You know you’ve officially hit a midlife crisis when you finally start feeling like you have your life together and your body starts falling apart!
― Tanya Masse
It dawned on him gradually that he had entered middle-age without ever being young, and that he was, in the nicest possible way, "on the shelf".
― John le Carré, Call for the Dead
Mid-life crisis! We’ve all heard about this term or joked about it in some form or the other. But how much does hitting or nearing 40 actually affect people?
In order to answer this question, let’s look at some research findings:
Using data on two million people from 80 nations, researchers from the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College in the U.S. have found an extraordinarily consistent international pattern in depression and happiness levels that leaves us most miserable in middle age. Researchers discovered that “for both men and women, the probability of depression peaks around 44 years of age.” In the U.S. they found a significant difference between men and women with unhappiness, reaching a peak at around 40 years of age for women and 50 years of age for men.
What could be the reason for this?
The large number of life changes that can happen during this period. In the span of just a decade individuals can experience empty nest, elder care/loss of parent, fellow middle-aged peer’s death, divorce/marital issues, forced job change, financial pressure, menopause/andropause and possibly serious illness. This is also the time that looking in the mirror can highlight the effects that the passage of time has had on our appearance.