The term midlife crisis refers to a specific stage in a person’s life when he/she undergoes significant changes. According to the psychologist that first introduced this term, Daniel Levinson, the crisis is bound to occur in your midst 40s and is accompanied by crucial transformation in your life. However, not all psychologists are convinced that this major life alteration will appear spontaneously and simply because an individual turns 40.
In addition, the critics of the hypothesis claim that the midlife crisis is not a universal phenomenon. Essentially, the reasons why a person can be depressed at that age take on many shapes that do not necessarily have anything to do with this psychological imbalance. With this background in mind, let’s summarize the common myths surrounding the midlife crisis.
1. Men develop an irresistible attraction for fast red convertibles
However funny it may sound, the pseudo-fact that all men going through the middle crisis purchase red speedsters comes from the Hollywood classic “American Beauty”. However, if you were to take a peek at the shopping behavior of 40 years old men, you will soon realize that red convertibles are not among their top preferences. In addition, consumer behavior also seems to indicate that even young men prefer less-aggressive colors.
2. The crisis begins when both your parents have passed away
Many people assume that the starting point of the midlife crisis is triggered by the passing away of both your parents. On the other hand, psychologists suggest that subconsciously everyone prepares himself for this dramatic moment during adulthood. Furthermore, people learn throughout their lives to have normative expectations regarding that unpredictable and inexorable moment, meaning that they do expect to outlive their parents. Consequentially, these tragic circumstances will not automatically trigger a midlife crisis.
3. People with midlife crisis grow tired of manual labor
Granted, trends indicate an increasing number of adults who are enrolling in college classes. However, this behavior has nothing to do with the fact that they are experiencing a midlife crisis and they are tired of manual labor. More plausible explanation of why people in their 40s prefer to return to college include the pursuit of a promotion, getting a better salary or trying to improve their career.
4. Decrease of libido and sexual interest
n spite of the common belief, being in your 40s will not necessarily imply you lose all interest towards your spouse and stop having sexual encounters. . In fact, both men and women in this category mention they have an active and satisfactory sex life. The loss of sexual interest as well as the decrease of the libido is associated with other factors, such as stress and work-related exhaustion.
5. Midlife crisis demands you have an affair
The belief that all people going through the midlife crisis will seek out an affair entails another misconception introduced by Hollywood. In fact, the romantic movie plots when a midlife crisis male character is not search for “young flesh” can be counted on your fingers. On the other hand, surveys indicate that this not what people over 40 do or desire, as a large percentage prefers the relationship they have built over the years
6. You’re the #1 failure among your peers
The roots of this misconception reside in the fact that at this point in life you come to realize you did not manage to fulfill your dreams. However, in reality people are not that concerned with this aspect and are perfectly adaptable. Add the economic situation in the equation and you will recognize that few people have the job that they always dreamed about these days. As a side note, the myth represents yet another false Hollywood idea which is stereotypical for scenes of high school reunions.
7. Women develop an instinctive urge to get plastic surgery
While everyone likes to look their best, it does not automatically mean that all people growing old feel the impulse to undergo cosmetic surgery to remove the aging signs. In fact, most of us accept them and are even proud of their grey hair and fine lines, which they perceive as a sign of wits and wisdom. Moreover, because the aging signs appear gradually, it makes it easier for people to get accustomed to them over time.
8. People in their 40s don’t find physical activity enjoyable
The myth goes that during midlife people are starting to realize the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet. However, nobody seems to enjoy it. Moreover, they are starting to experience high stress levels due to the necessity of taking on regular physical activities. Nothing can be further from the truth and there is even medical evidence to contradict this false principle: exercising is one of the most efficient ways to relief stress.
9. Trying to find the meaning of life
According to this misconception, people confronting with midlife crisis develop a strong desire to discover life’s great mystery as well as the answers to the eternal questions. On the other hand, it is necessary to mention that people evolve on a regular basis and constantly change ideas, insights, values and beliefs. At the same time, the need to discover the meaning to your life does not necessarily have to happen when you are going through the midlife crisis; based on each individual’s personal experience it can strike at any time.
10. Quit your daily job and pursue the career you always wanted
The problem with this misconception is that most of us wish it were true. Just quit that stressful job and move on a tropic island to start your own business, how cool would that be? Yes, that would be nice. However, let’s be honest here, not many people in their 40s can leave everything behind and start fresh in their own tropical paradise. Regardless of whether it is because of the kids, old parents who need their help, friends who have always been by their side, a well paid job, work related incentives or financial reasons, most people have a strong reason that keeps them in their current location.