No need to put up with feeling miserable.
“The midlife crisis.” “Empty nest syndrome.” “The change.” You’ve heard all the clichés about midlife, right? Yet research is showing that the idea that everybody has a terrible time may well be a myth.
Yes, it’s true that people in midlife face some big changes. Children leave home for college, military service, or even marriage. Women go through menopause, and both women and men experience a range of physical changes that can affect sleep, exercise, and sex.
Yet recent studies show that for many people, midlife is a very positive time. As kids grow up, couples take time to enjoy each other. They find new ways to have fun together.
Many women discover that in midlife they feel good about themselves and their accomplishments and, as the demands of childrearing subside, have a new sense of adventure. With a new sense of freedom, they are eager to try new things, develop talents that they may have set aside for years.
But for some people, the changes are challenging. Menopause may affect mood, energy level, and sexual pleasure. People who have reached a career plateau may be disappointed or frustrated, ready for the first time for a retirement that may be years away. Even with children moving toward independence, midlife adults may find that the pressure of caring for aging parents is a new burden. And, often for the first time, adults come face to face with their own mortality.
What’s the key to a midlife satisfaction? People who enjoy midlife tend to approach it with flexibility and resourcefulness. Instead of looking backward or trying to do things the way you’ve always done them, now is the time to be a little more willing to experiment and to explore. What have you always dreamed of doing? What would you like to try?
There’s no need to assume that midlife will be miserable. And if yours is, there’s no need to put up with it. If physical symptoms are a problem, your physician may have some solutions. If your marriage has gone stale, couples counseling can help you discover closeness and mutual support for the rest of your lives. And if you are feeling blue, therapy can help you feel stronger, more energetic, and positive as you move toward the future.