Midlife crisis is a term that I feel that we all have heard of sometime in our lives. Many individuals have mixed views on what the term midlife crisis means for their own personal reasons. In prior lessons in adulthood and aging, there has been plenty that have been taught when it comes to midlife and how we as individuals deal with it. This will also include physical and psychological effects.  It’s extremely important that we understand how any stage in life affects an individual. Moreover, it aids us to understand how to deal with these issues if they ever arise in our area of midlife.

    During the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure discussing the term “midlife crisis” when it comes to adulthood and aging.  From Argosy University readings, Jeff is an individual that has been discussed throughout the course. Once again we have a case where Jeff has completed some goals with unhealthy lifestyle, he is now 50 years old, he does not have many friends, but he now has a family of his own.  From research, Carl Jung explained the transitions of midlife crisis as a natural movement which is the beginning half of life to the next (Santrock, 2009).  When it comes to Erik Erikson, research found that “Erikson’s (1959) theory of psychosocial development has eight distinct stages.

     Like Freud, Erikson assumes that a crisis occurs at each stage of development.  For Erikson (1963), these crises are of a psychosocial nature because they involve psychological needs of the individual (i.e. psycho) conflicting with the needs of society (McLeod, 2008). This reminds me of how some felt that when some things were not accomplished by midlife, that they completely have failed and often times, this can cause issues when it comes to depression or feeling like at some point in their life, which the goal has to be met before reaching a certain point in their next stage.  



As we focus back on Jeff who is 50 years old, most would agree he is at his mid stage of life. This area of life starts at about 40-65 years of age in adulthood. Although most are not too excited about getting older there are some that embrace this stage. For individuals who may not adapt well to this stage of life, often feel that this is the time where physical skills and other responsibilities that can improve growth declines.  For Jeff it is stated that he is facing some health issues while continuing on balancing time with his family. In addition, for Jeff this is the time that he is also going through midlife crisis.

    When it comes to the chronological validity of midlife crisis Levinson has his doubts on whether midlife crisis has anything to do with age. From research I have found that “At the center of Levinson’s theory is the life structure.  This is an underlying pattern of an individual’s life at any given point in time.  A person’s life structure is shaped mainly by their social and physical environment, and it primarily involves family and work.  Other variables such as religion, race, and status are often important as well (Human growth, 2016).   

    Midlife crisis has plenty to consider and often times when we speak on midlife crisis we must talk about the physical changes as well as the social, cognitive and how it affects an individual emotional.  For Jeff his visibility in aging is quite clear, this has to do with Jeff being able to see his hair gradually getting white in areas, losing hair possibly, gaining weight, and wrinkles. For Jeff in the physical area he will notice lack of motivation to do athletics with some pain. He may also find it to be difficult to keep up, this of course will reflect to certain activities he did in his early life without aches and longevity.



      Jeff must also be prepared to deal with other downfalls such as less than great hearing and eyesight (Santrock, 2009). In all, these are the things to consider in a time such as this. Although there are many improvements to help these issues that come with aging, over time they are bound to happen at a point in aging. In Levinson’s case, he simply felt that these transitions in life were completely normal, and I must say that many individuals agree with this notion. In addition, Levinson also felt that when it came to death, that confronting it was also a normal developmental experience at the chronological halfway point to life. Levinson also states that by 40-45 years of age everyone who goes through the midlife stage does not all have midlife crisis. Erikson however, felt that this time of an individual’s life was the seventh stage when it comes to his theory of lifespan. 

    This is when we discuss what Erikson called the Generativity versus stagnation. This is considered the stage Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. This stage takes place during middle adulthood between the ages of approximately 40 and 65 (Simply Psychology, 2016).  When it comes to Generativity it is some pleasure in what has been done in one’s life. On the other hand stagnation, is the point where an individual will feel discontent this situation happens quite often in life (Logan, 1986). After taking much time to explore Levinson’s theories, I found that his theories focused more towards men and how they navigated through midlife transitions. In addition, Levinson’s theory focused on the realization of a man’s hopes and dreams that cannot be fulfilled in one lifetime. From all of this it lead me to the individuation process. “The individuation process is known as the term coined by psychologist Carl Gustav Jung to describe the process of becoming inwardly whole, discovering one’s true self, beyond the mask of the persona and ego centered life”(mydrsy.com, 2016).



    Knowing what individuation is we can now discuss the four polarities that need resolution. They are as follows:  1). Masculine/Feminine; 2). Young & Old;   3). Destruction/Creation; 4). Attachment/Separateness (Levinson, 1978).  As a man become older through many stages of life, he must come to terms with being young and old in development. When he looks back on destructiveness or hurtfulness, he will be able to find the need to become more creative. When it comes to the feminine and the masculine, he will be able to accept each aspect to these two categories. In this case, he will be able to find better solution to integrate needs of attachment to others (Dorner, Mickler, Bowen, & Staudinger, 2005).

       In spite of all that we have discovered through Levinson’s theories it also stood applicable to women. Moreover, when it comes to gender that was not a factor when it came to Levinson’s views on the life cycle process. When it comes to Erikson’s and Levinson’s theories I have to say that they both have interesting views. When it comes to Jeff and these theories I would have to say that Jeff may reflect on his life accomplishments over the next few years. I feel that he will probably feel that he should have taken better care of his health and included more positive fun friends in his circle. In most situations as we age, we feel more alone and it is always good to have friends you can spend time with and age together.



    In my own personal opinion, I feel this helps an individual get through the aging process. I also feel that Jeff will continue to look back on his life as he ages, and come to terms with the obvious things that there is no control over. At this point, I feel he will start setting goals to do the things that he wish to do before ending off the last stages of his life. As he does this, I feel he will take advantage and enjoy the special moments being built with his family.


References

By this age, men have often made. (n.d.). Daniel Levinson. Retrieved September 07, 2016, from http://humangrowth.tripod.com/id3.html

McLeod, S. (2016). Erik Erikson. Retrieved September 07, 2016, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html

Mühlig-Versen, A., Bowen, C. E., & Staudinger, U. M. (2012). “Personality plasticity in later adulthood: Contextual and personal resources are needed to increase openness to new experiences”: Correction to Mühlig-Versen, Bowen, and Staudinger (2012). Psychology and Aging, 27(4), 866-866. doi:10.1037/a0031374