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'Midlife crisis' - blessing or curse?

What does it all mean? Where am I going? Is this it??

Those are typical questions that arise during the ubiquitous "midlife crisis" - a term that's become entrenched in popular culture.

Clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyane discusses the genesis of the concept, its evolution and meaning on Weekend Breakfast with Refiloe Mpakanyane.

Crisis is an experience, some turbulence of life, or a point where we reflect on things and things aren't what they are supposed to be.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

There's a sense of the ideal life and the real life and the two are in dissonance. The question is: What now? Is this all there is to it?

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

She says the phenomemon usually includes a long-term stocktaking process or a sudden realisation that results in emotional turbulence.

It could be an epiphany a person arrives at over time having evaluated questions over the journey of life, or a major epiphany that happens immediately as a consequence of something.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

The term started out linked to the age of about 40 but has now evolved to stretch from 40 to 65.

Key signifiers of that crisis are age - a sense of mortality linked to that age that says when we are younger we have this blasé attitude to life... then suddenly it pops out, perhaps because people lose significant others, maybe their peers. They'd thought 'I'm going down this journey for 25 more years and suddenly, reality is different.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

Looking at whether a midlife crisis is a blessing or a curse, Jiyane proposes that that it can be seen as a call to attention resulting in a beneficial re-evaluation.

Listen to the insightful discussion here:


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