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Midlife Crisis: 10 Warning Signs (PHOTOS)

Midlife Crisis Signs

The Huffington Post   Evan Allis First Posted: 10/17/11 11:10 AM ET Updated: 10/28/11 04:30 PM ET

We've all been inundated with images of the midlife crisis: Harley-mounted, silver-haired 50-somethings riding off (reluctantly) into the sunset of their later years.

But what does this period of self-doubt really mean, and how can we recognize its grip on our own lives? Certainly not every period of self-criticism or depression in middle-aged folks is connected to panic over aging, but how do you know if you're in the midst of a struggle with the blues or in the throes of a full-blown calamity?

Here are 10 signs of a midlife crisis:

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  • <strong>1.</strong> A growing sense of regret over unattained goals.

  • <strong>2.</strong> New feelings of self-consciousness around more successful colleagues.

  • <strong>3.</strong> A new emphasis on remaining youthful when the effort previously seemed unimportant.

  • <strong>4.</strong> A desire to spend more time alone or with certain peers who could be characterized as "youthful" or "comfortable in their own skin."

  • <strong>5.</strong> A new-found tendency to abuse alcohol.

  • <strong>6.</strong> Placing import on acquiring unusual or expensive items when such purchases could previously have been described as frivolous or impulsive.

  • <strong>7.</strong> A sharp increase in self-criticism with a correlating decline in self-compassion.

  • <strong>8.</strong> Obsessing over one's physical appearance when similar attention was previously unpaid.

  • <strong>9.</strong> Placing unusual amounts of pressure and stress on one's children to excel in a variety of fields.

  • <strong>10.</strong> Entering relationships with younger partners.

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