Wenick, a middle-aged visitor to this site, recently completed
the following profile of men and women in their 40's as part
of his graduate work. He sent it on to me and I thought I
would post it for you to read as well, with his permission.
How accurate do you think they are? If you're in your 40's
or have passed through already, do they make sense in your
experience? If you have comments or reactions you'd like to
them to me. [And, Steve
if you come back to visit the site, drop me a line! I'd love
to hear how you're doing post-graduation.]
Both Males & Females
- Two most notable changes: decline
in hearing & seeing.
- Middle-age spread due to metabolism
- Slow steady decline in strength.
- Decrease in testosterone levels between
ages 45 - 50 (see Sexual Development).
- Health is more important to men.
- Decrease in estrogen levels between
ages 45 - 52 (see Sexual Development).
Both Males and Females
- Need to recognize & nourish the changes
noted in the other.
- Not a time when couples divorce -
but will separate for a time & come back together.
- Dramatic climb in satisfaction in
marriage after the mid-life crisis (see Cognitive Development).
- Mate becomes a source of good friendship.
- Grown children may become good friends
- Individuals alone may find this period
essentially good, being responsible only for themselves.
- Rediscover community.
- Being good father as important as
- Career position is important.
- Wives may want to go out to work;
to seek their own way after the children leave.
Both Males & Females
- Mental stress due to caring for ageing
parents & children.
- Death of remaining living parent
one of the most constant crisis areas in image of self.
- May fixate on another's illness/disease.
Both Males & Females in Mid-life Crisis
- May be panicky; fear of getting too
- If depression does set in - get help!
- Looks more to the past than the future.
- Men & career women feeling time is
running out; can everything be accomplished?
- Assessment of self extends to examination
of responsibilities, career, and marriage.
- Time of considerable inner stress.
- Aging versus successful aging.
- Letting go of impossible dreams leads
to sense of relief.
- Realigning goals and setting new
- Dealing with dreams and aspirations.
- Adjusting idealistic hope to realistic
- Recognizing the need to change in
- Replacing achieved goals & dreams
with new goals & dreams.
- Moving out of roles; becoming more
aware of self.
Males in Mid-Life Crisis
- Denying of middle-age through various
escape mechanisms, i.e., affairs with younger women, extreme
exercise to try to maintain body, and by being a workaholic
to avoid thought on crisis.
- Learning balance between career and
- At 45, restabilizes & equilibrium
Females in Mid-Life Crisis
- Empty nest syndrome.
- May enter crisis period before mate.
- Become bored.
- Caregiving changes; becomes redirected,
directing focus to outside of home
- Becoming aware of own identity.
- Many enjoying time for themselves.
- Many choosing not to remarry after
- Testosterone levels decrease gradually
& over long period of time.
- Climacteric (male menopause) occurs
between ages 45 & 50.
- Climacteric seems to affect only
15% of men with changes in hormonal levels
- Symptoms include:
- Anxiousness at ageing.
- Anxiety leading to further decrease in testosterone.
- Morning fatigue, lassitude, & vague pains; nervousness,
irritability, & depression; diminished sexual potency; dizzy
spells, hot flashes, chills, sweating, & headaches.
- Vaginal lubrication diminishes to a degree.
- Estrogen levels begin to decrease.
- Menopause may begin around ages 45
to 50 years old; sometimes older.
- 90% of women are not overwhelmed
by problems of menopause.
- Before menopause:
- Irregular periods & shorter cycles.
- Fatigue & less energy.
- Depression & mood swings.
- Menstruation stops.
- Hot flashes & skin temperature rises & falls.
- Insomnia or sleep disruption.
- Nervous system changes.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Bladder problems.
- Increase in loss of bone mass.
- "Menopause is as individual as a
thumbprint. No two women experience it alike."
- Creative capacity may emerge & assert itself for the first
- Creative crisis may occur:
- Individual may burn out creatively or literally die.
- Individual's work undergoes decisive change.
To download a free copy of the profile,
- This age group is redefining middle-age
as: "The Adult Revolution".
- Many are constructing a new second
adult identity & reinventing self.
- 40's seen as gateway to "New Beginning".