Why there comes a midlife crisis, and how can we treat it? Answers sought by American magazine The Atlantic, and its writer, Jonathan Rauch.
This summer, I received a call from a friend in a state of bewilderment accident.
All 47 years of his life he fought for the economic security of his family, but he felt trapped. He wanted to run away.
His reaction to what is happening in his life caught me by surprise. This does not make any sense. I was there with my friend that something is wrong? I did not understand what to advise him.
Life after 25 resembles a U-shaped graph. Usually, about 35 to the age of the people comes despair, even if they have objective reasons to be proud of themselves.
Take me, for example. For 40 years, I have achieved the objective success in life. I had a stable and happy relationship in the family. I am healthy and financially secure. I have a good career and a wonderful colleague. I published a book, even received several important awards for the contribution to journalism.
If I thought about this career as if it just hit someone else, I would have probably started to envy him. If someone offered me this situation at the moment when I finished college, I probably would have blurted out: “Wow, I want to live like this! “.
Even so the final twosome of years, every morning I awaken up with a “sick” head, and my mind was buzzing with obsessive thoughts about my failures. I experience like I do not achieve the professional success that could be accomplished.
I sometimes feel that life is passing me by.
Because I understand that it is impossible to re-start (and I doubt I would have done something different), I just want to escape. Escape from it all “mediocre” well-being.
Because I understand that my feelings are irrational, if I start to complain to anyone, I’ll look like a crying baby.
Prefer to keep everything to yourself.
Back in 30, I thought that mid-life crisis is stupidity. But this attack overtook me.
Stability has come to resemble a continuous rain of despair. I do not feel any gratitude for what I have, though; researchers are advised that happiness is just to remind ourselves every day, all is well. This is called positive thinking, and I think this is the best that they have.
But positive thinking does not work. You can imagine any number of repeating that all is well, but the thought of living life the wrong necessarily return. They visit us for several weeks. It lasts for years.
In his youth, my life was really hard. My parents died. Both are suffering from a terrible disease and I could not help them. I was standing in front of them with helplessness. My job is gone, when the magazine where I worked, was closed.
I tried to make my own website, but the situation on the market of online journalism is not allowed to make it profitable. Many colleagues had the same problem.
I could feel the depression – in the shoulders, elbows, and knees. They began to hurt.
When I was 30 years old, the late Donald Ritchie, the greatest writer I know, told me:
“Midlife crisis begins somewhere in the 40. Then you look at your life and wonder,” Is that all? “.
After 10 years, it probably will pass, and you will have to realize that every day was not so bad. Even well. But when you’re 35 or 40, it’s hard to believe.
To understand what this depression, which happens almost to everyone, has the U-shape, you need to live to 50.
In 1970. Economist Richar Easterlin of the University of Pennsylvania wondered why the same people at different ages evaluate their lives in different ways. He first made the discovery, at which time it was hard to believe.
This is called paradox Isterlinova: money brings happiness, but only up to a certain threshold.
Once this threshold is passed, the growing prosperity of happiness is no longer added. Most of us reach this threshold in time for 35-40 years.
A generation later, in the 1990s, there have been many studies on the subject of happiness. Then David Blanchflower from Dortmuda and Andrew Oswald of Warwick University are interested in, the relation between the work and the feeling of happiness. They found that the majority of people aged 35-50 years, was working as much as does not work in youth or later in life. Rat race ends just after 50, when the career was, the business has grown and continues to grow without the direct participation of the founder etc. And once again we have to run into the U-shaped curve.
Carol Graham, an economist at the Brookings Institution, found one more thing: exactly the same with happiness and work habits occurred even in Latin America, which experienced rapid economic growth in recent years.
Graham watched the Peruvians and discovered a strange thing: while most of them over the last 20 years have managed to get out of the slums and out of poverty, they are happier for it did not.
Moreover, economic growth unlearning them to enjoy life: and now the 40-year-old Peruvians as gloomy as the 40-year-old Americans or Europeans.
Blanchflower and Oswald conducted a study in 55 different countries in different parts of the Earth.
It was found that in all the countries that have achieved a certain economic well-being; often suffer from depression at the same age.
It begins about 35 and progresses up to 46 years when people feel particularly sad.
And then surprisingly the reverse process: all the people begin to slowly wiser approach to life. And become happier.
Exceptions to this rule are only a few African and Asian countries. But even there the principle is the same, but he shifted in time: there is a midlife crisis begins later and ends after fifty.
Explain the difference can be leveled medicine if a person knows that it will not hurt after the first signs of old age, the level of happiness will grow significantly.
Oswald believes that it’s opening it to survive for hundreds of years. According to him, based on the actual large amounts of statistical data, the result is always the same – U-shaped curve.
This has led scientists to think about the nature of the mid-life crisis.
Apparently, we just biologically programmed to be sad at the equator of life.
To escape from this crisis is impossible; no matter how serious were your successes in business or in your personal life. Emigration also did not help. Drugs do not help, and you are unlikely to trust them in 40 years.
All people have the feeling of living about the same: 20 years – time to have fun 30 years – the time to plow and to have children, 40 years – the time it takes to survive, not to kill herself, 50 years – time to rejoice again, but simple things and not the party.
If you ask people who have successfully overcome the protracted midlife crisis, they all speak about the same thing. With 40 life seemed to them meaningless and joyless chore, but in 50, they began to realize that every day is not really similar to the previous one. And these differences can appreciate and enjoy them. In other words, you simply become observant.
When you overcome the 50-year-old age limit, everything becomes easier and easier.
You begin to appreciate his career. You already appreciate your family. You do not need a party. Do you sincerely rejoice surprises, and not perceive them as something commonplace. Your time horizon is shorter.
You no longer floats, that people who are younger than you, become presidents or billionaires. You should learn to pay your attention to the “big picture” and not on its individual fragments.
Dilip GEST, a prominent psychiatrist and professor from the University of California at San Diego, according to an Indian origin. He compared the way people live in their homeland and way of life of people in the United States, where he moved in his youth. And he found that in both countries, which are radically different from each other and prosperity, and way of life, the situation with happiness at different ages exactly the same.
The happiest time in my life – this is when you already know that a career in general, made to strive for the stars is no longer necessary, and chronic health problems – even at a distance of 10-15 years ahead.
How to survive this crisis, if you wait fifty do not want to?
It’s simple: you need to get rid of any expectations in life.
Recognize that a new position or annual bonus will not change anything. Accept the fact that we do not become a superstar of business, science or pop. For the happiness of all I would have to abandon the idea that ” someday everything will be different and much better than today.”
And to believe that what you have right now – it is a good idea. It seems that this is impossible? Well, and then wait until you will be half a century.
What do you think about this? Share your opinion with us in the comments!