We all have some sort of idea what a mid life crisis is, but what is it really? It seems to be different for men and women, and not everyone experiences it either. Young adults enter into middle adulthood dreading the changes they fear will change their lives. This is all very true, but perception is different from actuality, and many men and women find that once they accept that they can’t turn back time, all is well. Mid life crisis is not really a “crisis” for every middle aged adult, but it is a time to consider all the changes that really may play a significant role in future events. As we age our bodies naturally begin to physically deteriorate, we may have greater health needs, and we may also find ourselves caring for our elderly parents as well.
Mid life crisis occurs when conflicts revolving around career and marital issues may come to the surface, or thoughts of how leisure time is going to be spent. Money is a huge concern for some as well, because some retirees may not have the funds available to finance leisure activities and the lifestyle that they were accustomed to before retirement. Other common concerns that arise during a mid life crisis are whether or not the person felt they accomplished everything they wanted to do in their life, because they may feel that now they don’t have enough time left. This is quite common, and many people as they age only become more comfortable with death when they are comfortable with the decisions they have made in their lives. According to the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, mid life crisis is under the category of adjustment disorders, which is defined as “a maladaptive reaction to an identifiable psychosocial stressor(s)”, and it has even been suggested that a mid life crisis exists only in the imagination.
Individual experiences do vary, and adults all have similar yet very different events occurring in their lives at different times. Adults experience boredom or discontentment which leads them to question decisions they made in the past, and in what direction their life is now going. Coping with a mid life crisis can be a challenge for some, but it isn’t impossible. The adult finding him or herself in a crisis must learn to cope with inevitable changes, learn to get greater satisfaction from life, and focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity can heal mind, body, and spirit, which in the long run makes it much easier to deal with the mid life crisis at hand.