Adult development relates to midlife – a less-explored, central stage of life shaped by significant events and considerable changes. The middle-age time period varies, depending on whom you ask, but midlife generally refers to the 30s through the 60s. For some, midlife epitomizes the passing of youth and the nearness of old age. Others are plagued by self-doubt and regret and spiral into a midlife crisis. And still others re-examine their goals and priorities and grow tremendously. Midlife can be many different things to many different people; however, there are a few major transitions that many people will face in their middle ages, including: aging itself, the maturation of children, empty-nest syndrome, the death of parents, the midlife crisis, divorce, retirement planning, andropause, menopause, health problems, and career changes. These midlife transitions can trigger stress, depression, substance abuse, extramarital affairs, conspicuous consumption, and other self-destructive behaviors, so recognize when you are having trouble coping and seek help.
It is normal to question past decisions; to wonder at the meaning of life; to face concerns of aging and health; to struggle with a child leaving home or a parent dying; to feel bored or restless; to find a new identity; and to re-assess finances, relationships, and careers. Studies show that the midlife transition can span five to fifteen years; therefore, it is important to acknowledge these shifts, stay active and healthy, manage stress, and focus on your strengths.