Midlife crisis; a challenging stage of adulthood

Midlife crisis is basically a combination of bothpsychological and behavioral changes that commonly occur to someone in their middle adulthood age.

Midlife crisis is basically a combination of bothpsychological and behavioral changes that commonly occur to someone in their middle adulthood age.

A mid-life crisis involves a combination of factors one’s life. These can include; somepending difficulties from the past, dissatisfaction with the present achievements in ones life, fear of the less opportunities in the future or one fears the effects of aging. Both men and women are affected by this stage of growth. It commonly occurs at around the age of 40-45 years and usually lasts for about 5 years in women and 10 years in men

Everyone reacts differently towards this period of life. For some people, asense of restlessness, depression, sense of uselessness despite many positive achievements in their lives, and all these feelings aren’t attributed to any single specific cause.

One may feel an urge to destroy what they have achieved in the past, may leave their jobs, break family ties and relationships in the process of trying to be the kind of person they feel they need to be and to lead amore contented and fulfilling life. Other people feel fearful about leaving their youth behind them.

There is no exact cause of midlife crisis, and hence vary across individuals. Commonest causes include; change in physical appearance as one ages, high standard of living as most women are unable to do certain jobs at the age of above 40 years, awareness of death as one age, change in roles played by the woman at home as the children age start to stay at school breaking the strong ties with their mothers. Around 30% of relationship break ups are around age of 40-60 years since most relationships are cemented by child rearing and hence are at risk of failing when this bond diminishes, as the children leave home for school. Menopausal changes also start to set in at around this age and can aggravate midlife crisis.

One can cope with all these midlife crisis challenges in various ways such as; Reassessing one’s life at that stage and focusing on the positives achieved in life, and doing all they can to protect what they have built up to that age. This can be done by restraining from any ideas that would lead to such losses in life.

This is a stage in life when one can plan for the future as many people acquire wisdom,maturity and self-confidence that was distinctly lacking in earlier life since most of their youthful time is spent on raising their children. Mid-life can provide tremendous opportunities for personal growth and positive change

Couple counseling, talking through the challenges being faced helps in overcoming some of these challenges. Doing a self-assessment and identifying the positives achieved, taking good care of oneself, self-love coupled with acceptance of the challenges faced at this stage of life will give a better outcome and help one to live a normal and developmental life throughout this stage.

Dr. Ian Shyaka is a

General Practitioner at Rwanda Military Hospital


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