Behind “Xiao Huanxi” lies the “heart crisis” of middle-aged people
The plot covers several types of mid-life crises. Fangyuan’s unemployment is a workplace crisis, Liu Jing’s cancer is a health crisis, and Qiao Weidong’s derailment is an emotional crisis. In fact, the midlife crisis is not a crisis of work, but a crisis of the heart. Work, marriage, and children, which were so strong in the first half, are no less exciting. Are you satisfied with your life? In middle age, crises expose why we live.
“Little Joy” is a hit drama this summer, and the topics triggered by the plot of the drama are frequently on the hot search list. Although the TV series tells about the different situations faced by the children of the three families in the college entrance examination, it actually reflects a phenomenon unique to middle-aged parents-the midlife crisis. The child is just a contact point that detonates the crisis.
In the play, Fang Yuan, played by Huang Lei, graduated from a prestigious university and was originally a veteran of a company. After the company’s merger and acquisition, he thought he was going to be promoted, but he was the only one in the company who was fired. At the age of 45, he was laid off. There were seniors and juniors in high school, and his wife was also demoted. Faced with the family’s living expenses and children’s education expenses, the stability and comfort that has always been shattered, Fang Yuan realized that he was at a loss, and finally broke down and cried.
The crises experienced by the three families can roughly summarize several types of midlife crises: career crisis (Fangyuan is unemployed), health crisis (Liu Jing suffers from cancer), economic crisis (Fangyuan’s parents were defrauded of 800,000 by pyramid schemes), emotional crisis (Qiao Weidong cheating). All these crises have one thing in common: fickleness. They are beyond our control. When problems arise, we discover that what we thought we could control is actually controlling us.
It is this kind of experience that resonates with many middle-aged parents. When a crisis like this strikes, can we get through it safely? It’s either danger or a turnaround
The dramatic plots experienced by several families in the play can be called “triggering events”. For Fang Yuan, the sudden unemployment triggered his crisis; for Qiao Weidong and Song Qian, the divorce caused a crisis for the whole family;
The three families are initially unaware of neglected issues in their busy lives until a “trigger event” seems to open their eyes. What they experienced was not a bad thing, and they were given this window into a life they never had. What we can be sure of is that when we hit middle age, we are either in great danger or at a turning point in our lives.
When something is taken from us, people tend to become fearful, distressed, restless or discouraged. This reveals exactly what we really live for, what really rules us. Whether career, money, power, or love, when we believe that we can’t live without them, when these things disappear or let us down, we feel that life is also leaving us, and we have lost our way.
Maybe your eyes are full of your own children. When they leave the house, you feel like your life is over and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Children are the whole meaning of your life and the motivation to get up every morning, just like the single mother Song Qian in the play.
Once Yingzi broke down completely and ran to the beach to commit suicide. Until this time, Song Qian, who is a mother, was still asking: “Mom just doesn’t understand why you have to go to Nantah!” Yingzi cried: “I don’t want to go to Nantah, I just want to escape from you.” !” Yingzi said: “You are good enough for me. You cook for me every day, give me lessons, and take care of my life. I know that it is not easy for you. I think too much. I, I am not worthy of what you give me. my love!”
For Song Qian, her daughter Yingzi is everything to her. Even for the sake of her children, she can ignore her emotions. The food must be the healthiest, such as bird’s nest, sea cucumber, whatever is nutritious and what to do; learning must make a scientific plan, every second counts, and you must pay attention to and monitor the dynamic graph of the results; the child’s room must be soundproof, and blinds should be installed outside for easy observation. In Song Qian’s eyes, all of this is for the good of Yingzi, but Yingzi is overwhelmed by these pressures. Song Qian’s “love” for her daughter Yingzi suffocates Yingzi. In the name of great motherly love, Song Qian selfishly deprived the child of her freedom, because once the child became independent, she would have no way to deal with herself.
Maybe what you care about most is health or beauty, but the health and body shape of middle-aged people can no longer return to the best state they used to be. Perhaps the financial success and material comforts are so attractive to you that when they are lost, you become discouraged. There is also a possibility that the big house that you worked hard for in the first half of your life is still there, but the luxurious decoration and exquisite furniture can no longer attract your attention, and the high-end cars are no longer as impressive as when you just changed the car. You can’t put it down, and even your spouse has begun to tire you.
Qiao Weidong experienced such a crisis. As a big boss, he owns everything including a house and a car, a successful college romance, his wife is a teacher, and his daughter is a top student. But in middle age, Qiao Weidong began to be dissatisfied with life. He thinks that his wife controls him tightly, “just like managing his son”. Taking advantage of his wife’s suspicion of cheating on him, Qiao Weidong actually left. The reason was – he was bored. I used to think that he was a “good wife and mother, and everything is fine”, but in middle age, he looks beautiful on the surface, but he has unspeakable depression and difficulties in his heart. His wife’s thoughtfulness is gradually no longer a kind of sweetness to Qiao Weidong but the contrary. become a burden.
This is exactly one of the typical manifestations of a midlife crisis: dissatisfaction with life. Suddenly, you start looking around and you don’t like your life. Life becomes goalless, routine, and dull. You may experience constant boredom and disappointment. The bottom line is that you are dissatisfied with the life story you have lived through. This dissatisfaction is not necessarily for a specific thing, but a general dissatisfaction.
