Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Old Age Of Youth

Soon after my daughter was born, I subconsciously changed from who I had been in the past into something that has yet to be defined.

I was at the young age of 35 at the time. It was then that I completely stopped drinking copious amounts of adult beverages (I was, well, a heavy drinker, by definition- but only for about 20 years). I started exercising for hours daily as well for years after this.

My diet consisted of essentially everything not made by a human for a change.

This behavior I implemented upon myself was not self-centered in any way from the perspective of acknowledging my individuality, or to display myself to others in any way. I wished to accomplish that which I had not so far in my lifespan. And my daughter may have been a catalyst for this. My love for her infected me.

As I approached the age of forty, I found myself looking within myself even more so, and more deeply. I began listening to those silent voices that I had disregarded in the past I now regret I did so then. And discovered I had much more to do that was more significant than what I had done, or was doing, at the time.

As a result, I left a very lucrative job with intent.

I started writing- fueled by undefined intrinsic passion.

I began holding more doors for others.

The ego I had had before this occurred, which was completely delusional and the size of Asia, became recalibrated and condensed into a size suitable to be considered within normal limits.

I no longer get angry quickly or with any brutality.

I have not located conscious hate within me for many years now.

At the same time, I find myself misdirected, depressed, afraid, and often lonely from abandoning friends who were those from my past, and question this metamorphosis that I created with deliberate intent.

This is my midlife crisis- that continues with relentless and vexing persistence.

A midlife crisis has been associated and acknowledged primarily in the Western countries in the world, and this time frame in one’s life is the least explored period due to its perceived dullness that exists within in the human lifespan.

In the U.S., the existence of the midlife crisis has been associated with our focus on our culture’s youth as being the ideal lifespan period. However, it has ben said that the existence of a midlife crisis is recognized in at least 80 other countries.

Many others believe the crisis does not exist, and is rather attributed to amplified life stressors, for example, or selfishness.

While debatable, this period of time that such a crisis exists may fall between the ages of one who is between the ages of the 30s to the 50s. Depression associated with this crisis presents itself in one in their mid 40s of their age.

A crisis may be defined as an emotional state of extreme doubt and anxiety as one reflects on their past successes, followed by what such a person desperately desires to accomplish in their future. It is a turning point for an individual that consists of incredible pain, distress, and often other unexpected dysfunctions.

It is a period in one’s life that consists of reflection and self-assessment.

Often, one in such a crisis find themselves searching for unclear or unknown goals, as they regret what they have not done so far that they feel a need to do. Often, the one in a midlife crisis prefers social isolation from others.

At times, such a person makes desperate attempts to re-acquire their youth, yet this does not define in itself a mid life crisis.

Behavioral changes likely occur with one experiencing a mid life crisis. This may be necessary as one becomes determined to accomplish certain things that they now view are more worthwhile than what they have done in the past. The behavior transition is often impulsive.

The one in a midlife crisis consistently focuses on life’s meaning frequently- and a strong desire to do something different due to their discontent for what they have done in the past at times.

This is a period of deep re-assessment for those in a midlife crisis. How the individual expresses their crisis is not dependent on their income or ethnicity as well. Yet likely their complexes are rather overt, as are their dispositions.

Often, the midlife crisis consists of those at this age authentically striving for new and bonafide ambitions as they realize that success as defined by them in the past is entirely void of happiness or fulfillment.

Their most notable feeling or emotion often is a strong sense of regret for what has not been done by them yet. This may be a catalyst in some midlife crisis people to abuse substances along with, or due to experiencing unbelievable depths of depression.

Yet those in their mid life crisis must discover and fulfill their deep, intimate potential to meet what is now within them, and they will possess discontent until this occurs. Both genders may experience this specific crisis, yet they express this crisis in different ways.

These half way points in the lives of others express themselves with varying degrees of severity that depends on multiple personal and individual variables. Over 25 percent of those in the United States greater than the age of 35 believe they have had, or are experiencing, a midlife crisis, according to some.

The one experiencing this crisis often soul-searches while experiencing this stressful event that often is overwhelming for them, as this alteration of themselves does not allow such a person’s coping mechanisms utilized in the past to be of much use.

Yet the one in a midlife crisis proves to be resilient often, and their intrinsic drive to discover and fulfill their deep and innate is a necessity.

They must do something different than what they have done in the past. This crisis is emotionally significant to one having a mid life crisis, and involves significant changes of status with intent. So this period of time is unstable and unpleasant, yet perceived to be crucial by the one experiencing their midlife status.

Many others stereotypically believe that one claiming to be experiencing a midlife crisis is largely due to them realizing that they are in fact aging and nothing else.

Evidence proves that this concept is only a fraction of those in a mid life crisis. Rather, the crisis involves one exploring dreams unfulfilled, as well as the acquisition of new intentions they wish to accomplish in their lives.

Gail Sheedy wrote a popular book in 1976 entitled, “Passages”. One thing she stated in this book about the human lifespan was, “The task of midlife is not to look into the light, but to bring light into the darkness.”

Dr. Carl Jung, called the father of Humanism as well as Transpersonal Psychology, explored the midlife crisis rather thoroughly. He believed the midlife crisis is a human condition that is completely natural. He developed stages of this crisis with what is called a Myer-Briggs Personality model, which consisted of the following:

Accommodation- When one presents themselves as a different person. Preferences one possesses are innate.

Separation- One removes their previous mask they wore, assess what is behind this mask they placed upon themselves, and authenticate the etiology for now rejecting this mask that hid their ego. This is also called by Dr. Jung the word personae.

Individuation- one recognizes and integrates existing intrinsic conflicts in order to balance them to achieve self-actualization and true awareness. To achieve totality. The conscious and unconscious in one actually shake hands.

Liminality- the suspended animation of one in a midlife crisis during the transformation.

Dr. Jung wrote about his own midlife crisis, beginning with severing his relationship with Dr. Sigmund Freud. He said that we, as humans, have the ability during this crisis to experience egocide, in which the previous false self experiences apoptosis, while the true self is born, and developed in time.

This is self-realization, and its potential, according to Dr. Jung, lies within the second half of one’s life. He once said as well that new creation of oneself involves their instinct acting from their inner necessity. Also, Dr. Jung said with incredible accuracy that there is no coming to consciousness without pain.

Life is suffering, as well as determination. Others during their midlife crisis have either noticed or have performed great things they thought were not possible in the past regarding their ability and drive. One may become a nationally known author. Another may re-enter the academic world and become a famous researcher.

One may become a better parent.

Personally, I’d rather consider such endeavors as what was just mentioned, rather than buy a very fast car, and befriend girls half my age to reassure my perception of my former self that did not exist.

Leave something behind.

Dan Abshear

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Writer Dorey Previn once said she didn't have "nervous breakdowns"; she had "break-THROUGHS."