You’ve seen him, the 50-year-old guy who should have silver hair but it’s dyed jet black, and he’s driving around in a very impractical red convertible. Maybe he even has a too-young-for-him pretty woman in the passenger seat next to him.
“Oh yeah,” you think. “This guy is having a midlife crisis.”
The phrase has become somewhat of a joke in our society. What exactly does it even mean? Basically a midlife crisis is when a middle aged person has a bit of an identity crisis and sometimes acts out in an interesting way, such as the example of the 50-year-old man.
The idea of the midlife crisis was first coined in 1965 by Elliot Jaques and has since been used by many other psychologists for years. The term is used to describe what happens to people as they realize that their youth is escaping them, and they have one last chance to make their mark before old age sets in.
For some reason, many people find old age to be scary; they miss being young and doing what they feel like on a whim. Perhaps middle aged people arrive at a midlife crisis because they have been responsible for so long, and they find that they do miss the carefree life. At this stage in life, their children may be grown, and so they may even feel like they have the freedom to let loose a little. To live a little. To take some risks. They may also finally have some extra money to spend.
Not everyone goes through a midlife crisis, though many have their own version at one point or another in their lives. It’s pretty normal, according to psychologists, as the transition to the older years. It may also be a time when they realize what they have or haven’t done in their lives, and rush to follow their dreams. Because it’s now or never.
1. General restlessness
It’s normal to feel restless from time to time, but if you have felt really restless about your life for several weeks, and you feel like making a huge change, you could be going through a midlife crisis.
2. Big change in appearance
As we age, our bodies just aren’t what they used to be. And especially in middle age we tend to panic when the wrinkles and other ailments take over. We sometimes feel like we are not even in control of things anymore. So if you are making a big chance in your appearance, then you might be going through a midlife crisis. Major hair cut and/or dye, nose job, boob job, grow a beard, completely change how you dress, fake eyelashes, etc.
3. Changes in sleeping habits
When we are reevaluating our lives, sometimes we overthink everything and as a result can’t sleep. Or we could also be depressed and sleep too much. If you’ve had a big change in your sleeping habits lately, you may be going through a midlife crisis.
4. Possible career change
Even if you have spent years building a career that you love, if you are contemplating a career change, then you might be going through a midlife crisis. Perhaps you want something completely different just to see if you can do it, or you feel like you can take a risk and quit your job and start your own business.
5. Increased risky behavior
You may be throwing caution to the wind right now. If you’re out drinking more often, maybe even contemplating an affair despite a happy marriage, or participating in activities that may be a bit more risky, you might be going through a midlife crisis.
6. Making new friends
It’s not that you don’t like your current friends—it’s just that you want a change. You are open to new experiences and new people. You are maybe out more and interacting with new people. Perhaps even people much younger than you, who bring you more energy and the different perspective you are looking for. If you find more people in your life now, you might be going through a midlife crisis.
7. Feeling the need to get out of town
If your surroundings are just bothering you and you keep hopping online to check airline prices, you might be going through a midlife crisis. A trip somewhere you’ve never been to before may be just the thing you need to see new things, think about your life, let loose a little, go zip lining, and find out what you want in the next phase of life.