Midlife Crisis: Fact or Fiction?

by Marla Bollak on May 6, 2011

Midlife Crisis: Fact or Fiction?

photo by Kongsky

I came across a recent article on CBS News online. Headline reads: ‘Researchers: Midlife crisis is a myth.” According to the article, researches say that midlife crises are not common. While some mid-lifers experience a crisis, not so many do. I guess the researchers didn’t actually know how many… at least the article didn’t say. Furthermore, the researchers assert, a crisis can occur at any time of life. Not exactly breaking news.

My Take on the Midlife Crisis

  • People experience crises at any time of life.
  • Not everyone experiences a crisis at midlife.
  • Crises that people experience at midlife are distinctly different than those they experience during, let’s say, adolescence. I’m generalizing here, and I am assuming somewhat normal development, as opposed to the person who gets stuck in adolescence – or anywhere else.
  • Crises that people experience during midlife have striking similarities to each other, including but not limited to:
    • The realization that mortality, at least in our lifetime, exists, and a heightened sense that the clock is ticking.
    • A keen sense that mistakes were made, opportunities missed, and people got hurt.
    • Disappointment in some form or another.
    • A sense of loss of one thing or another.

The Flip Side of the Midlife Crisis

You have something that you didn’t have when you were an adolescent (besides the extra weight around your middle):

  • A motivating sense of urgency.
  • Perspective and a chance to mend yourself, and mend fences.
  • The opportunity to reflect on half a lifetime of experience; to learn from mistakes made, and maybe openness to the idea that maybe – just maybe – there really are no mistakes.
  • The maturity to accept your past as you learn to accept yourself.

So, Midlife Crisis –  Hard boiled Fact or Fanciful Fiction?

Corollary question – What’s a researcher? I do research. Am I a researcher?

Image: kongsky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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