Re-defining the Middle Age Crisis

Reframing the phrase, middle-age crisis, is important because it is a normal process of life to strive toward goals, improve ourselves and help others.

The term, crisis, evokes a heightened that is not necessary when one approaches this stage. People go through various stages as they age and middle-age is just another stage. It is important to realize, not all people have conflicts at this stage.

As people enter this age, it may be that they never developed a healthy view of themselves, their innate skills and strengths and more importantly, their self-discovery.

Identifying what one wants, with a clear conscious choice, is difficult if that person is not sure of who he/she is and how they got to their current state.

This issue has its roots in the person’s’ childhood, if the person was a victim, if he/she didn’t resolve past pain, and if the individual didn’t realize his self worth. People need to learn how to identify what they want in life, what brings them joy and fulfillment in order to have a clear vision for themselves to move forward.

Generativity vs. Stagnation

First Step: Eric Erickson’s stage of psychosocial development, noted that this stage, Generativity vs. Stagnation, occurs during middle adulthood, where one generally has established a career, is in a relationship, has a family, and feels connected to the home and community.

By not doing any of these activities, a person may become stagnant, feel and or be unproductive and disconnected to others and themselves.

People, between the ages of 45-60, may experience this time as stressful and may have a fluctuating sense of self. It is a time that evokes memories of childhood, changes occur in how one perceives himself, there are more losses; parents and friends have died or moved away or stopped being friends and children have left the nest.

Illnesses may be present and impacting one’s ability to function.

This time period is also one of introspection and reflection. One’s emotions are engaged in a conflict, between desire and need. As people age, the sense of mortality becomes more real as they become more aware of people who have died who are close to them in age.

Many people at this stage want to find meaning and purpose for their live.


We are all SPIES. We connect in the following ways. The level of importance as we judge each area is based on one’s perception and needs and wants.

S–Socially: We connect with others to not be alone, to enjoy other people’s company, to have fun and to laugh. Most people don’t want to be alone and need company.
P- Physically: We observe changes in our body’s ability to be active. We potentially have more illnesses, medications, limitations and tolerance. We realize we’re not 20-years-old anymore.
I- Intellectually: We have a deep desire to discuss topics we find interesting, challenging, etc. We need to have our minds stimulated to feel alive
E- Emotionally: We may have relationships that change, whether it’s through divorce, separation or death.
S- Spiritually: We may find a re-awakening or need to be connected with a religious association to feel connected and supported.

As SPIES, we need to identify or take into account, where we are at this time in our journey, in life. We need to determine what is important for our current situation and needs and ascertain how to go about finding this awareness and then decide to take specific steps to resolve the concerns.

Re-defining the Middle Age Crisis

Jane Rosenblum, LCSW, CCM

Jane Rosenblum, LCSW, CCM is a licensed therapist currently working as a certified case manager. She has extensive experience working with children and geriatric individuals and her 25-year plus career spans settings including medical, psychiatric, substance abuse, home care and schools. Rosenblum is compiling a platform of articles and newsletters that will be found at her site .


APA Reference
Rosenblum, J. (2016). Re-defining the Middle Age Crisis. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 9, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 22 Jan 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Jan 2016
Published on All rights reserved.