Midlife crisis is more hype than truth: Experts

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WASHINGTON - Experts have suggested that the idea of midlife crisis being common is nothing but a myth.

Psychologist Margie Lachman of Brandeis University in Massachusetts has said that crisis are usually spurred by some event that can happen at any age, such as a career setback, the death of a friend or relative, or an illness, reports CBS News.

One of the popular misconceptions is that midlife crises are spurred by a sudden realization that the values and goals of youth have been abandoned for more comfortable, and achievable, aspirations; that the person has ’sold out.’

In the process of figuring themselves out, young people will wrestle with establishing personal goals and values. After young adulthood, however, personality remains relatively stable for the rest of one’s life, researchers have found.

Alexandra Freund, a life-span researcher at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, said as for goals, new ones are usually variations of the original goal and are aligned with the person’s core values.

Critically, middle adulthood comes with a greater sense of control then other life periods. Young adulthood, by contrast, is usually a time of striving, and late adulthood is typically a time of loss, including of one’s job, health and friends.

The most common complaint in midlife is not boredom, as many young people fear, nor a feeling of crisis. “People are experts of themselves at this age. They know what is good for them and what isn’t,” said Freund.

Rather, researchers conducting large surveys have found that the main problem for middle-age people is feeling unable to get everything done.

“In middle adulthood, you are living at your fullest. You’ve achieved a lot in your job, the kids are growing up, you are healthy and have more resources than when you were a student. There is not much mortality in your social circle. … You know where you are going and don’t question yourself all the time anymore,” said Freund.

“Life is a process, life is everyday. It is all cheesy stuff, but it is true,” she added. (ANI)

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