For centuries, being a man meant taking your punches, hitting the daily grind, and never falling down. But while men are doing an admirable job keeping their chins up and taking care of their families or burning the midnight oil, the weight of the world on your shoulders can sometimes be too much. This only worsens as you get older.
Pop culture makes fun of the midlife crisis, particularly for men. You always see older men suddenly driving sports cars, changing careers, or having affairs. These may not be responsible decisions, but they can be understandable: You’re 40, married with children, and life has passed you by. Tomorrow you will be 41, then 42, and before you know it, you’re nearing retirement.
There is nothing more difficult to cope with than getting old. If you think your emotions are all over the place and you are beginning to be all over the place, then it might be the symptoms that your midlife crisis has arrived. Here are nine signs of a midlife crisis for a man:
1. Thinking About Death
For years, you were not the morose type. Death never concerned you. Your attitude had been “when it happens, it happens.” Suddenly, now that you turn 35, 40, or 45, you are beginning to think a lot about the inevitable decay of your body. One day, you will no longer exist. You won’t get to consume your favourite food, listen to your favourite opera, or enjoy your favourite season.
This is concerning for men who are nearing the halfway point in their lives, especially when they haven’t done what they wanted in life, whether it is traveling to Venice or producing a play. These suicidal thoughts are one of the most alarming signs of midlife crisis for a man. If you are exhibiting these symptoms, make sure you get treatment properly.
2. Feeling Tied Down
When you got married, you were ecstatic about spending the rest of your life with your true love. When you found out your wife was having a baby, you were excited about the future. Today, you can’t help but feel regret and, most importantly, you’re feeling tied down, like there is no escape.
Oftentimes, for men, having a kid can eventually feel like a prison sentence. Ditto for marriage.
3. Concentrating on Appearance
Out of nowhere, you went on a shopping spree and purchased all kinds of new clothing. Then, like a teenager trying to impress a girl at school, you hopped in front of the mirror and tried on all your new shirts, pants, socks, blazers, sunglasses, and so on. If you’re spending more time in front of the mirror and concentrating on your appearance, then it is possible that you’re going through something serious.
4. Increasing Bouts of Depression
Again, you were never a depressive character. You typically looked on the bright side of life and relished whatever was placed in front of you. Now, that has all changed. You never want to get out of bed, you dismiss everything, and you rarely smile. This could be a sign of depression, which will require a visit to your psychotherapist or family doctor, who will then make a series of suggestions, from prescription to therapy.
5. Ending Current Friendships
After 13 years, you have ended your friendship with Joe. After nine years, you have lost touch with Alan. Out of the left field, you are disconnecting with all your buddies of so many years.
Why? What’s worse is that now you’re seeking friendships with other people, especially the younger ones, which makes it embarrassing to say the least. Alienation is one of the worrying signs of midlife crisis for a man, but just remember that you don’t have to go through this alone.
6. Having an Affair or Leaving Spouse
You have been married since your twenties. You have always been loyal, you have been there through peaks and valleys, and you have taken her criticism with a smile. Now that you are approaching the middle of your life, you feel justified and excited in either thinking about an affair or even having one. While there’s no justification for having an affair, the infidelity is often one of the signs of a midlife crisis for a man.
Or, if you are not interested in doing something underhanded and odious, you are considering leaving your significant other. All your basic instincts are telling you no, but there is this Mephistophelean spirit nudging you in that direction.
7. Yearning for a Simple Life
Whether you are single and decided to splurge on every impulse and desire or you have a large family that has a house, two cars, and a cottage, it is inevitable that you will yearn for the simple life. This is amplified when you see how much you earn and how much you spend every month.
“If only I didn’t have these lavish expenses, I could enjoy the simpler things in life more.”
As time goes by, you start desiring a far simpler life: a smaller home, a more compact automobile, fewer trips to restaurants, and less spending on the kids. Instead, you just want a good book with a cup of coffee and J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations playing in the background.
8. Looking at Younger Photos of Yourself
We all get older. That’s a part of life. You never really begin to notice the gradual change in your looks until you reach a certain point in your life.
Lately, you have been going through your photo albums – physical and digital – and started to look at younger images of yourself; from when you were in college or when you got your first car. You pray to the heavens to have this time back. But it will never come back and you need to accept the same fate that every other human on this planet has: You are getting older.
9. Finding Life is Boring
Life is boring. Correction: Your life is boring. Who doesn’t feel this way?
What used to interest you for your entire life – playing the clarinet, writing short stories, or going for long walks – has now become a bore. Your job, one that fascinated you for the last two decades, has left you feeling disgruntled. Even your summer home is making you yawn. Nothing could satisfy you right now – except perhaps absquatulating from your routine and jetting around the world with some exotic adventure.
Tired of the everyday grind? Looking for some exotic adventure? Want to get away from it all? This was a tagline of an old radio series, titled Escape. But it could be the tagline of your life right now.
Society may get a chuckle from men who go through a midlife crisis. Suddenly, older men are riding around in Ferraris, dyeing their hair, and perhaps even dating a younger woman on the passenger side. This may provide comic relief in pop culture, but what men feel during this existential crisis is serious and we should practice empathy, not scorn. It will eventually pass. For now, understanding will help every man go through this difficult phase.