For some, middle adulthood can be eyeopening. We live our lives up to age 50 with goals and aspirations to develop a rewarding career, get married, raise a family, travel the world, and more. We wake up one day and realize our children are grown, we are no longer the student in life, and we long to contribute something of significance to the world. Life review is a time every person will experience, some harder than others, and something many refer to as midlife crisis.
Midlife crisis occurs during a stage of life when we become bored with the daily grind of life and our perspective begins to become a “review” of our life. Between the ages of 40 and 65, we become grounded in our careers, our children mature, and we begin accepting our role as teacher instead of student in life. If we feel unsettled or incomplete (not up to par) with our life at this stage, we may need support in figuring out how we can develop this stage of mental health in life so our Ego gains strength and transitions to Care. You will notice many wealthy people at this stage of life reaching out to the world with charity and establishing vast organizations to contribute to the greater good. These people develop healthy Ego’s in the stage of Middle Adulthood and are more than prepared to meet the next stage of Ego development.
Based on Erikson’s psychoanalytic theory of psychosocial development, each person will go through eight different stages of development across his or her lifespan. According to McLeod (2017), five of those development stages occur before the age of 18. A shout out to Saul McLeod for all the amazing support material for those of us students of psychology. As we approach each development stage, we encounter a type of psychosocial crisis that enables development of our Ego and reflects in our personality.
In theory, every person consecutively leaves and enters different stages in life. In this vein, we have a better sense on average what we may be experiencing in life depending on our age group. In other words, life is full of purpose and need for fulfillment regardless of our culture. I find Erikson’s theory fascinating in that each of us have various stages of Ego development for the purpose of a healthy personality. Erikson inspired by Freud found specific interest in the growth of the Ego. We should never feel life has no purpose because these principles of growth are the very basis of being human. Some of the greatest psychology theorists in mental health and development contributed their greatest work during their Middle Adult life stage.
Regardless of what you might experience during this stage of life, you may feel out of sorts. While you might feel everyone else has taken all the right steps in life and now enjoying those decisons while you are panicing to amend yours, you have much value and you will do fine. Things to focus on at this stage of life is: (1) focus on the bigger picture finding value in what matters most in the long run, (2) spend more time utilizing those natural talents you have for so long set aside for more important things, (3) try something healthy and new, (4) take up a new hobby and appreciate not being good at something, (5) create some form of structure in your week, (6) your not so wise you cannot accept help when you need it (care reciprocates), (7) pay attention to your spouse now more than ever (go for a walk at the mall and hold hands!), and finally (8) savor moments in your relationships with others (Hagerty, 2015).
Reach out to those of your community or those within your family where you feel you can offer support within reason. Instead of panicking or feeling you are missing out on life, realize right now is all there is or ever has been and most important; you got this far and you are going to do just fine. By the way, middle adulthood is by far the best and funnest stage of life; yes, I am biased!
Hagerty, B.B. (2015). 8 Ways You Can Survive and Thrive in Midlife. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2016/03/17/469822644/8-ways-you-can-survive-and-thrive-in-midlife
McLeod, S. (2017) Erik Ericson. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html