While not everyone goes through a midlife unravel, those who do, find that loss is often the trigger of the emotional unravelling they are experiencing. Anything from job loss, losing a partner or spouse, losing your youth, identity loss, health and more can set this process into motion.
While the causes may be similar for men and women, the way the crisis manifests itself is often remarkably different. Part of this is rooted in social conditioning and part of it in emotional make-up. Men are often perceived as chasing their youth and vigor with fast and flashy cars, motorcycles, tattoos, newly acquired muscle mass and a young girl friend. Of course, this is not true for everyone, but fact remains that the "male midlife crisis" seems to take place more in the open than its female counterpart.
The female midlife crisis seems to be taking place more on the inside with women wondering what they have accomplished in their lives, where to go from here, and why they are here. These questions may be spawned by the kids moving on to college or simply having 20 years of employment under your belt and asking yourself, if this is the road you want to stay on for the rest of your life?
Often trying to blame it on hormones, women realize that this crisis takes place in their minds and is more connected to emotions and less to do with hormones.
Going off to get plastic surgery to capture something you think you lost, won’t fix the emotional confusion, but instead plunge you deeper into crisis when you realize that your “fix”, didn’t really fix anything.
A great way of navigating the unravelling process, be it the male or female version, is to gain self reflection and a phase of introspection is productive. Looking within yourself for answers of who you are and where you want to end up being; taking up a mindful meditation or yoga class, reading books that stretch your spiritual or emotional well being, talking to a good friend, journal or taking an art class.
Midlife crisis is not a stigma. It does not have to strike you down, it cannot be fixed with a breast augmentation or a red Ferrari. Those are only band aids, not the solution. The better you understand yourself, the easier it will be to keep aligned and congruent for your future years.