After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

Michelle Yeoh became the first Chinese Oscar actress in history with "Instantaneous Universe", and she stood on the podium at the age of 60.

In a sense, the plot of the movie shines into reality.

Michelle Yeoh plays the role of a tired and gray wife and mother, facing multiple pressures such as housework, family discord, and economic crisis (tax audit). She shuttles back and forth in the multiverse and finally becomes a superhero, lifting her "midlife crisis" with the world.

This role also allowed Michelle Yeoh herself to break through the "middle-aged actress crisis" and stand at the peak of her personal career. As she held up the Oscar trophy, she said, "Ladies, don't let anyone tell you that you're past your prime." ”

After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

Michelle Yeoh lifts the Oscar trophy丨The New York Times

How many people can be like Michelle Yeoh, in middle age there is not a "crisis" but a "turnaround"?

Women's midlife crisis always seems to be cheating/divorce/resignation/travel/fitness/meditation/painting/playing mahjong/career/seeing a psychologist, while men's midlife crisis is cheating/divorce/resignation/travel/fitness/photography/fishing/playing games/playing stereo...

In short, all kinds of ways to get rid of worries. If you ask middle-aged people what they are worried about, they will quote Zhang Ailing's saying, "Because as soon as he opens his eyes, he is surrounded by people who want to rely on him, but there is no one he can rely on." ”

Is the "midlife crisis" real? Or are middle-aged people "worried about giving new words"?

Is there a midlife crisis?

Middle age generally refers to between 40~60 years old. The broad point can be floated back and forth for 5 years, and 35~65 years old is counted as middle age. Speaking of which, this age can also be called "prime life". Although the body is slightly lower than in youth, the wisdom and experience greatly exceed the ignorance of youth. Many people reach the peak of their income in middle age, which is the "golden age" of the job market.

For this reason, for many years, midlife has been considered the pinnacle, not the trough, of life. In Western paintings, when the "stages of life" are depicted, middle age is the highest level of the ladder.

After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

The middle age stage of reaching the peak |

In recent decades, however, it has become recognized that midlife is a time of crisis. Scholars have done a lot of related research. A new 2022 study, The Midlife Crisis, analyzed data from more than 500,000 people in rich countries and found that midlife crises do exist.

These 500,000 people live in developed and wealthy countries, close to their peak incomes, are basically healthy, and should live comfortably and happily.

However, in many ways, people's "pain" peaks in middle age -

(1) The suicide rate peaks in middle age,

(2) Severe depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, feeling that life is meaningless, reaching a peak in middle age,

(3) Sleep poorly, sleep time reaches the lowest point in middle age, and people who go to see sleep problems are the most middle-aged people,

(4) Alcoholism, alcoholism problems peak in middle age,

(5) Work is stressful, middle-aged people most often say that their work is "complicated and difficult", "worried that the pressure caused by work makes me unwell",

(6) Severe disabling migraine, so painful that it will affect work and life, peaking in middle age,

(7) Middle-aged people are also the most likely to find it difficult to concentrate and have memory problems.

In summary, "in middle age, people disproportionately end their lives, have sleep disturbances, suffer from clinical depression, spend time contemplating suicide, feel that life has no meaning, have difficulty concentrating, forget things, feel overwhelmed in the workplace, suffer from disabling headaches, and become dependent on alcohol." ”

The study also found that midlife crises are similar between men and women. In the face of pain, gender equality.

Another new 2020 study, The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being, similarly argues that a midlife crisis is absolute. The study was done by economists, who analyzed data from 8 million people and found — middle-aged people who laughed the least, were depressed and sad the most, ate the most on antidepressants, and slept the worst and least enough.

Life satisfaction of middle-aged Europeans

In addition, in recent years, the United States has found that among middle-aged people aged 35~64, "death due to despair" (death from drugs, alcoholism or suicide) has increased significantly. Other age groups did not have such a "desperate death rise".

The study's authors, economists, also say why do economists detect midlife crises when psychologists often don't? The reason is that psychologists often use too small a sample size, sometimes a total of hundreds of people, each age group is divided into a few people, how can such a data amount be enough?

When economists analyze big data, they believe that the impact of the midlife crisis is significant, with life satisfaction at age 53 in the United States being 0.55 lower than age 18 — a drop equivalent to the pain of cancer or the pain of widowhood multiplied by two.

