What Does a Midlife Crisis Feel Like?
You feel restless, unhappy, angry, and frustrated all of the time. Nothing satisfies you and you are beginning to dream about quitting your job; selling your house; leaving your wife and well, just walking away from your life. Wait! Take one second to consider this: maybe your life isn’t half as bad right now as you think it is. Yes, maybe all of those feelings really are just in your head. Are you going crazy? Naw! But you may be in the danger of falling victim to the midlife crisis.
Statistics show that almost 90% of men between the ages of 44 and 60 experience some sort of upheaval in their lives sometime during this stage of life. Some create the chaos themselves; while other have it thrust upon them. Either way, life begins to lose its luster and you begin to feel as if changes – big changes – are needed in order to feel good again.
This is not the time to act on those impulses. Midlife angst can lead to some dangerous reactions like losing your job; moving across the country (or world); having an affair and more. Yes, change may be in the air, but take some time to reevaluate what change is good; and what could potentially ruin your life.
Midlife crisis seem to hit unexpectedly, but if you really pay attention you will likely recognize the initial signs of restlessness and dissatisfaction long before any strange behavior surfaces.
There are a lot of reasons why men tend to feel frustrated and unfulfilled during their middle years. A lot of it has to do with feeling overwhelmed with the changes going on in their lives. Maybe you are in your early 40’s with younger children in the house. Your time is not your own right now and you may feel like every day is a dizzying array of tasks and responsibilities. Or maybe your parents are getting older and need more help. This too can sap your time and energy. Older fellows may feel unbalanced simply because things at home and work are calming down. Their kids are off on their own, opening more free time in their schedule and maybe his role at work is suddenly more one of teacher and mentor than go getter. This can send some men into a tailspin.
Add to these normal lifestyle changes, changes in body image; energy levels; and even sex drive and a guy who once knew who he was may suddenly feel like a stranger in his own body – and life. If your not careful all of these changes can upset the norm to the point that a crisis hits.
Whether you are feeling a bit off balanced or you just want to avoid some of the pitfalls that middle age men often fall victim to, understanding what a midlife crisis feels like can help you stay focused and balanced during this dangerous time and keep your life moving forward in a safe and enjoyable way. So what are some of the things you may be struggling with right now?
- Changing Roles: as we grow older men are supposed to become more settled and secure. We become the teachers at home, work and even society. People turn to us for advice and guidance. This can be a real shock to the 40-something who still feels like a kid himself. Don’t let anyone push you into taking on a larger role in this area than you feel ready for. Otherwise you will become overwhelmed and frustrated.
- Expectations: when a man hits his 40’s and 50’s he suddenly begins to compare the dreams and aspirations of his youth with his accomplishments as an adult. If his life has taken too many detours he may begin to panic believing he will never fulfill his dreams – and that panic can send him reeling into a world of despair and unpredictability. If you are feeling lost set some tangible goals for the weeks and months ahead. Juts because you failed to fulfill a lifelong dream thus far does not mean it is not attainable. The trick to accomplishing it is not to jump headlong into something out of fear, but to approach it with focus, determination and a plan.
- Health & Body Changes: you look in the mirror and wonder who that guy is. Maybe you’ve lost a bit of your hair, or your stomach isn’t as flat as it used to be. Or maybe you find yourself enjoying a Sunday afternoon nap these days (ughh). The fact is that you are growing older and that is going to result in some changes. Your metabolism is slowing down and that may result in your gaining a few extra pounds and having less energy. The good news is that a lot of the physical changes you are experiencing can be stopped and even reversed – with some work of course.
- Work & Careers: You spend most of your adult life proving your value at work and then when you hit your prime, you find yourself competing against all of those younger fellows with your bright fresh ideas. Doesn’t anyone appreciate experience anymore? Of course they do. But your role at work is changing and unless your embrace your new role as leader, you are going to feel pushed aside and even become fearful of losing your job.
Change may be what causes a midlife crisis; but it can also be what pushes you toward new experiences. Life is a journey. When you recognize that change is at hand (and don’t fight it), you free yourself to enjoy the road ahead. You may be feeling unsettled right now and decide to make some changes. That’s fine. Just be sure to make rational ones rather than ones dictated by your fears and anxieties.
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