The closing decades of the twentieth century have seen the glorification and worship of Youth Culture. The ubiquitous Yuppies have overtaken the world by storm. They are knowledgeable, incredibly dynamic, prodigiously intelligent, powerful and ambitious. This, together with the sexual revolution, the obsession with male and female beauty, various shades of Feminism, and the instant dissemination of information, has brought about a “cultural quake” that has given the broad stratum of middle-aged people a feeling of insecurity. Midlife crisis as a malady in men has been recognized since the 20th century.
Carl Jung, in his book Modern Man in Search of His Soul, compares the phases of life to the sun’s progress across the skies, from East to West. He places mid-life between the ages of 35 to 50 and calls it the High Noon of one’s existence. It can be an exciting time of life with vast opportunities if people are not terrified of the aging process. It is to be welcomed as a period of discovery, and not a time of stagnation or disintegration. It calls for changes in lifestyles, character, and convictions. Immature responses give way to sound decisions. The transition period lasts for as long as it takes for life to be reoriented and values sorted out. It may be anything between three to five years.
Being aware of the changes that are likely to occur in men and women, one needs to be psychologically prepared, and recognize the symptoms when they occur, so that a turbulent crisis may be avoided.
“People who prepare for a fire are more likely to survive than those who don’t,” said one wise man. And British psychoanalyst Elliot Jacques, assures us that creative people like Goethe, Beethoven, Voltaire, and Ibsen all went through mid-life upheavals.