As mentioned earlier, a lot of data is Western, so do we have a midlife crisis Chinese?


According to the Gallup World Poll 2005~2019 survey, our lowest point of Chinese life satisfaction occurred at the age of 50~52.

A 2012 study in Chinese Social Sciences found that people aged 41~50 in China have the lowest sense of happiness.

A study in the 2021 "Labor Economics Research" also shows that the happiness of young and elderly people is about 3.8, and the happiness of middle-aged people aged 40~50 is only 3.5.

After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

Chinese happiness varies with age

Not to mention people, even the orangutans in the zoo are in the worst mood in middle age. A 2012 study showed that two groups of chimpanzees and a group of orangutans were found, for a total of 508 individuals. Zookeepers, researchers, and volunteers who have known the orangutans (for at least 2 years) were then asked to assess the mood of the orangutans. The results showed that the orangutans all showed a clear midlife crisis, and the middle age was the most depressed in their thirties and forties.

After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

Orangutans are also at their lowest levels in middle age

Why is there a midlife crisis?

There are many theories about this.

A 2008 study surveyed 72 countries and regions, including China. The results show that happiness for everyone, whether in Zimbabwe or Saudi Arabia, is at a low point in their forties. And this pain is difficult to blame on the external environment, whether you have a job or unemployment, marriage or divorce, health or illness, high or low education, living in a poor country or a rich country ...

It can be said that all people are the least happy in middle age, and it seems that "something deep inside causes the pain of middle age."

There is a possibility that when people reach middle age, they begin to go downhill, feeling that they are no longer getting stronger and stronger, but gradually weakening and dying.

Don't bully young people into being poor, in other words, it actually means that you can bully middle-aged and poor. In "Zengguangxian Wen", "after fifteen months there is little light, people will rest in middle age", which also cruelly said that middle-aged people who have not achieved much now will find it difficult to do great things in the future.

Many people with a midlife crisis begin to ask themselves all sorts of philosophical questions – who am I? What am I going to do? Why am I in this world? Where am I going?

If you can't answer these questions honestly and calmly, you may be caught up in prolonged confusion, entanglement, and pain.

Middle age is also the age when you begin to face up to the aging of your body.

Aging actually begins at the age of 14. The human mortality rate is the lowest at the age of 5~14, and since then, the mortality rate has doubled every 8 years.

At the age of 30, muscle mass begins to decline by 1~2% per year, and you significantly lose the ability to listen to high-frequency sounds. Your lung capacity is also past its peak (20 for women and 27 for men).

At age 35, brain volume begins to decline at a rate of 0.2% per year. Your memory, information processing speed, also began to decline.

Both men and women, at the age of 35, they begin to enter the stage of "elderly parents", and the difficulty of childbearing and the abnormal risk of fetuses begin to gradually increase.

At the age of 40, due to the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in hair follicle cells. The hair is visibly starting to turn gray. Wrinkles appear between the eyebrows.

As the lens hardens, presbyopia may begin to become apparent. The transparency of the lens also began to decrease, and blue, green, and purple objects became less distinct.

If you're a woman, you're starting to lose your taste buds at age 40. (If it is a man, he will start to lose his taste buds at the age of 50). At first, the saltiness and sweetness become less intense, and slowly the sourness and bitterness no longer move you.

At the age of 50, hair becomes thinner and thinner. Crow's feet and forehead wrinkles appear. Bone density begins to decline. The fat also began to redistribute, changing from the legs to the abdomen, and visceral fat increased significantly. Women may enter menopause and say goodbye to fertility altogether.

You need to face and accept these changes in your body.

Middle age, or a... The age of a very short of money.

Money is not everything, but no money is impossible. Although the midlife crisis is not just caused by money, the lack of money will definitely exacerbate the pain of the midlife crisis. In addition, if you add enough money, you can also force happiness up.

A 2021 China study calculated "how much money it would take to make up for the midlife crisis." The conclusion is that if the family income of 30~50 years old doubles, the happiness can rise by 0.2, almost returning to the happiness level of youth.

The study also found that losing your job or not owning a home exacerbates the pain of a midlife crisis.

For example, the midlife crisis of a working person needs 307,000 yuan a year to make up, while the midlife crisis of a person without a job needs 497,000 yuan a year to make up.

