THAT MIDLIFE CRISIS

A Midlife Crisis can be a good thing - a time to put ourselves first again


THAT MIDLIFE CRISIS

There's a lot of talk about the good old Midlife Crisis. It is laughed about and mocked by most people, but despite that, we can often look back and see a distinct time in our life when we asked ourselves a few hard questions. For some reason this seems to happen around the time we hit Midlife - probably because we actually have enough headspace to start thinking about ourselves again.

THE MIDDLE OF LIFE CRISIS

I read an interesting article awhile ago by Mateo Sol from Lonerwolf.com where he talks about having three life crises - the first early on, the third close to the end, and the second (the "Midlife crisis") in the middle. He says:

The second great calling presents itself as a “midlife crisis.” This crisis may come in the form of an affair, a divorce, severe job unhappiness, an empty nest, lifeless relationships, endless life dissatisfaction, or disappointment with the way life has gone. Ultimately, in my opinion, the midlife crisis comes at a moment where you’ve gathered enough wisdom to know that you’re not going to live forever.

Most people who experience midlife crises have spent their entire lives raising a family, or working in a career. They haven’t had the time, or capacity, to ask the important questions in life. Eventually, something triggers the question, “Is this all there is?”


A Midlife Crisis can be a good thing - a time to put ourselves first again

IS THAT ALL THERE IS?

This seems to be the question a lot of us come up against. We realize that we are pretty superfluous in our adult kids' lives and we are often stuck in boring jobs or in a cycle of repeating the same things week after week. We start to wonder if there could be more, and how we go about finding that "more" for ourselves.

I don't think we all want to run away and buy a red sports car (although I know my husband has a not-so-secret yearning for one!) I don't think we need to get divorced, or have an affair, or climb Mt Everest, or get a facelift, or run away from our lives. But I do think we hit a point where we start re-thinking some of our long held priorities and wonder where we can make some changes.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

So what do we do? That's the big question, and it's different for everyone. For me it started with leaving my old job behind and hoping like crazy that there was something else out there for me. It morphed into some big discussions on the future of our marriage and a re-commitment to doing life together. It has also meant letting go of my notions of how much time I get to interact with our grown and flown "kids". I've also re-evaluated some friendships and let some people go from my life.

I don't think the changes have come to an end. Midlife hasn't been one major crisis for me, but it seems to have brought about several upheavals that have changed how I see my world and how I see myself. I actually think that a Midlife Crisis is a good thing, not a joke and not something to be mocked, but a turning point when we start making ourselves a priority again and working out how that translates into the second half of our lives.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you had a Midlife Crisis? Have you made any radical changes when 50 appeared on your radar? Is your life exactly the same as it was 10 years ago or are you morphing, like me, into something new and maybe even better?

A Midlife Crisis can be a good thing - a time to put ourselves first again

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19 comments

  1. I had a massive crisis at 40. Massive. How our marriage survived the changes I put myself through is beyond me, but it has. The overriding questions: Is that All There is and Is This Who I'm Meant To Be were the over-riding themes. I'm a profoundly different person now to who I was then. Not better or worse, but different. It was like George Michael's song, Freedom - there's someone I forgot to be. My husband is 6 years older than me and has sailed through. His crisis came last year at 55 in a series of external events which prompted our sea-change - and the changes I've gone through at 50. The crises can be destructive, but I think only if you refuse to change or grow or morph or whatever you call it. They can also help you be a more authentic version of yourself - and that's a good thing.

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    1. I don't think I was ready at 40 to have a crisis Jo - I was still running around being all things to all people. It wasn't until the kids left and life slowed down a bit that I suddenly started asking those questions - throw in a miserable job, a husband having a crisis, kids ignoring me and goodness knows what else and that was my early 50's. It brought about some great changes though - so I guess it's a case of no pain no gain :)

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  2. I hit a massive crisis at 52. I don't know that it was a mid-life crisis at that point, but rather a cancer-crisis with a prognosis of less than a year to live. (The surgeon got that one wrong!!!)
    I came out of the cancer crisis with all these questions spinning through my head, and at that point I turned to writing which until then was purely a hobby. I became a published author during that decade and now have a number of books and many articles published. So yes, for me the midlife crises (plural) aided and abetted by cancer, was certainly a good thing for me. It literally changed my life. How to Be Part of a Powerful Street Team

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    1. Wow Shirley! At least I didn't have a life threatening illness thrown in on top of my crisis. But it shows how strong you are to have turned it into something so positive and powerful. I think it's what we do with the curve balls life throws at us that makes all the difference - the same circumstances can make or break you depending on your attitude and resilience. Glad you proved those doctors wrong!

