The real midlife crisis confronting many Americans

phys.org | 1/25/2013 | Staff
Alenaaa (Posted by) Level 3
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The way my mom imagined it, midlife was going to be great: counting down days until retirement, spending winters in Florida and checking off destinations on her bucket list. But it hasn't turned out that way.

Instead of more time spent in Florida, she's still stuck in snowy upstate New York. She traded romps in the sea and traveling the world for her daily visits to her mom, who's in a nursing home. Instead of the joys of living the snowbird life, she's saddled with stress, guilt and the challenges of caring for my grandmother, who is 89 and dealing with dementia.

Life - Midlife - Mom - Tells

"This is not how I imagined my life at midlife," my mom, who is 61, tells me.

She isn't alone.

Study - Colleagues - Adults - People - Basis

In a study my colleagues and I conducted on middle-aged adults, we followed 360 people on a monthly basis for two years, tracking their life events, health, well-being and character.

We found that midlife, generally considered to encompass the ages of 40 to 65, has become a time of crisis. But it's not the kind of crisis that exists in popular imagination—when parents, with their kids out of the house, feel compelled to make up for lost time and relive their glory days.

Money - Sports - Car - Time - World

There's little money for a red sports car. No time for jetting around the world. And a trophy wife? Forget that.

Instead, the midlife crisis experienced by most people is subtler, more nuanced and rarely discussed among family and friends. It can be best described as the "big squeeze"—a period during which middle-aged adults are increasingly confronted with the impossible choice of deciding how to split their time and money between themselves, their parents and their kids.

Adults - Care - Aging - Parents - Kids

Many middle-aged adults increasingly feel obligated to take care of both their aging parents and their kids.

Insufficient family leave policies force middle-aged adults to decide between...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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