Photo: Getty Images
Middle age brings a lot of fun – at the expense of middle aged people. Jokes about angry, hot flashing women and horny, convertible driving bald guys abound. The woman is frustrated because she’s no longer the vibrant, fertile and svelte woman she once was. The man is desperate to relive his youthful glory days by dumping his wife for a younger model, acquiring a toupee and buying an open-top car his paunch can barely fit into. And on it goes, with each generation having its own spin on the stereotypes.
What researchers said really happens are simply shifts in life. Like the teen years, the 20s and so on, the middle age years also bring challenges. Like some teens have trouble with life and some sail through adolescence, the same thing can happen with people in any decade of their lives. And like puberty, menopause can have its challenges but not to the extent that the media would have us believe.
Alexandra Freund, a life-span researcher at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, has seen people go through all sorts of phases throughout their lives. In an interview with LiveScience, she explained that “…there can be times when things crystallize as very problematic, a very deep disturbance in your life. People experience these types of crises, but they are not at all related to age."
But what is certainly seen in middle age is people who are not losing control of their lives like so many think – it’s that people are finally in control of their lives. They no longer put up with certain situations the same way they did when they were younger and find themselves more settled into a sense of who they are and where they are going. This kind of “settlement” is sometimes looked upon as giving up or losing one’s sense of adventure and throwing caution to the wind, instead of the reality that is middle age is often a time where people can gladly reap what they have sown.