Have you experienced an unexplained desire to buy your dream car, build your dream home and fulfill your bucket list all of sudden? Perhaps, you start thinking of things and people that got away in your life and have that intense desire to get in touch with the past, or have relationships with younger women. The transition to midlife is quite stressful both in men and women. One thing is common, though: an anxiety over the past and the future.
When men resort to “quick fixes” to fast track their dreams and fulfill the desires of their heart, they come face to face with their own mortality, this is called the “Male Midlife Crisis.” On top of the physiologic changes of aging and male andropause—a tremendous anxiety over things that are not yet done may be experienced by men. This shows in change in mood and behavior such as lack of patience and irritability. It has been shown that it is the attitudes and inner convictions of the person that determine the psychological aspect of reacting to being old, and men differ from women in their reaction. While women’s first reaction is to mask the coming of age in appearance, men on the other hand, become touchy, sensitive and exigent. The greatest psychological change that a man undergoes in aging is anxiety over the diminishing force and power roles, as a head of a single unit of society.
Traditionally, people would go through stages before they come out of the middle age life crisis. The first stage will always be: Denial. Many times men will try to do things they probably did not do before, like risky adventures and relationships. They might even change their sense of fashion, trying on things which are not appropriate for their age just to prove that they are not yet old.
Assertiveness and hostility will tend to come out in the second stage: Anger. This happens when a person keeps on denying his status. This habit will also cause men to overdo things and perhaps go into illicit affairs and cause broken families. This stage is called: Replay, or trying to literally, replay youthfulness.
Withdrawal comes when men realize that the temporary happiness is fleeting and a deeper sense of need engulfs them. At this stage, men should be given space and be allowed to understand himself.
The last stage is: Acceptance. This is the realization of understanding the beauty of life and being able to cope with the mid-life crises makes a man stronger and courageous. Sometimes, this is when maturity sets in. Being able to go through the process and come out successful gives men a broader perspective of life.
Anxiety, depression and midlife crises may be normal as one goes through life. However, if these emotions persist and cause behavioral changes and bodily symptoms such as palpitations, lightheadedness, headaches, numbness and cold extremities, counseling may come in as an important support. If one is not able to cope, his mental health will be affected. Mental illness affects most people at one point in their lives. Many do not understand the importance of mental health. To be mentally fit one must learn to organize his thoughts and control his emotions.
In the spiritual aspect, he needs to understand that as creatures of the Divine Maker, he will undergo a spiritual process of being a child first, to understand life and why God created man.
We strengthen our bodies and nourish it. Youth is a time to find our talents and grow it for the will of God. As adults, we focus on ourselves and building good relationships with our families and friends. We also begin to understand that the body has probably reached its transformation. As we go into old age, we start preparing our souls. I imagine this aging process as a transformation into “super heroes” because we will little by little shed off our physical bodies and make way for the fullness of the spirit until finally it can fly to heaven in eternal bliss.