The midlife crisis of people who have a house needs 157,000 yuan a year to make up, while the midlife crisis of people without a house needs 909,000 yuan a year to make up!

Unfortunately, China's "earning curve" is bad for middle-aged people. A 2021 study showed that the highest point of American income occurred at the age of 55, and the highest point of Chinese earning was actually at the age of 35. This means that Chinese for most of middle age, incomes are going downhill.

After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

Chinese the relationship between income and age, the green line is the situation in 2009-2012, with the highest point being 35

After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

The green line for the relationship between income and age of Americans is the situation in 2009-2012, with the highest point being 55

You need to be in middle age and arrange your finances.

There is also a group that believes that "suffering in middle age" is normal, for the reasons as above, what needs to be paid attention to is not "why is there a crisis in middle age", but "why is there no crisis in old age"? This school believes that perhaps because a group of people are folded in middle age, the surviving elderly think of these friends who died young, and feel that their current life is more than enough. It's also possible that happy people live longer than unhappy people, so the further back you go, the more "happy" the rest becomes.

In any case, human happiness does take a roughly U-shape throughout life.

Bittersweet, mixed with sorrow and joy, that is, middle age.

If you are middle-aged and there are obvious signs of crisis -

You may need to consider whether these pains are due to a midlife crisis.

You may need to seek help from a psychologist, especially if you are out of inner pain and want to make some major life changes – quit, divorce, run away... Well, it may be helpful to talk to a counselor before taking this big step.

The good news is that many people have successfully weathered the midlife crisis, as evidenced by the gradual rise in happiness after middle age.

Jung once said, "Life doesn't really begin until you're forty, and until then, you're just experimenting." ”

It's not so much about what you need to be "to be" in middle age, but in middle age, you finally accumulate enough wisdom and strength to throw away the parts imposed by the outside world that are not suitable for you and become "the real you" again.

The pain and confusion experienced by many middle-aged people eventually turns into tolerance and wisdom in old age. Middle-aged people struggling to get through the crisis will forgive their weaknesses, focus on the present, focus on the little things they can do, cultivate good interpersonal relationships, support those around them, and be supported by those around them.

In middle age, you may reach the peak of your income, or you may be in the workplace. You may be adept at solving problems and dependent and respected, or you may be overwhelmed by pressure and unable to sustain yourself or work. You know what you can do and where your limitations lie. You are at the top, and at the same time at the bottom. You will encounter high winds and waves, but you may also ride the wind and waves.

Middle age is when you plunge headlong into deep water, grit your teeth under the water, swim through a long section, and then surface and take a deep breath, I survived, thank myself.


[1] Giuntella, O., & MacManus, S. & Mujcic, R. & Oswald, A. & Powdthavee, N. & Tohamy, A. (2022). The Midlife Crisis. National Bureau of Economic Research, WP 30442

[2] Fang, H., & Qiu, X. (2021). “Golden Ages”: A Tale of Two Labor Markets. Age, 1991(1995), 1996-2000.

[3] Weiss A, King JE, Inoue-Murayama M, Matsuzawa T, Oswald AJ (2012). Evidence for a midlife crisis in great apes consistent with the U-shape in human well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 109(49), 19949-19952.

[4]D. G. Blanchflower and A. J. Oswald, “Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?” Social Science & Medicine 66, no. 8 (2008): 1733–49.

[5] Blanchflower, D. G., & Graham, C. L. (2020). The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: Economists (Who Find It) Versus Psychologists (Who Don't)! (No. w26888). National Bureau of Economic Research.

[6] Case, A, and A Deaton (2015a), “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(49): 15078–83.

[7] Bilder, G. E. (2016). Human biological aging: From macromolecules to organ systems (1st ed.). John Wiley & Sons

[8] LIU Junqiang,XIONG Moulin,SU Yang. National happiness in the period of economic growth:A longitudinal study based on CGSS data[J].Social Sciences in China,2012(12):82-102+207-208.)

[9] Yang Jidong, Zou Hongwei. Economic analysis of "midlife crisis"——Evidence based on happiness data[J].Journal of Labor Economics,2021,9(03):71-100.)

Author: You Zhiyou

Editors: Little Towel, Emeria

Cover image credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times


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After Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, how cool can it be to cross the midlife crisis?

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