-aged is because second unions are breaking up (usually within the first eight years of marriage).
Myth 4: Menopause Stinks
Hot flashes aside, nearly 62% of women in one survey said they felt “only relief” when their periods stopped, while fewer than 2% said they felt “only regret”.
Myth 5: The Death of Libido
Despite the latest hype about testosterone supplements, low sex drive, depression and sagging energy levels, a lowered libido is more likely to be caused by stress, poor eating habits and laziness in midlife than lower hormone levels. Meanwhile, many researchers think that warnings about female sexual dysfunction in middle age are highly exaggerated. What may account for women’s flagging sexual life is that they are less likely to have a regular partner than men.
Myth 6: Health Inevitably Declines
It turns out, age is about attitude. Research has found that believing that you can improve your health in middle age actually improves it. A sense of control in midlife can dramatically reduce disability and preserve one’s health and independence later in life.
Myth 7: Happiness Plummets
The truth is just the opposite. Many people view midlife as their happiest period. Several surveys have found that while happiness dips in the 40s, people start to feel more content with life after the age of 50.