Mental Health - Other

Comprehending a Midlife Crisis



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Mid-Life Crises

For a woman, I would suspect that a mid-life crisis is closely tied to the onset of menopause, but I don't know because I am a man.

For a man, the mid-life crisis almost always occurs at age 40 or close. It is inevitable - despite the idea that men believe that they are individuals who do not follow a common pattern.

It happened to me at exactly 40.

The crisis usually comprises three concerns:

o that one is losing one's sexual prowess,

o that one is losing one's physical capability, and

o that one is not progressing in one's career as expected.

It sounds a very self-serving crisis, and it is. However, that judgment can only be made clearly when one gets older. At the time events happen without one noticing that it is part of the combined mid-life crisis.

In my case I first had an extramarital affair that could have resulted in divorce and remarriage; secondly, I started running marathons; and third, I visited my boss with a request that I be promoted. What clearer adherence to a pattern could I have engaged in?

The results in my case were, first a passionate alliance with my secretary, a woman somewhat younger than I, that after two years ended amicably. She remained a friend for many years afterwards to both my wife and myself, although I am sure my wife realized the truth. My extra-marital affairs continued but my family life also continued and my children turned out well.

Secondly, the attraction of completing a marathon, beating much younger runners, and posting best national times, stayed with me for twenty ensuing years with more that 80 marathons and many races longer distances. The activity changed my life and that of my family both in eating habits and in traveling. Furthermore, the benefits to my health have enabled me to live far longer than I might have done.

Thirdly, my boss heard my complaints and promoted me within the week. From being a senior scientist I rose steadily through the ranks of management to work directly for the General Manager in a large national firm. Later the promotions continued to the Vice-Presidency of an International engineering firm.

So is a mid-life crisis a bad thing?

Clearly from my point of view, the answer is, "No."

It simply raised my alertness of what might be. I gained excitement and love; I gained physical health and wellbeing; and I rose in my profession.

However, I can imagine in each case that the opposite might have occurred, so the answer to the question is not a universal, "No."

A friend also took up running and bugged his employer for a promotion that he got, but instead of a lover he was baptized and took to the church. That was apparently the equivalent. It takes all types.

Others simply harbored their ambitions in all three fields: sex, physical ability and advancement, and, in most cases, that produced severe difficulties and generally lead to divorce.

The message is, "Go with the Flow," but be careful.

 

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