Time is passing. It goes through each of us, no matter what we think about it. For children, teens and young people, turning into years is an exciting thing, one more step towards becoming an independent adult male or female able to live life the way they see fit.
However, as we get older and often get older from the thirties, many people go from this excitement to worrying about the large number of candles to blow out on the cake: we stopped being young. In fact, this preoccupation can reach such an extreme that it can generate a small psychosocial crisis, which is particularly frequent in the 1940s.
And while this has always happened in women, it has traditionally been identified as a time of crisis with sudden behavioral repercussions on men. Indeed, we are talking about the well-known crisis of the 1940s, in this case in men. It is this vital process that we will be talking about throughout this article.
Crisis of the 1940s: what is it?
This is called the 1940s crisis a period or process of crisis at the psychological and emotional level that occurs in people who reach the age of forty before the perception and awareness as the years go by, at a time. in which the subject comes to the conclusion that he has ceased to be young and that he is approximately in the middle of his life expectancy. In fact, actual age isn’t really relevant on its own, so it’s more appropriate to call it a middle age crisis.
These reflections can lead to a vital toll, In which the type of life that the person currently leads is valued and it contrasts with his expectations of youth. Also generally involved is an assessment of dreams and plans that have been realized and those that have not. It is also common to have the idea that what they did not accomplish is no longer feasible in the future, which generates great pain, disappointment and frustration.
Another aspect that he usually reflects on concerns life and the routine that is followed., Which may end up being unsatisfactory or for which some sort of stimulus may be lacking. There may also be the idea that from now on they will decline, in addition to the perceived loss of stamina, physical potency, and sexual appeal.
These sensations can generate great stress in the patient, which can trigger a series of behavioral and emotional manifestations characterized by impulsiveness and the need to make changes. We could consider the crisis of the forties as a phase of mourning in the face of the perception of a progressive loss of youth: there is denial, anger, depression, negotiation … and over time also acceptance. And fortunately, this crisis stage tends to resolve over time because it is accepted that time passes and that this does not imply that our life is over.
It is important to note, however, that although this is a relatively common thing, not everyone will suffer from the crisis of the 1940s: it depends among many other factors on how much importance we place on the passing of the years. , of the vital balance that we establish. , whether we are satisfied with our current lifestyle or whether we have achieved or feel that our vital goals are achievable or not.
Possible problems arising from this crisis
At the cognitive level, the subject can forge a negative image of their current situation in relation to the expectations held by young people. Fears can develop over time, which can include denial of one’s own age or possible chakras. Mild hypochondria may also appear.
It is much more common the existence of anxiety, deep anxiety and even depressive symptoms: sad mood, slowing down, brooding, listlessness, lack of perception of pleasure in the things he liked, problems sleeping and gana.
It is common to experience a phase of rebellion against what you offer and the routine, sometimes with unreasonable and very impulsive behavior. It is also common for there to be remorse for unfulfilled dreams, for the day to day to be seen as a boring, empty, and painful load, and for the idea to arise that our dreams will never come true. Sometimes they try to sublimate themselves with risky actions or in search of adrenaline. What is sought is to regain the feeling of feeling young and vital, full of hopes and dreams.
Its main manifestations in humans
In humans, the crisis of the forties generally presents itself as an urgent need to make changes in a life which can be seen as a lack of emotion. Changes that they can try to introduce suddenly and even desperately in the face of the anguish engendered by the perception of starting to consider that they are in the middle adulthood from which they will grow up.
Relational level, as the level of demand and responsibility towards partner and children increases it is possible for the subject to notice a high pressure and to experience his efforts as a sacrifice. Disputes, conflicts and attempts to change established routines can come into play. It is also possible for the person in crisis to want to spend time alone or to change surroundings, and to be rude or distant from what is happening. was usual for her. Some men seek affairs and commit infidelities at this point, and even in extreme cases, they may want to break up with everything and leave the family nucleus.
At work, irresponsible behavior, fights, dropouts or attempts to change jobs can appear. It is also possible to resort to the consumption of alcohol or drugs in an attempt to escape from everyday life.
Another type of behavior is that which seeks to recall the past, So that the person can try to return to places and situations that remind them of their youth and that they consider simpler than their current situation. With regard to the physique, it is common for the subject to begin to care about his image even if he has not done so before, and is actively involved in its improvement: the practice of sport in people who were previously sedentary , the use of creams and cosmetics or costume changes to younger trends.
How to reduce its effect
The crisis of the forties or the crisis of the middle ages is a stage of great stress and anguish for those who suffer from it, but it is possible to take into account a number of tips and strategies which may be useful to support.
First of all, it should be noted that the fact of having reached a specific age does not imply the end of life: We still have a long way to go. Moreover, the fact that some dreams have not yet come true does not imply that they are impossible. And even if some are no longer viable, it is possible that the breach of this rule gave rise to various vital circumstances which may have been very satisfactory to us.
Another very important point to keep in mind is that we must reinforce and appreciate the goals that we have achieved, as well as recognize our own merits. And it is common for routine and daily life to prevent us from valuing what we have, being used to having it: family, friends, work and leisure are clear examples.
too much it is advisable to focus on an exciting goal or projectSomething that makes us vibrate and allows us to project ourselves positively into the future and not into the past. Another possible course of action would be to talk to people who are in the same situation: men also in their forties or fifties who are going through or who have already gone through this vital process: it is about being able to express their doubts. and their emotions with other people in a similar situation.
Family support is also relevant, Especially with regard to the couple. We recommend to have a positive and empathetic approach, trying to put themselves in their shoes and understand their possible suffering. However, it should also be borne in mind that this does not imply carte blanche for the subject in crisis.
In the event that they are alive, it is also possible to rely on the parents, as the father figure can be an example to withstand the passage of time, whether or not he has suffered this type of crisis. Finally, if needed, professional help can be used to ease the passage through this crisis.
- Kruger, A. (1994). “The half-life transition: crisis or chimera?”, Psychological Reports, 75, 1299-1305.