Midlife Crisis: A Time of Change
Have you already turned 50? If you have, congratulations! In most cases, this means that you have had a lot of experiences, both good and bad, and obtained maturity. However, turning 50 can also bring along with it problems, concerns, and reflections.
We’re talking about the classic “midlife crisis.” About 82% of men will experience andropause at the age of 50, while the female population will also experience significant changes in every aspect.
A midlife crisis is not just men going out and buying a sports car or mountain bike. Most women find themselves undergoing big hormonal changes, as well. In addition, when a midlife crisis and adolescence happen to coexist within one home… watch out!
“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.”
The midlife crisis for women
In her book entitled “The Second Half of your Life”, Jill Shaw Ruddock explains that the hormones that once regulated everything in the female body begin to decrease after 50. This causes several different changes in the body. These then manifest in symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, and insomnia. Heart palpitations, a sense of disappointment, and the urge to cry are other symptoms.
For women, turning 50 can be like riding a roller coaster. During their “second half of life“, they reach the end of their fertile stage in terms of reproduction (menopause). The word menopause comes from the Greek “mens” which refers to monthly, and “pausi” which means cessation.
Dealing with midlife changes when there are still children at home
Times have changed. In the past, it was normal for children to be independent by the time their mothers turned 50. But reality is very different for some families today. Still having children at home can make a midlife crisis a more challenging process.
A good friend who’s 52 years old told me that one day she got out of bed and looked at herself in the mirror. She didn’t recognize herself. Her skin had lost elasticity and firmness due to decreasing estrogen levels. Her hair had become thinner and more fragile.
But not all is lost. In fact, nothing or very little may be lost. Being 50 now is not like it used to be. For example, think of Monica Bellucci getting attention around the world as “the new Bond girl“.
Another advantage is that when you reach the age of 50 (half a century!) the voices of doubt inside your head are silenced. The image women project and who they really are start to converge and women get more creative and ambitious. After the difficulties of midlife, many look to the future with renewed hope.
The midlife crisis and andropause
8 out of 10 men experience andropause, which is like the male version of menopause. Andropause also coincides with the age range of midlife crises in men. Some identifiable signs of andropause are as follows:
- Decreased sex drive, with the subsequent increase of erectile dysfunction.
- Dry hair and skin.
- Increased body fat and sweating.
- Muscle weakness and insomnia.
- High levels of irritability or anxiety.
- Alteration in bone composition, loss of minerals that make up strong bones.
When men reach 50, they may lose interest in projects that once excited them. Likewise, they may feel unable to come up with new ideas and be less willing to compete with other men. In addition, a circumstantial decrease in their levels of self-confidence, tenacity, and energy is not uncommon. This can make men feel uneasy or irritable.
The risk of depression goes up after 50. Men at this age have a higher risk of letting their sadness and apathy take over. But this is just a probability; we’re not saying it’ll happen to everyone.
Is youth gone forever when you reach 50?
If you lose your youth, your chances of a midlife crisis go up. Consequently, depression becomes more likely. People have trouble answering existential questions they didn’t have to (or didn’t care to) before.
On top of that, you may start to identify with your own parents. As parents get older, they become more dependent on their children (who are now 50 or older). It’s easy to imagine that what’s happening to your parents now will happen to you in the not-so-distant future. This idea of the future can make you sad, especially if any degenerative or chronic diseases are involved.
The importance of your mentality
Once you get up in years, you may have recurrent, unhelpful thoughts. These thoughts may be something like, “I feel old”… no one listens to the music I like anymore… young people treat me like an old person.”
These thoughts may become more frequent as time goes by and provoke feelings of emptiness, sadness, and even fear. Thus, it’s important to exchange these thoughts for others that will be more helpful in periods like this one with so many major changes.
Many people will think that 50 is a wonderful age. At this age, you have maturity and young people are still longing for it. That said, it’s true; you can’t go back. There is no other choice but to take care of your health and enjoy the possibilities and opportunities you have in the best way you can.