Life Begins At Forty

Many people enter midlife with ill conceived ideas that the best part of life has passed them by. To a certain extent, the blame can be laid on Elliot Jacques who first introduced the term ‘Midlife Crisis’ in 1965, in his article “Death and Midlife Crisis.” The term ‘crisis’ conjures up images of fear and anxiety. It gives a distorted perception of reality. Dictionaries describe the word as a time of danger or great difficulty. Midlife should therefore not be considered a crisis but a period of transition. Carl Jung called it a normal part of the maturing process, an opportunity for growth.

The period between 40 – 60 years is considered midlife. Both men and women must naturally pass through this stage. Women however, react more strongly to changes. Men, who have been hard at work all these years with no hobbies and not many friends, begin to feel insecure. They feel they are stuck in a rut and have diminishing job satisfaction. They may impulsively decide to change jobs. The fear of ageing brings with it panic over health issues, illnesses, and of being less attractive to the opposite sex. Stories of middle aged men flirting with girls young enough to be their daughters is common. Later, when better sense prevails, they are embarrassed and regretful of their behaviour.

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