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  3. My midlife crisis was fuelled by the death of my father followed quickly by my mother’s stroke. I think there are a lot of external factors, as well as hormonal and physical changes that come together in a kind of midlife perfect storm. I started writing to make sense of it and it has helped me enormously.

    I think if we can find something creative and positive for ourselves at this age it opens up the future and we can see the possibilities. I think about everything I’ve done in the last 20 years and realise just how much I can pack into the next 20!

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    1. It's such a great eye opener isn't it Avril - to see what life deals us and then how we cope with it. When you're in the middle of it you wonder if you'll get through it, but once you're out the other side you realize what a leap in growth it brings with it - and yes, I'm looking forward to seeing what the next 20 years holds in store too. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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  4. I became athletic and vegetarian in my 40's due to a midlife crisis and it served me well. I also made the decision to heal my past and start living more fully. Now, I look back at all the seeking and learning I did and how it resulted in my becoming a life coach. My so called crisis was a blessing. http://lifecoachlinda.com

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    1. I wish I'd become athletic and vegetarian in my 40's Linda - it would have made my 50's easier in regard to my metabolism slowing down and my weight creeping up! I think life changes like that - and especially ones that result in a career change are exactly what a positive midlife crisis looks like.

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  5. At 50 I was the mother of a young teen. No time for a crisis! No, I suspect my crisis, and my husband’s, will be coming soon, on the cusp of retirement. My husband fell last month and may no longer be able to sustain his physical job. A lot of his identity was tied up in this. What chapter will come next? Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I guess a midlife crisis really ties in with the time of your life when you get some space back to think about yourself Alana - that doesn't happen with a young teen at home! You'll probably have yours a bit later, but if it brings positive changes then it's something to look forward to rather than dreading.

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  6. I'm not sure I had a midlife crisis per se Leanne although I suppose there were times I wondered where I was going. My savior was finding running and my Saturday Sisters. We run but also have a wonderful friendship where we can vent and confide with no judgement. I loved turning 40, 50 and now 60 because I know that life can be taken at any moment so I try to live my life to the best I can.

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    1. It's different for all of us isn't it Sue? I think there can be a series of small crises rather than one big one - for you it might have been early retirement and having to create new hobbies etc to fill your space. Blogging for both of us (and your running) has definitely been a huge help in adjusting to the process hasn't it?

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  7. I quit my corporate career of 20 years at age 50. I decided we had enough to keep us going for quite a while, and 15 days after my retirement, I set foot on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, a pilgrimage of 800 km... I started at km 300, and walked 500 km to re-find myself. It was a life changing experience and I continue to be involved with either volunteering on the Camino, or walking it. I haven't looked back.

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    1. Sylvie you should check out Donna from Retirement Reflections's blog. She and her husband have just finished the Camino Trail - it seems to be something that more people are using as a rite of passage and to mark a Midlife transition point - she did it for her husband's 70th. I'm tempted to try it one day - my husband would love it!

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  8. Hi Leanne Enjoyed this. I'd never thought of 3 Life Crisis before. I am firmly in midlife now and my 'trick' is to keep learning and being interested. I've recently started blogging (www.midlifesmarts.com) and feel like a 5 year old trying to learn to read and write. But every time I learn something new I feel a real sense of achievement. Thanks for the post. Jill

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    1. Hi Jill - I just went over and checked out your blog - you are doing fabulously! I can't believe how you have it all so "together" and with as many comments as you're getting so early in the piece - it took me a couple of years to reach that stage - so 5 year old you has certainly grasped how to read and write! Lovely to meet another Midlife blogger x

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  9. I love this and I adore your blog.

    I woke up at 40 and became a writer and a blogger. It was not as radical as having an affair or taking up a drug habit but for me, the eternal people pleaser it was a big thing to do something for me. When you have spent 40 years doing stuff for others, putting your own enjoyment behind the enjoyment of others and making sure everyone else is ok when you are exhausted - this is a big thing. Have gone through some challenges with this but I am still here 4 years later, blogging and writing.

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  10. my wife is nearing 40 and has recently been through this. Painful

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  11. Everybody is so different. For me life changed dramatically aged 39 when a genetic back problem came back to haunt me and within 6 months I found myself being deemed no longer fit for work. Umpteen failed chronic pain and increasing health problems due to genetic condition since I turned 40 have left me feeling more like I am 90!! My dad bought me my first walking stick for my 40th - not just any old stick, a pink sparkly one. Well if you have to have one, might as well do it in style eh?! No middle age is nothing like I'd envisaged - I can't travel or fly due to pain, can no longer drive - but You have to make the best of it don't you. Blogging has opened a new world up which is perfect for those bad sofa days! Thank you for sharing on BUYB - I have included your link on my reg blog feature Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You! https://painpalsblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/monday-magic-inspiring-blogs-for-you-30/
    Claire (PainPalsblog)

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