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Midlife Crisis In Women
Life is a cycle of seasons, and the transitions between seasons can be jarring. Often there may be minor lifestyle disturbances that are soon resolved. But when they persist, a crisis occurs. Midlife is one such period that has been recognized as a period of potential crisis.
Middle age occurs somewhere between the late 30s and late 40s. This is different from the premenopausal years, which occur later. By the 1900s, only about 10% of women reached middle age. Their roles were well defined in the limited sphere of the home and family, as wife, mother, housekeeper. A midlife crisis was unheard of.
However, the 20th century has seen an incredible increase in life expectancy, with women living well into their 7th or 8th decades. So, after about 40 years, when the business of giving birth to a child is over and children begin to assert their independence, a phase of life that seems like a vacuum lights up in front of a woman. Husbands can also go through their midlife crisis and be like irritable hedgehogs. Or they become too dependent on their wives as they switch roles. Women start to feel trapped.
A woman may feel that life is passing her by. “What am I?” she wonders. “Does my life matter?” An inexplicable loneliness overwhelms her as if she has no real identity. Aware of her slowly disappearing beauty and energy, she sinks into depression. This feeling of worthlessness is intensified when there is marital dissatisfaction. The 20th century saw revolutionary changes in all areas of life. Education, employment outside the home, the collapse of the joint family system, migration to impersonal urban atmosphere, changing gender roles, women’s liberation movements, youth culture and rapid advances in science and technology – these have created a degree of insecurity in the country. traditional woman. As she tries to keep up with the changing times, stress becomes part of her.
It is against this background that the midlife crisis takes on meaning. Whether single, married or widowed, almost 2/3 of women go through this stage. A career-oriented wingman high up in the management hierarchy suddenly decided that she could no longer live alone. She conjures up images of being locked up in a nursing home, and the prospect worries her. Therefore, she frantically advertises in newspapers for a suitable mate and may recklessly choose an unwanted mate or enter into a live-in relationship. A reserved middle-aged widow may decide to give herself a new image. She can visit a beautician to get her hair done, her eyebrows plucked, and her wrinkles smoothed out with Botox. She may even start wearing heavy makeup and dressing like a teenager. She may flirt wildly with eligible men or have an affair with someone younger than her son. People notice, gossip and sneer, but a woman throws decency to the wind and is shameless about her behavior.
An animal with unfulfilled maternal desires may decide to give birth to a child out of wedlock or offer to “rent her womb”. Some psychologists say that a midlife crisis is just a convenient excuse for irresponsible behavior. But one might argue that if that’s the case, why wait until middle age to treat yourself? The Middle Ages are but a passing phase, and not to be feared, but to be welcomed. A crisis usually occurs when there is a lack of preparation. EM Blaicklock says, “Middle age is the time when the fruits of life begin to ripen.”
It has to be ready. This is a time to evaluate yourself and examine your lifestyle. Factors that may contribute to the crisis must be identified and addressed individually. Is there a fear of losing youth, sex appeal and beauty? Are a few gray strands, sagging breasts, or weight gain causing you to panic? A psychiatrist says, “Feeling and looking good is about a balance between mind and body.” And Longfellow assures us that “age is no less an opportunity than youth itself, though in a different garb.”
Exercise, a balanced diet, relaxation and a general interest in the world around you will bring back the glow to middle-aged faces.
Has the marital relationship become boring? Then it takes more effort to change it. A little more love, communication and care can help make things right. The husband may also be going through a midlife crisis and may be disinterested or unable to respond to her feelings. Therefore, a woman should express her needs directly and concretely, making him understand that she is going through a difficult phase and wants his understanding and love. A good husband will not only support his wife emotionally, but also give her the space she needs to develop her sense of self-worth. If a woman suddenly becomes a widow in middle age, her depression may worsen. Or she may rush into an affair, which is not a wise thing to do in times of stress.
A woman who spent the best years of her life as an exemplary mother, who found identity and fulfillment in her children, is overwhelmed by the realization that they no longer need her and a wide generational gap is forming between them. feeling marginalized and useless. Middle age is also a time when a person becomes vulnerable in terms of health. Diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, the need for dietary restrictions, medications, physical activities make her aware of her mortality. She begins to wonder about her situation and wallows in self-pity. Dwindling cash resources and the constraints of retirement also threaten her peace of mind.
All of these stressors snowball to erode a woman’s self-esteem and lead to behavioral changes such as depression, irritability, irrational behavior, self-doubt, or unusual sexual interest. In fact, this phase is like a “second emotional adolescence” transition.
Anticipating and preparing for middle age can make the transition smoother. Life does not end at that stage. Floyd and Thatcher say: “Middle age is a time of discovery, not stagnation. It is a time ripe for new beginnings – the threshold of a rich, stimulating future. Approached with good humor and flexibility and openness to change, middle age and beyond can be the best years of your life half.” Life has many different seasons. Every season, a woman has to reassess her values from different perspectives. Whether she is single, married or widowed, she should thrive in her own identity, not become a rubber stamp for her husband or a doormat for her children; nor should she allow herself to be exploited even by her own family. She must also be a decision maker and assert herself when necessary.
Hobbies and new interests make life interesting. “Unleash your creativity,” urges Ann Morrow Lindbergh. Music, reading, traveling, painting are mood lifters.
Good friends are wealth in difficult times. They act as confidants or sounding boards when someone needs to get something off their chest. They provide support during times of stress and depression. Groups like Emotions Anonymous help its members open up and talk about their problems. They learn from each other’s experiences and help each other to redefine their ideas and values. They become happy and confident. Artificial accessories like drugs and alcohol are not an option, nor is extramarital affairs an option. This can only lead to feelings of guilt that are difficult to get rid of.
Husbands and children need to understand that their supportive love can help them overcome a midlife crisis. But unless a woman verbalizes her needs and fears, they have no way of knowing.
Finding time for self-examination, refusing to condemn yourself for imagined shortcomings and realizing the temporary nature of such a crisis is half way to overcoming it. People tend to put God last when faced with a crisis. Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13 are encouraging. “I am still not all that I should be, but I use all my strength to do one thing: forget the past and look to what lies ahead.” Prayer overcomes many crises.
Middle age is the time of a person’s life before the fall. Autumn will surely follow and it will illuminate one’s personality with the golden hues of maturity and peace. Life will begin again with a new vision of what is left of the future.
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