Going through midlife crisis is an inescapable dilemma as everyone ages and there is no exception even in China with decades of extra ordinary economic progress since 70s. Middle age man crisis usually was defined for man between 40 and 80 years of age but the more relevant criteria ought to be on psychological level; when one decided he had done all he could and had entered a phase of non aggressive lifestyle and begin reflecting the past; in addition. Not unlike others, Chinese man also often wonder and second guess their life objective beginning from mid 30s once they had established a stable livelihood and family with young children to provide for.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus
Therefore, we can examine the symptoms of Chinese middle age man crisis in 3 perspectives; state of physical, self-perception and social supports; getting old is not something new as many past generations had also gone through the process as on one can escape the eventuality of aging and death assuming one escape others means of premature mortality; lifestyle related sickness and accident, as man ironically becomes the greatest enemy of their own in the unprecedented peacetime and medical advancement and place us far ahead of the life curve gaining easily 20 to 30 years of life expectancy for Chinese man between 70s and 2020s.
Deteriorating Physical Performance: Midlife Chinese man inevitably going through overall degradation of physical health common to man on prostate enlargement, lifestyle complication of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, impotent and weight gain often exacerbated by poor quality of rest and all had collectively taken a toll on one’s performance in work, family and social life. Tell tales signs of frequent toilet break in night disrupting quality sleep, receding hairlines, lowering threshold of tolerance on delays, problems, susceptible of becoming annoyed or anxious on trivial matters are all part of a package of growing old.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein
Challenges in keeping healthy Self perception: We live in a consumable and online culture where personal glorification are the norm with the endless stream of gloating Facebook posts and self-congratulatory LinkedIn updates: evidence has suggested that there is a link between high Facebook activity and depression. Ego and sense of achievement are two major enemy for Chinese man in their 40s and beyond. Asian man with the heaviest financial commitment in this transition period tend to suck up all the pressure within themselves and normally seldom being emotionally expressive enough to tap on peer supports; unlike their counterparts of women who are proven to be more emotional and stress resilient, many middle aged Chinese eventually blew their top off once the pressure within break the threshold level and had the the lowest self-respect and self-worth as many yet to achieve the climax in their careers or businesses with maximum contribution not realizing typical definition of success can had two aspects; both personal satisfaction and organisation fulfillment.
Weakening Family support: Marital affairs peak as many Chinese middle aged man who had established stability and wealth seek out unknowingly to relish the youth and pleasant thrills with younger counterparts often ended up with messy complication; gone were the days where Chinese man draws great pride and self-dignity being the sole breadwinner of the households; well respected and hold unquestionable high ground in his social circles; However modern days’s dual income arrangement with both better educated parents earning an income to battle the rising cost of competitive living in cities where women often shines and outperform the males and unwittingly downplay the inherent ego the man needed to thrive in his pursuit of glory and meanings especially in his midlife stage. Some younger and well-versed man self adjust and accommodate to the new demographic demands well but many others falls into the abyss of self-doubts and gone astray seeking alternative meanings.
“The best things in life are simple, abundant, and free.” ― Debasish Mridha
Remedy for Midlife Crisis Soft Landing: Well, none can defy the law of nature of maturity but ensuring one get sufficient rest goes a long way to maintain and enhance one’s natural immunity shield is the first step; in addition, having the correct perspective and values would had helped many to go through the transition and learn to accept certain matters are out of your hands in the larger scheme of things. Set the right priority and what is the main objective in life and stop giving excuses of lacking of time for things that truly matters; Active engagement of moderate social group with like minded individuals with a common higher values play a key part. i.e. Christian cell group, self-help gathering, bible study group. Another important but effective remedy is having Spouses of the middle age Chinese man to learn to thread the thin line in massaging man’s ego and go the extra miles in promoting man’s sensitiveness and invulnerability for a win-win outcome and last but not least; listen to the advice or two of older peers who had successfully maneuvered for a smooth soft landings.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius
Summary: Trickiest notion about midlife crisis is expectation management. The proliferation of new media tested the moral fiber of Chinese man competing to outshine each other like there is no tomorrow striving to meet the criteria of contemporary definition of success giving in the the massive influences of peer pressure and public media. Not unlike Winter had barely begun, but the chill has set in prematurely, we outlive our predecessor by few decades and middle age transition had set in way to much earlier relatively. The midlife groom underscores Chinese man long term happiness sole reliance on economic progress and neglected others aspects on what defines happiness.
It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.– Charles Spurgeon
In fact, getting old graciously emerging from midlife crisis as decent survivors with the integrity of family, career, self-worth, physical well-being and social peers intact is a lesson all Chinese man had to learn and apply, Chinese man are living in the longest peacetime ever, enjoying all the fruits life had got to offer, with longer lifespan, better health management and comforts of modern day livings. Midlife challenges simply means one had overcome all the odds our predecessors once succumbed and living is never this rewarding before so long we learn to manage our expectations and embracing the facts that we belong to something greater than ourselves collectively.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, — ‘Now we’re just here to be memories for our kids.