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Midlife Crisis? More Like a Midlife Surge

The stereotypical midlife crisis may be a thing of the past

By Amy Knapp

We've seen the so-called "midlife crisis" identifiers before: a flashy red car, a leather jacket, a career crisis and maybe even a younger fling on the side. But according to The New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks, those clichés aren't true — at least not anymore.

These days, people said to be going through a midlife crisis are running marathons, moisturizing more and even pondering a tattoo. It's less of a midlife crisis and more of a midlife redefining.

No Hard Evidence for a Midlife Crisis

"In fact, there is almost no hard evidence for midlife crisis at all, other than a few small pilot studies conducted decades ago," Brooks quotes Barbara Bradley Hagerty as saying in her new book, Life Reimagined

Hagerty, Brooks writes,  believes that the shift in a person's 40s or 50s now "can be exhilarating, rather than terrifying." Midlife is no longer a time to cope with the loss of one's youth, but to be reborn — to essentially alter course to give yourself a brighter future.


Hagerty, says Brooks, notes that a clear sense of purpose can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. So this middle age "surge" just could be the best thing for you.

In his article, Brooks said the important life change that has emerged as a result of "the elongation of vital life" is what he calls  the "odyssey" years. "People between age 20 and the early 30s can now take a little more time to try on new career options, new cities and new partners," note Brooks. These odyssey years could be the key for a smoother transition into midlife, he notes.

Brooks points out that middle age is a turning point when you can look back on your life and see it with different eyes. Even President Lincoln felt that in his midlife, everything had prepared him to preserve the Union and to end slavery, notes Brooks.

By viewing this middle age era as a positive rather than a negative, we could be hitting higher potentials than once previously thought. To learn more, read the full article here.

Amy Knapp was formerly the associate digital editor for Next Avenue. She previously was an editor for InnoVision Health Media's consumer publicationNatural Solutions Magazine.   Read More
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