What’s Behind The Millennial Midlife Crisis, And How Women Are Coping



Jun. 17 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Millennial women are reaching a pivotal age, dealing with what feels like a midlife crisis. It’s almost like a rite of passage — a period where the brevity of life and unfulfilled aspirations come together for every generation. The pressure mounts even further as social media constantly reflects the lives of peers living out their dream experiences.

They’re traveling the world, enjoying lavish vacations and achieving milestones that seem out of reach. Meanwhile, you find yourself working the nine-to-five grind, tirelessly climbing the corporate ladder, hoping to afford these luxuries one day. As your impatience builds, you may even consider dipping into your hard-earned savings for a taste of those enviable experiences. It’s a moment filled with questions and doubts.

The Midlife Crisis Explained

A midlife crisis is a period in life when one faces uncertainty, emotional turmoil and reflection. Typically, it occurs in a person’s 40s and 50s as they confront their mortality and reassess their life achievements and goals.

For Boomers and Gen Xers, the crisis often manifested in stereotypical ways — buying sports cars, making dramatic career changes or pursuing new relationships. Many of these reactions occurred due to societal expectations and the struggle to find meaning or satisfaction in the second half of life.

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How The Midlife Crisis Is Hitting You Differently

While Millennial women are on the brink of this period — a midlife crisis is happening to them earlier than average — it’s different for them. Gen Xers and Boomers could afford the fancy red sports cars, but Millennials don’t have those same luxuries.

Dr. Tirell De Gannes — a licensed clinical psychologist at the Thriving Center of Psychology — explains, “Millennials are experiencing these symptoms for a variety of reasons including but not limited to; growing up with the expectations of moving out at a young age and being self-sufficient without the resources. They’re also making far less money than is necessary to live independently (even if it is more than their parents).”

Many are still renting because they can’t afford a house. Research shows only 42% of Millennials have owned a home by age 30, compared to 48% of Gen Xers and 51% of Baby Boomers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the sales price of homes averages around $505,700 today.

Teddi Schill of Portland Area Home Group noted, “In the 1980s, $500,000 could buy you a mansion in many parts of the country. Today, that same amount of money will barely buy you a starter home in many major metropolitan areas.” Millennials have much less buying power than previous generations.

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How Millennials Are Managing A Midlife Crisis

When the midlife crisis hits, women manage it through various coping mechanisms. For some, this stress leads to drinking, overeating or making impulsive but smaller buying decisions. Meanwhile, others have found healthier ways to fill the void, such as picking up a new hobby or switching careers.

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Take Tammeca Rochester, for example. Tammeca shared her journey with Her Agenda, going from a marketer and engineer to becoming the owner and founder of Harlem Cycle. “I saw a need and wasn’t happy with what I thought would happen if I didn’t solve the problem myself, “ she said. “They had bigger gyms like the New York Sports Club and the YMCA, but they didn’t tailor to what I felt we needed. What I felt we needed was more of a connection for people to stay committed and passionate about their wellness.”

For any woman going through a midlife crisis, this should be a period of growth and opportunity. As Mika Price — Senior Vice President of Production at Paramount Pictures — reminds us, “There’s no shortage of finish lines we are dreaming of in the new year, but remember that the journey will require work.” A midlife crisis should be a time to reassess, set new goals, and embrace whatever is ahead, knowing everyone’s path will be different.

Coping With A Midlife Crisis

Turn the midlife crisis from a negative to a positive. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for self-discovery and reinvention. By making changes and seeking support, you can overcome any challenge. It’s never too late to pursue the life you envision for yourself.

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By: Mia Barnes

Mia Barnes is a health journalist with over 3+ years of experience specializing in workplace wellness. Mia believes knowledge is power. As the Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine, Mia's goal is to cover relevant topics to empower women through information.

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