Monday, July 31, 2017

Midlife Crisis or Transition?



As a person grows older in years, things change within ourselves. It happens. It is going to happen. And, it will happen to everyone. Although women tend to get the most "press" about "the change", it happens to men too. Not everyone experiences the internal shift at the same age. If we did, we would be prepared for it; right?

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the highest rate of suicide occurs during middle-age; and particularly white men - who commit suicide 3.5 times more often than women. In 2015, middle-aged suicide rose to 19.6% (7 out of 10 of those were white men); while those 80 and over had the second highest rate at 19.4%. (U.S. statistics). 

If you are struggling, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at: 1-800-273-8255.

The shift itself is inevitable. We can have a midlife transition or a midlife crisis. How we approach it is up to each of us. However, we must keep in mind that aging, in and of itself, is a process. We started aging the day we were born, but throughout our youth, being old never really occurs to us as a reality ~ not even in our thirties and early forties.

There are approximately 20 million - read that again - 20 million people in the United States who are 45-64 years old. These are the Baby Boomers and the older Gen X. We are not alone in our process.

During middle-age, we start to question our beliefs and values. We come to the place in our lives where we see that the road ahead of us is getting shorter with each passing year. We start to behave in ways that are out of character; perhaps we decide to divorce our spouse, change jobs, or move to another community. We take on extra-martial affairs to prove that we are as good as we once were. Men tend to take on dangerous hobbies that tempt fate. Women engage in the fight to stop the aging process, behaving in more youthful manners or dressing like their younger counter-parts or resorting to cosmetic restoration.

Our physical bodies betray us. After years of work - trades or office - our bodies tend to wear down. Our parts don't move as easily as they once did. Our quick wit or problem resolution tends to slow. We react a bit slower than we used to. Some of us will be wearing glasses - bi-focals even, for the first time in our lives, because our eyes aren't as keen as they used to be. Perhaps we start buying books in large print if available.

No wonder people struggle. Our whole lives are thrown into upheaval. The shift affects every aspect of our lives: work, relationships, social, spiritual, physical, and emotional. 

The trick is to:

1.  Be aware that the shift is occurring; and

2.  Committing to positive aging;