The midlife slump - Deepstash

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Life gets better after 50: why age tends to work in favour of happiness

The midlife slump

That midlife slump (not to be confused with a midlife crisis) is often nothing - just a natural transition due to the passing of time.

Those likely to notice it are people that seem to have everything going for them; they're achieving their goals, and nothing much changed, yet they feel less satisfied than they expected and think there must be something wrong with their lives.

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Mid-career crises

A mid-career crisis can happen to anyone. It causes pain to the individual suffering from it and it also leads to productivity losses for employers.

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Mid-career crises do not discriminate

The age-related curve in job satisfaction has been found in more than 50 countries. It affects senior-level executives as well as blue-collar workers, stay-at-home parents, childless couples and single people.

Generally, life satisfaction is high when people are young, it starts to decline in the early 30s and is the lowest between mid-40s and mid-50s. Then it increases again to levels as high as during young adulthood.

Life aspirations
  • Young people are overly optimistic and expect significant increases in life satisfaction. 
  • As we age, we become disillusioned as our aspirations evaporate. 
  • When we bottom out, we come to terms with our circumstances and accept life. 
  • People over 50 tend to underestimate their future satisfaction, and increases come as an unexpected surprise, which raises satisfaction levels.
A midlife crisis
A midlife crisis

The disappointment with life is often the difference between our expectations for ourselves and what life actually holds for us.

According to research, people's happiness forms a U shape ove...

The trend is worldwide

People’s happiness is the lowest around the ages of 47 to 49. The dip in happiness is the same everywhere: In America, Germany, Thailand, Pakistan, even in countries with a lower life expectancy.

Happiness dip causes

The happiness dip may have to do with getting real - finding that our dreams are not going to happen. That can be a painful reality check.

If we don't use the midlife self-reflection positively, we may become disillusioned and make rash decisions or end relationships that can be damaging to our well-being.

The theory of midlife crises
  • The term "midlife crises" was coined in 1965, and reflects the dawning recognition of one's mortality where death becomes a personal matter.
  • According to Elliot Jaques, the key ...
A midlife crisis
A midlife crisis is often seen as a pivot point of life, where attention shifts from time past to time that is still left. It is usually a period of despair and requires a process of adjustment.
When a midlife crisis should appear

Concepts of middle age change as we get older. People aged over 60 recalled their midlife crisis at 53, while those in their 40s dated theirs to 38.

It appears that there are no distinct midlife crises, but rather crises that occur from time to time.