“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” ~ Lucille Ball
Do not let a midlife crisis creep on you. Here are the common signs to watch out for:
1. Are you unhappy in your relationship? Have you been distancing yourself emotionally and physically from your partner?
2. Do you often think about quitting your job and have frequent daydreams about how great retirement will be, even if you can’t afford to retire at this time?
“Middle age is when everything starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.”
3. Have you been feeling depressed and struggling with a sense of emptiness for long periods of time with no relief?
4. Do you have thoughts of totally starting over somewhere else and living a whole new life without the people who are presently a part of your world?
“Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men.”
5. Are you feeling increasingly irritable and having a much lower frustration tolerance for your family and friends? Are you easily offended and annoyed by things that didn’t used to bother you?
6. Are you seeking adventure and excitement, but not sure where to find it? Are you wanting an increased sense of independence and freedom?
“You know you are getting old when you go to bed before your kids.”
7. Are you acting recklessly, like driving your car too fast? Are you acting the same way you did as a teenager? Are engaging in impulsive behaviors? Are you dressing like your daughter? Spending your time with people half your age?
8. Have you gained a lot of weight? Are you eating a lot of junk food? Or have you gone to the other extreme and lost a lot of weight, lost interest in food or gone on crash diets? Are you obsessively exercising? Are you obsessing about your appearance? Are you considering plastic surgery to look younger?
“Inside every older person is a young person wondering what happened?”
9. Are you questioning your religious and spiritual beliefs? Are you seeking a deeper connection to spirituality?
9. Do you feel detached? Have you stopped engaging in activities that you once enjoyed with your spouse, friends or coworkers? Have you lost interest in hobbies that you used to love and they now feel meaningless or boring?
“The secret to staying young is to find an age you really like and stick with it.”
10. Do you keep thinking about running away or taking a break even if you have responsibilities that keep you from doing so? For example, is it hard to imagine finding satisfaction in being a father or husband anymore?
11. Do you find yourself constantly thinking about your mortality, the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life?
“To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.” ~ Bernard M. Baruch
12. Are you flirting with the idea of having an affair or have you started one? Are you spending inordinate amounts of time on your computer engaged in online chats with strangers?
13. Are you making sexual gestures towards others — a young female co-worker, your daughter’s ballet teacher, a guy you met at a bar — seeking their attention even when it feels inappropriate?
“You’re only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.”
15. Are you drinking too much, often by yourself?
16. Are you overusing prescription or recreational drugs?
“Age is a matter of mind and if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!”
I recently talked with Tony Langstaff who is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at The Better Mood Clinic and he said, “During our mid-life stage, many of us find ourselves staring in the mirror and looking at the dissonance between where we are compared to where we thought we would be. We may perceive there to be a gap, a hole, an inner longing, a missed relationship, or a desire to go back to when life was different, easier, or more exciting. The mid-life crisis is not something new with the advent of internet and social media; however, it has exacerbated an already skewed perception.” He went on to say “These moments do not always have to be negative, life altering, or catastrophic. They only have to disrupt the balance we need to feel secure and have grown accustomed to. At times, when these shifts in life happen, we may begin to philosophize about past, present, and future.” When the thoughts of “what could have been” or “where I could be now if only…” occur, it sets one up to have a midlife crisis.
Stay tuned for the next installment where we will lay out the principles on: How To Avoid A Midlife Crisis.
Mark Webb is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice at South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center in Valdosta. He is the author of How To Be A Great Partner. Mark has been in the field of helping individuals and couples since 1986. He has a vast amount of experience and he can have a very positive impact on your life and your relationship. If you are looking for individual or marriage counseling, please call his office in Valdosta, Georgia and his staff will help you set up an appointment.
South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center
2704 N. Oak St. Blg B-3
Valdosta, Georgia 31602