“Midlife Crisis”. Most of us have heard this term, some have not. But if you’re reading this, now you have. It, like all other terms, can have different meanings to different people.
To some, it means a complete catastrophe in midlife. To others, it can be smaller, and part of a number of events that occur in this “mid life” period.
Our friend the Wikipedia shows “A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in early middle-aged individuals.” The article does go on to clarify that according to studies, only about 10% of adults actually have a midlife crisis. Whew! Feel better already? :o)
This having been said, midlife can be a time of great change in one’s life. Some of this is just a natural occurrence. For example, women, once they’ve raised their children, may wish to explore areas of their lives or dreams that they put off in order to raise children. They may want to go back to school or try a new career. They may even want to explore things like dance or art.
Men, on the other hand, may feel it’s time to evaluate their lives and careers too. Some (many?) may have taken on jobs mainly so they could support their families. Others may be doing work that they sort-of fell into when they young. Another group may have gone to school and gotten degrees in something they thought they’d like, but now, after years immersed in that field, they realize that they really don’t like it at all.
Let me tell you short story. Many years ago when I had my magazine publishing business, there was a little chiropractor’s office down the hall from mine. I never saw many people going there. I stopped by the office one day, and we chatted. I mentioned that my father had wanted me to be a chiropractor, but that I had quit right before the end of my studies because it just wasn’t the right thing for me. He got this sort-of depressed look on his face, and said “You know, I never wanted to become a chiropractor. My father wanted me to, and so that’s what I did. But now that I see you living the life you want to live, I have decided that I am going to close my office and do what I want to do with my life.”
As we reach the midlife period, we become more aware of the aging of our bodies, and therefore naturally become more aware of our mortality, even though we still have many years left to live. We thus feel it appropriate to evaluate our lives and how we’re doing in living them.
Individuals experiencing a mid-life crisis may feel:
● a desire to regain our feeling of youthfulness
● a wish to spend more time alone or with close friends
● a sense of regret for goals we have not accomplished
● a feeling of embarrassment or shame compared to our friend or coworkers
● an increased sense of sexuality or the lack thereof
● boredom, resentment, anger or confusion due to dissatisfaction with one’s marriage, health, work or economic/social status
● a desire to correct poor choices one may have made
There is a “danger of drowning” in these emotions if we let them take control of our lives. There is no doubt that we should pay attention to them should they occur, but the question is “What do we do with them”?
With some issues, such as dissatisfaction with one’s social status, it is wise to look deeper into this issue. Do we want to live our lives so that we can impress others? How many people do you think are doing work they don’t like or working way too hard just to impress other people who don’t even care about them? Does that make sense?
On the other hand, other issues may be a genuine signal that we might need to change our actions and course. A desire to regain our feeling of youthfulness may lead to more spontaneous activities, such as travel. Hopefully, it will also lead to a decision to take better care of our bodies through exercise and nutrition. This, in turn, may engender new passions such as hiking, cycling, etc.
Some issues, however, may have a simple, though perhaps not easy, solution. If we have regrets about poor choices in our youth, missed opportunities, and other topics, in some cases it is probably time to make a conscious decision to lust let them go. Practices such as EFT, explained in our Natural Healing section, can help a lot to release regret and related negative emotions.
There may, however, be some instances where we can indeed remedy errors from our past. A call or, better yet, a visit to someone we have wronged, accompanied with an apology and perhaps an explanation, may be just what we need to release some regret. In other cases, some material or financial restitution may be appropriate: buying a new bike to replace your friend’s bike you wrecked will go a long way to relieve that festering guilt.
So, instead of looking at issues as “problems” or worries that arise during your middle age, how about seeing them as opportunities to reevaluate your life and “Make the rest of your life the best of your life”.