These grievances are often hovering in our hearts, and when there is no real hope of solving them, people are easily manipulated by the desires of the flesh. Qiao Weidong then felt that his wife could not satisfy him, leading to cheating. People will constantly look for substitutes in an attempt to satisfy themselves. Some people overeat when they can’t be satisfied, some people cope by getting what we normally perceive as satisfying, and some people become so numb to their pursuit of leisure or indulgence that they lose hope altogether.
Not a crisis of things, but a crisis of the heart
We are all easily seduced by power, success, acceptance, appreciation, possessions, status, respect, performance, control, and comfort. Paul Tripp, the founder of a well-known American psychological counseling ministry, believes that the midlife crisis is fundamentally rooted in inner idol worship, and these idols have a strong temptation.
There are often such temptations in the Christian life. When a crisis arises, we, like the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai, begin to dedicate ourselves to other things. Forged with human hands, the golden calf has no thoughts, no feelings, no strength, no life, just an inanimate object. In ways we don’t realize, we give up our trust in God and give our hearts to things we can see, hear, and touch.
These things became our plan B. We ask them to give us what only God can give. We wanted to create something that would give us meaning and purpose, a sense of identity and security. We want houses, cars, careers, experiences, and people to satisfy our hearts. These are very real in the play.
Disturbingly, the idols we worship in the Middle age are often revealed to be incapable of delivering on their promises. Think about it: the golden calf that the Israelites worshipped ended up being a disappointment. The same goes for anything created, they can never fill the void in our hearts. We become sad, angry, and frustrated when something we have always trusted, such as our body, career, family, etc., fails us.
It is important for us to recognize that the struggles of midlife are windows into deeper, more fundamental struggles. The most basic form of a midlife crisis is actually not a crisis of something, but a crisis of the heart.
Tripp believes that many people are in what they call a midlife crisis because they don’t know the source of their identity. They grieve not just because they’re getting old, or will never achieve their dreams, or for some other reason to regret, but because they identify with experiences, relationships, or successes.
“The more advice I give to those who lose their way in midlife, the more I become convinced that the question of identity is not only one of the most important themes in biblical storytelling, but an essential part of a midlife crisis,” says Tripp. We’ve been seduced by false identities that will always fail us. We think we know who we are, but suddenly it’s not. At this moment, we’re a lot like Adam, Eve, or wandering Israelites” .
Stop being seduced by false identities
Once we see our accomplishments as an identity, we become slaves to a constant stream of potential success. This means that our purpose in life comes from our talents and efforts, so we cannot say no or slow down. If it takes away our ability to work on our next success, we feel frustrated and annoyed. Fang Yuan is frustrated because the job of defining his worth has been taken away from him.
If we use children to define our identity like Song Qian, the children’s future success and rewards to their parents will become the driving force behind our lives. We live indirectly through our children as if their success is our success. When we need our children’s success to feel good about ourselves, we do everything we can to support their success. We tell ourselves it’s for them, but really, it’s for us. It is this layer that the Chinese are least willing to reveal.
We become suffocating, bossy, success-obsessed parents, but we turn a blind eye to it because we can always say it’s for the best of our kids. Finally came the day when our kids started leaving home for school, and work and we became overwhelmed. It is a loss of identity as if we are losing our reason for being alive.
We know identities shape our thinking, choices, and behaviors, but we have a hard time getting them right. This question is an important part of the midlife crisis. Here’s the point: When our definitions of who we are are derived from horizontal factors such as family, work, marriage, children, possessions, appearance, success, and position, we run into confusion and trouble. Because essentially man should define himself from the vertical relationship with the Creator.
Such was the case with David, king of Israel. All the efforts in the first half of his life were exchanged for the status of a prominent king. It is difficult for David not to focus his status on the crown. When the years of struggle came to an end and life entered the intermission, he wandered boredly on the platform of the palace and peeped at a beautiful woman taking a bath. He committed fornication, married another man’s wife, and arranged for the man’s murder. God did not let him continue to be lost, but let him see his own corruption in a crisis, and his status as a king could not save him. God rescued David from self-pride and lust so that he could stand up amidst disappointment, weakness, delusion, and temptation.
When David focused his identity on God above the sun, he was able to overcome difficult circumstances, even the betrayal of his own son. The third Psalm was written by David when he was fleeing from his son Absalom. When he faced a crisis in his life, he didn’t question whether it was worth all these years of obeying God. All David did was put himself in the hands of the Father again. He reminded himself that he was a child of God, “The Lord is my shield around me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
What we know about who we are can powerfully shape our responses to crises. Many people experience insomnia from middle age. David had every reason to go through nights of sadness and uneasiness. But again, he surprises us by not being an angry insomniac because he hasn’t lost his source of personal security, stability, and joy—the God who defines his identity. “When I lie down and sleep, and when I wake up, the LORD protects me. I am not afraid even if tens of thousands of people come around and attack me.”
David’s sense of security did not come from his status or property, but from his relationship with God. For God was his fountain of rest, and he could sleep in the wilderness as peacefully as in the palace. Even in moments of great grief, he can lie down and rest. David’s experience shows us that what people encounter in middle age is not that God wants you to go nowhere, but the pain of transformation necessary to welcome you into a new and better life. When we focus the meaning and value of our lives on God, our crisis will become a turning point.
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe wrote: “Middle age? It’s just another stage in the abundant life that a loving Heavenly Father has in store for us. I want to keep growing… There is no growth without challenges, There is no challenge without change. When I was young, change was a joy; now, it often becomes a threat. But I need change—to experience more deeply, to hold firmly to that unshakable country.”