Two of my nephews and a niece have tattoos. Then I gave my son a frown when he had one on his upper right arm. When another appeared on his upper back, I told him that I did not want to see another one on him.
Call me old-fashioned but I just can not comprehend why people would suffer more than a thousand pinpricks to have graffiti on their bodies.
But out of naivety, I asked my niece the reason for her tattoo. Her answer left me speechless. She simply said, “To make a statement.”
Knowing better than to have a verbal tussle with a 20 something girl, I read about tattoos and why more and more people are having just about every part of their bodies look like a coloring book.
The result of my quest was far from exclusive, but interesting. It seems that people having tattoos are in midlife crisis.
This was confirmed by an American tattoo artist I met two weeks later. He said that people coming in for tattoos are, indeed, indeed in their late 30s and beyond. But he added that some young people are having tattoos, too, because it is “cool.”
On the surface, “making a statement,” or “cool,” seems different, until taken in their deeper context. They are actually different expressions of the same thing – midlife crisis.
What is midlife crisis?
Formally, it is “an emotion crisis of identity and self-confidence that usually occurs in early middle age.”
Informally, it is the age where a guy starts acting strangely, even weird, to people who know him.
For men, it is typically around 43 above, while that for women, 44 above.
However, because of our current fast pace lifestyle, ie, individualism, competition for attention, career, fashion, love for material things, and many others, that age is getting lower.
Midlife crises is diagnosed differently between sexes and individual circumstances.
It makes them think and act strangely; erodes their self-confidence and feeds on their own-doubts.
Some experience depressions, while other splurge on clothes, expensive cars, and even take up different vocabulary.
They start sporting tattoos, have their ears or noses pierced, or experiment on drugs. Men start having relationships simply to prove that they still have some juice.
Midlife crisis is generally harmless, and more often than not, taken jocularly. But if not handled well, it can affect relationships, families, finances, or even careers.
It is not prevalent. Only 20% of men experience it, according to experts. But it could not be washed away like a common cold because its consequences can be unpleasant and long-lasting.
When you are approaching midlife, or already there, therefore, it is very important to exercise these seven steps to ride it out without buying a Ferrari.
1. Notice it:
Handling it well starts with noticing the changes in your habits, preferences, tastes and inclinations, very much like not a wart or pimple when you look at yourself fin the mirror.
Be intentally aware of what is happening, and what you are feeling.
2. Open up:
Before someone tells you, you are acting funny, tell them you are feeling funny.
Tell your spouse or a close friend. If they love you that much, they will understand. They will be supportive and may even offer suggestions on how to deal with it effectively and positively.
We all need someone to talk to; talk about what you think or feel.
If you do not hesitate asking a neighbor for help on a plumbing or roof problem, why not for personal matters?
3. Do not think about it too much:
Remember that you are going through a certain phase in life – not a cul-de-sac.
Thinking about it so much will affect your capacity to do other things, to pursue you primal interests and take you off course.
4. Express it:
If, suddenly, you feel like bungee jumping, do not just go and look for a canyon or a tower to do it. Talk about it with a close friend, or your family.
It is better to get their thoughts about it. They may encourage or dissuade you for your own good. But at the end of the day, it is still your decision whether to go or not.
At least you have spared them from possible unpleasant surprises of what you did. Beside, they might even help you succeed.
5. Laugh it off:
It is so easy to laugh at other funniness but difficult to laugh at ours ..
People in midlife crisis are sometimes the butt of jokes, the subject of constant ribbing and rubbing. When you are at the receiving end of it, laugh it off.
No sense in getting riled about subject others will experience or have experienced already. You are not unique. Others have traveled the route and many will.
Laugh at yourself for a change. It is healthy.
6. Do not beat yourself:
Too often we are our own worst critic. We think that we are not intelligent enough, good looking enough, rich enough, and many other negative things we label ourselves with.
Actually nobody really cares what are or what you have. What they care more is how you carry yourself, how you handle varying situations in life, your character, attitude and outlook.
Nobody's perfect. They have their own shortcomings and feelings of inadequacies.
7. Have fun:
Remember that at midlife, you are midway between being careful and being serious about life.
In either case, there is every reason to have fun. Not many has reached that far or achieved as much.
Your kind of fun may be a little different than what you were used to, but it is fun, just the same.
The moment you stop having fun, you stop appreciating life. You stop evolving and becoming who you are meant to be.