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By American Counseling Association
Special to Village News 

It's not just age that brings on that midlife crisis

 

Last updated 5/11/2018 at 1:26pm



When do people reach midlife? It’s a simple question, but a difficult one to answer. Adolescents may see midlife beginning at 30. Adults in their 40s may view 50 or 60 as when midlife begins.

Although experts have said that midlife is usually somewhere between 35 and 65; age is only part of the equation. More important are the feelings people have of moving between youth and their senior years, and what they do with those emotions.

Midlife period isn’t necessarily just calendar-based. Often, it’s more seeing that they no longer look or feel as youthful and energetic as they once did. That realization can lead some people to start taking action to make them appear younger – buying that sports car, for example.

Alfred Adler, a major counseling influence, emphasized that midlife is a period when it’s important to separate wants from needs. It can help simplify life and keep people from chasing shiny new objects in a midlife crisis that really aren't going to make them younger or even appear younger.

The real “need” of this period is to accept midlife as a normal part of life and to see it as an opportunity to use the experience and wisdom they’ve gained to make a difference in people’s lives and to contribute to society.

So while some people might buy that sports car, there are better ways to make midlife produce positive results. Start with making a list of lessons learned since adolescence and examine how this knowledge has served to help enrich life and the lives of others.

It’s also a good time to begin exploring activities to help them feel healthy and relaxed. Starting or maintaining an exercise regime, for example, won’t make them 21 again, but it is a means of making the best of where they actually are in life.

Midlife is also an excellent time to examine life goals. Maybe think about a career move or to consider social or relationship changes. It may be a time to talk with a professional counselor for guidance in understanding the changes midlife has brought.

Midlife is only a crisis for someone who is unable to accept the changes maturing brought. When handled correctly, midlife can be an opportunity for personal exploration and focusing on what goals they want to achieve as their life moves forward.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA website at http://www.counseling.org.

 

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