Changes During Middle Adulthood
People within the years of middle adulthood are going through several changes that can drastically affect their ways of life. While most people typically think of this time period as being the most stressful and unpleasant of all, if you ask those who are living it, you may receive a different answer.
This is the period of time in which children often leave the home and parents face a new phase of life that does not involve rearing young children. Some parents go through the empty-nest syndrome in which they have difficulty adjusting to life without their children, but this is usually temporary and many adults begin to enjoy the new freedoms that come with middle age.
Many use this time to re-evaluate their lives (which may be where the misconception of midlife crises comes into play, though this will be discussed later) and take stock of what they have accomplished and what they yet want to accomplish. This is often a period of new adventures, hobbies, and sometimes more community involvement.
Menopause is a time of great physical change in which menstruation ceases and the ovaries stop producing estrogen. While you will often hear horror stories of menopause, most women typically view it indifferently or positively. Most women are relieved not to have to worry about pregnancy and deal with monthly cycles.
Granted, there are some physical symptoms that accompany menopause as the body adjusts to the decrease of estrogen. The most common symptom is hot flashes. Regardless of what you may have heard, menopause does not typically throw a woman into depression, make her irritable, or cause irrational behavior. Some women do experience severe physical symptoms, but the percentage is very low.
The aging process does not bring about a midlife crisis. Those things that may bring about a “midlife crisis” are drastic and sudden life-altering events such as the death of a loved one or the loss of employment.
A popular misconception is that men often experience midlife crises during middle adulthood, in which their personalities seem to change overnight and they may suddenly regress to their earlier years. There is absolutely no foundation for this belief. Men do not suffer any type of crisis pertinent to a particular age period, other than the re-evaluation of priorities and goals that normally happens during these years.
While men may have the time, money, and inclination to delve into new hobbies or purchase expensive toys during this time, this is in no way associated with a crisis. Instead, it is considered a productive period of mental well-being. Men are no more susceptible to a midlife crisis than women.