When he was thirty-five Jimmy Patel had a mid-life crisis. Objectively, he was a successful Businessman living in Richmond, London, who migrated from India about 20 years back with his parents.
Now running a successful chain of restaurants inherited from his father. To everybody, he was an accomplished man and a father of two healthy school going kids. With a lavish lifestyle one fine day suddenly, his existence seemed unsatisfying to himself. For a couple of days, he started asking himself “Where am I going with my life?”.
Looking inward, he felt “a disconcerting mixture of nostalgia, regret, emptiness, and fear” and looking into the mirror he no longer recognized himself.
Yes, this is a tell-tale sign of mid-life crisis. This is the signals you might be experiencing Mid-Life Crisis. Unfortunately, this not only happens with people like Jimmy only, it has been observed in many peoples’ lives from every stratum of life including women.
At times everything comes to a stand-still at mid-life: The empty nest, menopause, affairs, and growing unhappiness with the daily grind. That red convertible looks tantalizingly good. You tally your failures and disappointments and cannot muster an iota of gratitude.
The term mid-life crisis was coined by Elliott Jaques in 1965.
According to Wikipedia: A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle-aged individuals….The phenomenon is described as a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly shortcomings of accomplishments in life. This may produce feelings of depression, remorse, and anxiety, or the desire to achieve youthfulness or make drastic changes to current lifestyle.
It is important to understand the difference between a mid-life crisis and a mid-life stressor. An article in Personal Tao explains: A midlife crisis is the attempt to restart life to better fit a person’s heart. Due to existing personal commitments, it’s a hard path to self-resolve the inner-conflict a person’s feels.
Experiencing a mid-life crisis is not about curing a set of symptoms. In other words, this isn’t something you go to a doctor for a treatment to cure; rather this represents a time of life when a person is looking for an education to expand their lives.
So, what are the symptoms of mid-life crisis? Here are 9 Signals You might be Experiencing Mid-Life Crisis:
1. You start disliking everything in your life:
You start feeling “blah” about everything on an ongoing basis. If you were once chasing your career blindly and was happy at home but now expressing restlessness or apathy, you might be headed for a mid-life crisis. There are usually one of two reasons for this: You hit the middle age and notice that many of your dreams have gone (and remain) unfulfilled. Or else you have accomplished so many career goals that now you wonder if there is anything left to do.
2. You notice your life is on auto-pilot mode:
Of late have you found yourself feeling like you’re running on autopilot with no goal in sight? When you find yourself asking why, wondering how you got here, or not wanting to get out of bed every morning, it’s a sure sign change needs to be in your future.
When this happens within a marriage or relationship, it’s common for women to comfort themselves by thinking it’s just a phase. But experts say that’s a mistake. “There is a tendency to ignore, dismiss or deny the signals at this time, hoping they will go away,” according to Lifematters.com.
3. You are thinking about (or already) having an affair:
This may turn to be one of the painful results of a midlife crisis. Jim Conway, psychologist, and co-founder of Midlife Dimensions, a group that offers counseling and support to midlife couples and their children, says that midlife men often “turn tender” and start to focus more on people and feelings, but ironically some marriages suffer for it.
Some psychologists believe men’s mid-life crisis is a psychological reaction to the imminent menopause and end of a reproductive career of their spouses. Their genes may be influencing men to be more attracted to reproductive women, and less attached to their non-reproductive spouses. But it is not always true in all cases.
4. You are suddenly making impetuous decisions about your money and/or your career:
Do you find yourself spending more time analyzing other people’s past than thinking about your future? As the years roll by, sometimes you are overwhelmed by the time you have left to live out your dreams and create your best life. This often results in the burning desire to “buy the car!” or “sell the house!” like your successful neighbours.
Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good now which was not your natural habit earlier are also signals you are experiencing Mid-Life Crisis.
This sudden change of attitude comes from feeling discontent with one’s life or lifestyle including people and activities which may have, at one time, provided more fulfillment. A deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished and a fear of humiliation among more successful colleagues starts gnawing your mind.
5. You experience an indomitable urge to make a dramatic change in personal style or appearance and physical fitness:
Are you feeling an indomitable urge to make a dramatic change in your personal style or appearance and physical fitness? Looking after hitting the gym and knock a physical shape in the 40s that was impossible even in your 20s?
At midlife, some men start to ponder “what if,” and they question their past decisions. The unfortunate thing about nostalgia, though, is that everyone seems to see the past through rose-coloured glasses. A constant heightened longing to achieve a feeling of youthfulness signals you might be experiencing Mid-Life Crisis.
6. You are hanging out with a different generation, as their energy and ideas now stimulate you more:
Now this signals you are experiencing Mid-Life Crisis may come to you in different ways. You may desire for physical -Free Flowing- movement (Running, Biking, Dance, Fast red sports cars, Skydiving, etc.).
You may suddenly be having urges exploring new musical tastes or have a sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument which you fancied in your youth. Or you start hobnobbing with a person of opposite sex who is, say around 15-20 years younger your age.
Making out-of-character life changes could be a sign of mid-life crisis. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it’s a time for you for taking stock, re-evaluating your life, and making positive changes. Or else you are trying to catch up with your golden past or lost dreams.
7. You feel you have lost your purpose in life:
You suddenly feel like there is no purpose in your life, or there is a bigger purpose than what your day-to-day life currently offers. The newer pursuit of finding a purpose can be downward spiralling. A deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished can haunt you down.
Erikson believed that in this stage adults begin to understand the pressure of being committed to improving the lives of generations to come. In this stage, a person realizes the inevitability of mortality and the virtue of this stage is the creating of a better world for future generations for the human race to grow.
8. You are displaying the classic signs of depression — sleeping more, loss of appetite, malaise:
When life and work aren’t working, you fall into the trap of continuously checking in with your strengths and values. Often that feeling of, “Is this all there is?” occurs when you drift off center.
You have a growing sense that you’ve seen this life and it’s end too many times already. Feeling confused about your life’s direction can mean that you are no longer satisfied with what you are now doing or where you are.
You may still be very good in terms of success in life, but you’re not connecting how this all is helping you get where you want to go. This could be a sign that you lost that edge you once had. You are making decisions based on fear, not from a certainty. Wanting to run away to somewhere new and unable to take directions towards that signals you might be experiencing Mid-Life Crisis.
9. You experience unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy:
Unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy signals you might experiencing Mid-Life Crisis. Unexpected change of your habits, activities which used to bring you pleasure now it seems boring to you and you are now unable to complete or concentrate on tasks which used to be easy are signals you might be experiencing Mid-Life Crisis.
You get to a point in your lives in the middle age where you are known for what you do (a strength) and people rely on you to do it (a need). Why the crisis? You are now missing the passion. When you have a need that intersects with a strength, but you lack passion, it is called a “chore.”
Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities, feeling trapped in current family relationships, desiring to quit a good old job may lead to such a situation. Are you getting into the trap of loving to get hurt? As a result, encountering a mid-life crisis can easily tempt you to walk away from a steady career deemed successful by society, to pursue passion and live out your dreams.
If you find yourself debating which next step to take to improve your personal and professional life more than you are engaged in finding any concrete answers, it is time to change your behaviour.
Modern western lifestyles are based on chasing dollars and goals rather than supporting the truth of life. People are so focused looking forward to their next paycheck that they forget that life can be meaningful in many other ways. Sadly, this way of looking at the problem regarding finance means just doing nothing to solve the real crisis and expands the signals you might be experiencing Mid-Life Crisis instead!