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Over the past few class periods, we have learned that midlife crises are rare in middle adulthood, but sometimes still happen. Middle adulthood is a period of high emotional stability and life satisfaction, and people in this stage have a good sense of wellbeing. Despite this being a generally positive time in a person’s life, those who experience a negative life event during this stage may experience a midlife crisis. All individuals cope with adversity differently, but leisure activities have the potential to help people experiencing midlife crises better manage their situations.
One way that I think leisure can help individuals going through a midlife crisis is through travel. At this stage of life, most people are starting to plan their retirement, or have retired early.
As a result, they have more time on their hands and therefore are able to travel. We learned in class that people of this age who do not take vacation time are more likely to become ill or die sooner.
I believe that travel is a great way for middle-aged adults to cope with a midlife crisis since it allows them to essentially escape reality and take time off to relax. From personal experience, I have seen how much my grandparents have benefitted from using travel as a coping mechanism. After losing their daughter to Leukemia when they were in their late fifties, they began to take multiple cruises each winter. Not only did this allow them to escape the cold weather, it also gave them relaxing time to themselves in a setting that did not remind them of all the sadness that came with their loss.
I think that travel has a therapeutic aspect for people of all ages, and those enduring a midlife crisis would benefit from this type of leisure just as much, if not more than anyone else. Another way that leisure can help individuals cope with the stressors of a midlife crisis is because middle-aged adults have more free time to do activities that they enjoy. This is because their kids have typically moved out of the house at this point, and they are likely at a stable place in their career that doesn’t add extra stress to their lives. Common leisure activities in middle adulthood include watching TV, reading, gardening, watching movies, exercising, social networking, travel, collecting, outdoor activities, and being with friends.
Regardless of the type of leisure activities that adults engage in, I think that taking time for yourself to do things you enjoy is a healthy way to handle adversity. I have seen my parents taking up new hobbies and spending more time on things they enjoy, rather than letting their stresses from work and other circumstances consume them. For example, my mom has gotten into jewelry making and knitting in her free time, and uses these activities as a stress release. When the weather permits, my dad likes to play golf and exercise outside for a similar purpose. Not only does exercising allow him to do what he enjoys, but he also is releasing the toxins in his body that may be causing him to experience stressful midlife crisis symptoms. Overall, engaging in leisure activities is a great way to take one’s mind off of the burdens that may be contributing to a midlife crisis. Whether it be through travel, or simply taking up a hobby, doing things that make one happy should help someone feel more in control of their circumstances, and make a midlife crisis seem more manageable.
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