Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Midlife Crisis

"Life begins at 40!" That's what people used to say when they reach the age of forty years old.

In my humble opinion, those words have two meanings i.e. first, the person saying it is very optimistic about him/herself and his/her future, because he/she felt that he/she already has all the necessary knowledge and experiences for the future. Secondly, the said person is not confident at all in him/herself, and hesitate to face what lies ahead of him/her. People facing the 2nd condition can be described as having a Midlife Crisis.

I do not have an educational background in psychology, I only say and feel what I have read in books or website and from some people that I knew quite well.

The term Midlife Crisis is coined by Elliot Jaques in 1965 stating a time where people between the age of 40 and 60 years old come to realize their own mortality and how much time is left in their life. A Midlife Crisis is experienced by many people during the midlife transition when they realize that life may be more than halfway over. Sometimes a crisis can be triggered by transitions experienced in these years, such as andropause (men) or menopause (women), the death of parents or other causes of grief, unemployment, realizing that a job of a career is hated but not knowing how else to earn an equivalent living, or children leaving home. People may reassess their achievements in terms of their dreams. The result may be a desire to make significant changes in core aspects of day-to-day life or situation like career, work life balance, marriage, romantic relationships, large expenditures, or physical appearance.


Those experiencing a Midlife Crisis have some of these feelings :
1) Search of an undefined dream or goal
2) A deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished
3) A fear of humiliation among more successful colleagues
4) Desire to achieve a feeling of youthfulness
5) Need to spend more time alone or with certain peers

They also exhibit some of these behaviors :
1) Abuse of alcohol
2) Acquisition of unusual or expensive items such as motorbikes, boats, sport cars
3) Depression
4) Having remorse for one's wrong
5) Paying special attention to physical appearance such as baldness, clothes
6) Entering relationship with younger people (sexual or professional or parental)
7) Placing over importance on their children to excel in areas such as academics.

However, academic research in the USA since the 1980s rejects the notion of Midlife Crisis as a phase that most adults go through. In one study, less than 10% of people has psychological crisis due to their age or aging.

I wonder what would the result of similar study in Indonesia (if any) would be like.
But I have a lady friend who is 52 years old, a mother of two kids but still looks, feel and talk sexy, wear mini skirts and other sexy looking dresses. She is energetic and love to travel a lot, not menopause yet therefore still sexually active thanks to Yoga Pilates that she practiced regularly.

For me she is okay, as a matter of fact I like to be around her, but other men think that she wants to have some fun with them. Especially because she always go by her self and/or with friends inside or out of town. Her husband who is a few years older almost never accompany her.
She said that she love all the attention she go from men, and do not care what others think of her because actually she does not do bad things.


Painting: Courtesy of Arnet.

18 comments:

Munir said...

As far as feelings are concerned I can relate to #2 and # 3. Behavior - - - - -I do not match any. I am in my earlier sixties. The only regret I have is that I did not read enough when I was younger and right now it has become hard for me to follow a fiction book without reading a couple of times the preceding chapter to be able to remember.

Harry Nizam said...

@Munir,
As I mentioned this is just a theory which according to research in the US only around 10% of respondents face midlife crisis.
Thank your for your comment.

penyuluh perikanan said...

follow 1942 sukses kawan
terima kasih

munir ardi said...

wah saya semestinya siap-siap bang karena akan memasuki fase ini

Harry Nizam said...

@Penyuluh Periklanan,
Terima kasih kembali, kawan.

@Munir Ardi,
Itu tepri bang, karena penelitian di AS thn 1980an menunjukkan hanya 10% yang mengalami krisis tsb.

Daisy said...

I know a few people who have felt and done some of these things at that age, but not many, so I would guess 10 percent is probably true. Good post.

Harry Nizam said...

@Daisy,
I also hope that not many people or maximum 10% of them would face the crisis. Thanks

Linda said...

Nothing wrong with acting young! Also I think it is normal to reflect back on your life, probably a constructive thing to do as long as you are secure in your identity.

Harry Nizam said...

@Linda,
True indeed, as long as he/she feels secure and does not disturb other people there's no problem.
But somehow we have to pay attention to values upheld by the community where we live.

Luke Regler said...

Hi Harry, my life sorted restarted at 40. My house was burgled, I got married, I am now an expectant father, I moved house with the wife (stress aggrrhh) and thats only in the past 7 months.How much life is that?!
As for midlife crisis, I will let you know once the baby is out and about!!!

Harry Nizam said...

@Luke,
I believe that you are a man with secured identity and I am sure that you will be much better after the baby is born.

colson said...

I don't think there will be much difference between Indonesian social and psychological inconveniences (or even diseases) and those of the rest of the world today.

As for myself at forty - very log ago- I asked myself:

- do I want a new car? No
- do I want a new career? No
- do I want to move? No
- do I want a new wife? No

Okay,so I'm still pretty alive and kicking.No reason to worry. Let's carry on.

Harry Nizam said...

@Colson,
I never doubt that your integrity, Yes we must carry on no matter how hold we are, life must go on.
We must always do our very best to be positive in life.

Anonymous said...

Setiap manusia disadari atau tidak disadari akan mengalami krisis tersebut … oleh karena pengaruh pada hal2 yang tidak dapat di hindari seperti kemorosotan fisik dan sistem nilai masyarakat dan faktor psikologis … struktur kehidupan setiap orang di bentuk terutama oleh situasi atau lingkungan fisk dan sosialnya .. bagi mereka yang tidak menyadari akan perubahan dalam dirinya itu mungkin akan lebih stress dari pada mereka yang menyadari serta menerima perubahan sebagai realita yang harus di hadapi ..

Harry Nizam said...

@Anonymous,
Saya setuju dengan pendapat anda.
Lagi pula yang saya sebutkan disini adalah teori yang setelah diadakan survei tahnu 1980and di AS hanya 10% yang begitu.

Alangkah lebih baiknya kalau anda menyebutkan nama dan link anda supaya kita bisa jadi teman. Terima kasih.

Caitlin Arscott said...

Personally, I think the Acquisition of unusual or expensive items such as motorbikes, boats, sport cars can also be the optimistic person's way of enjoying his savings. My grandfather did the same, long before he retired, but we were all sure it wasn't midlife crisis. He just thought, "I'm getting old, I don't spend too much money on myself anymore, I have enough savings for your future. I just want our family to experience these before my time comes." And we think it's actually generous of him.

That's just an opinion, though. Thanks so much for this post!

Georgia Newbold said...

Thank you! I can now distinguish who among the 70's people are now experiencing this.

I agree with Caitlyn on the "enjoying" part. It's a time where most people ask "where am I going with my life?" and on their journey to find out, they try to enjoy what they have because they believe life's about to end soon. It's partly similar to the mentality of most hospice patients I know. As we all say, "Life is short."

Georgia Sheppard said...

My friend just turned to 40 last week and already observed some mild complications with her body, but she doesn’t see this as bad condition. Instead, she used this to become her inspiration for a better healthy living and visiting her doctor once twice a month.