What are typical mid-life crises

Instead of midlife crisis: New power in the middle of life

Regine Schneider

We reach ours from around our late thirties Midlife. Instead of us wrinkles and Midlife crisis we should use this phase of life to pursue our real needs.

Most of us tend to bob through life unconsciously in the first half of life. But then a phase begins in which values ​​change. So far we have asked ourselves what will become of us, what we have achieved in life and what goals we have, now we ask ourselves: Who am I anyway? Now we are more concerned with looking inside ourselves and perceiving our inner voice, researching which values ​​are important to us and whether we can live them. Can our personality develop, does our individuality come into its own?

Sometimes shocking results come to light. Some people find that in the first half of their life they functioned in a fairly controlled manner without paying attention to their needs. Some people still go by their parents' ideas; they have never wondered whether the path is their own. Others have adapted to social norms without checking whether they match their own needs and values. In this phase of life there is now the chance to set the course again.

Midlife Crisis: Values ​​change over the years

From around their late 30s, some women notice that they are less "easy to care for" than they used to be. You don't put up with so much anymore and you can say "no" once in a while. From a purely hormonal point of view, this has to do with the decrease in estrogen and the increased influence of the progestin as a result. The typically female side, adapting, doing everyone right, not reacting angry and short-tempered, shifts in favor of the male. Suddenly women succeed in asserting themselves better: They object and start arguing.

C. G. Jung, probably the most outstanding psychologist who dealt intensively with the second half of life, said of the middle of life: "Then, in the secret hour at noon of life ... death is born." Many people now suddenly realize that they are finite and will not live forever. If you haven't wasted a thought on it until then, the certainty of death will change your whole previous view. All plans are now seen from this point of view. If we had all the time in the world until then, we are now sorting. We are beginning to ask, what is personally important to me? Should I waste my time doing things I don't like? The answer is more and more often: "No, my time is too valuable for that."

Specifically, this means: should I actually continue in a job that my parents have basically chosen for me? Should I stay with a partner who is not doing me good? Do I have to please others? Do I have to put up with so much in my job? The middle of life is the climax of our existence. Now there is a change, a change taking place. And we are beginning to leave behind a lot of things that seem outdated and unimportant to us. "Discover what really matters" is the central phrase in this phase of life.

Inner values ​​displace externals

There are various symptoms by which we can tell that we have reached the middle of life, from physical ailments such as back problems, migraines, insomnia or digestive problems to depression, anxiety and even panic attacks. Some people find that their character is changing. Things that they previously liked to do now seem unimportant to them. You no longer have as much discipline as before for certain obligations. Hobbies, inclinations and interests can change. Perhaps the beloved shopping spree loses its charm, is perceived as superficial and pseudo-satisfaction. Always wearing the latest clothes becomes unimportant. Or you stop tormenting yourself with slimming diets all the time. This announces what it is about: Inner values ​​replace the meaning of externals.

Career people suddenly pause and wonder whether that's supposed to be all. What did I trample myself for? Does my success give me meaning in life? Some women come to the conclusion that they may have a child after all and want to start a family. Others, who saw their focus at home in the family, experience a strong sense of emptiness when the children leave the house. You ask yourself: With the current work situation, will I still find a connection to the job? Experts call this phase empty nest syndrome.

In women who define themselves very much by their appearance, the first wrinkles cause panic. In a society that indulges in the cult of youth and in which it is already considered merit to be young and flawless, this is no wonder. Women suddenly take refuge in the gym, start jogging, or even consider going under the knife of a cosmetic surgeon. Many fall into a real youth craze, the skirts are getting shorter, the blouses are transparent. But after a while they realize that such activism does not help in this situation.

Midlife Crisis: We grow and mature

While, according to C. G. Jung, the first half of life is about finding one's place in society, the second half of life is about harmonizing inside and outside. Instead of expansion, it is now time to focus on the essentials. Jung compares life with the course of the sun. In the morning it rises, at noon it reaches its highest level and begins to withdraw its rays and set. Afternoon is as important as morning, but it follows different laws. The monk Anselm Grün writes: "For a person, the recognition of his life curve means that he has to adapt to the inner reality from the middle of life instead of the outer reality."

With some women, a remarkable change is taking place at this stage. Suddenly the ugly, good duckling becomes a self-confident swan. Many are beginning to finally make of their lives what was not possible in the first half of life. You make yourself independent, get into or out of the job, take a break or just really start now, become self-employed or consciously commit to a new partner. They grow and mature, while men lose their power. If a well-off provider was sought in the first half of life, the one with whom one could build and secure the existence together, the second half of life is characterized by completely different needs. Women who are materially independent now want a man to talk to, who is sensitive and empathetic. Whether he can support a family is of secondary importance. In the second half of life, the public prosecutor and the seaman, the doctor and the electrician, the entrepreneur and the artist are often found. Or mature women team up with a much younger man, the main thing is that the soul gets it.

Midlife crisis: linger instead of accelerating

The second half of life is also about slowing down the pace. You no longer rush from appointment to appointment, detach yourself from the dictation of the clock, get a different relationship to time. For many, time and leisure become the most precious commodities that money cannot weigh.

At the same time, many discover how good and important it is to spend certain phases alone and without distraction. Some women live alone for the first time in their lives and discover what qualities that can have. Some even say that a man will never come into their home again: Partnership only in separate apartments. I don't think about cleaning things up again, cleaning up the dirt and cooking the food. The classic female role is denied.

We can't catch up

There are many breakups in midlife. Most of them start from the woman. Two thirds of all divorces are filed by women. Those who are abandoned often say after a while that nothing better could have happened to me. Those who do not deal thoroughly with the tasks and priorities of mid-life often mourn the failures of the first half of life. We accuse ourselves that I did this and that wrong, if I had done this and that differently. Basically: You can't completely catch up on anything that was missed in the first half, of course. But we can make sure that we still get happier. Specifically: Nobody becomes a prima ballerina or opera singer anymore. But you can dance and sing ballet for yourself and with less ambitious goals. Some women start painting over the age of 40 and make it to vernissages or learn horse riding, fencing or teak-won-do. The point is to take appropriate care of your deficits and find out what you can do for yourself today. Because those who now take responsibility for their actions will be much happier in the second half of their lives.

Modern women today have numerous options and opportunities. And many know that in a crisis there is always an opportunity for a new beginning. Then the idea often comes up to finally want to realize oneself as a person. It is not enough for them to fulfill the social function of producing new life and making it socially acceptable. Women realize that they have to learn to live fulfilled themselves.

Midlife Crisis: There is an opportunity in every crisis

Midlife is a time of radical re-examination of old patterns and values. Women question basic personal contracts and let go of old patterns. Values ​​that have been pushed back until then can develop. It is about freeing oneself from illusions, about getting rid of wrong ideas about things and about life. Psychologists consider this period of life to be the one when women develop their self-esteem most strongly. And one thing is certain: all women - and men too - who face the changes in the middle of life, instead of suppressing them, emerge as strengthened personalities. Source: Schneider, R .: UGB-Forum 1/02, pp. 13-15

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