Midlife crisis – 4 things you need to know
MIDLIFE CRISIS – Read time less than 7-minutes.
What is midlife crisis? It’s an emotional crisis of identity and self-confidence that occurs in early middle age.
This begins around thirty-seven or thereabouts and lingers for around seven-nine years. For some it comes to finding your purpose with your passion, for others… you will need to hang on until the end to find out what.
For many it manifests as a full blown melt-down in life around thirty-nine to forty-two.
In astrological terms it is called a total-Uranus opposition. Have you heard the song “Total Eclipse of the heart?” It’s composed by Jim Steinman – the song was a hit in 1983. Mr Steinman was born in 1947. How old was he when he wrote the lyrics? You do the math.
If you don’t want to read further, then go listen to the song. That song encapsulates mid-life crisis.
No one escapes midlife crisis
The only way out is not to be alive after you turn thirty-six. But since you and I are having this conversation, let’s call you a brave-heart who is wanting to live and have what everyone fantasizes about – being skinny, happy and rich.
At the core of modern non-rural living in middle-class societies – everyone seems to be working hard at losing some weight, being happy and making money.
Midlife crisis is nothing to be afraid of. It’s not an infectious disease. Some live in denial and land up worse in their fifties and sixties with unexplainable diseases or becoming a host of harmful microbes and parasites. But you are not them are you?
When you recognize it and start seeking knowledge, wisdom, changes and breaking of bondages from the old to the new – emotionally free, and personally empowered, ready to be led and lead others to their highest potential, there is no more crisis.
How to recognize when you are in midlife crisis?
If you are wondering when you are drying up your body after your shower if you are growing fat or need to lose a few pounds or kilos, that’s midlife crisis. If you are wondering how to be happy that’s midlife crisis. If you are wondering how to make more money or save money that is midlife crisis. If you are fretting over missed hair appointments, then that’s midlife crisis.
In your twenties and early thirties you work and make money. In your late fifties and beyond you have a few nest eggs and have somehow settled into a lifestyle that you work at keeping-up.
But the time in-between thirty-seven and fifty-six and for some even fifty-eight and sixty are times when you struggle within yourself really hard on understanding the purpose behind all the madness of life.
These feelings peak after your turn forty and don’t quit until forty-seven. This is the peak of midlife crisis. You doubt everything. You question everything. And you wonder “why me?”, “why now?”, “what-if?” etc.
This is how you know you are in the thick of it
You are experiencing midlife crisis at a scale that may not manageable by you when your emotions of sorrow, shame, worries linger a little bit longer than they did before.
You spend more time in the gyms than in nature. You spend more time on the phone or internet or with your electronic toys than you do with your friends and family or meditating or engaging in journaling or introspection. You are looking for the next powder or pill that has a secret ingredient from some far-away exotic land which will help you look good and feel great. This could be a constant or intermittent quest.
Yes, that is what those in midlife crisis go through which is not harmful to others. Maybe you look at those who are the age of your children and wonder what happened to you, and in your head you are back to being half your age. That is definitely an emotional crisis and you are struggling with personal identification.
Feelings of loss, stuck, or overwhelm take over your life. Alcohol, caffeine, other intoxicants and stimulants help you function through your waking hours.
You visit the doctors, psychics, yoga schools and whatever else someone suggests. You find yourself struggling with words to describe your emotions or defend your decisions.
Shopping feels therapeutic.
If everything so far sounded terrible or true then let’s continue this conversation.
We will go through a four step breakdown of midlife crisis.
What is good about it? What is not good about it? What opportunities lie await for you when you recognize and own your journey through midlife crisis? What threats surround you, lie within and around the corner – which could be your next single inhalation?
An exit strategy from midlife crisis begins with a SWOT analysis.
A SWOT matrix is a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning.
Using a SWOT Matrix you can strategize on how to make the most of your experience and your time at this time of your life.
Let’s highlight the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of this crucial time of your life.
If you want to coast for the rest of your life then this is for you. If you want to snuggle more than struggle then this is for you. If you want to be more fascinated with your experiences, relations and life than frustrated then this is for you.
#1. Strengths – Your greatest strength is your age, experience and wisdom. You are not an impatient foolishly fearless inexperienced twenty-year old. You are neither in your early thirties who “feel” great about their new found maturity and consider themselves partying through life sensibly. You have been twenty and thirty and you know more now and feel enriched through your experience. You might have gone through a few heartaches, job-losses and financial struggles. You are stronger and wiser because of each of them. People can take away your jobs, but they can’t rob you of your education, qualifications, experience and learning. This is your strength.
#2. Weakness – You are going through menopause – this is major for both men and women. At least for women it is talked about, for men it isn’t and hence worse. Things you do not talk about; get worse.
Why is BLM such a scary topic for so many? It’s because we have not talked about it enough as a nation in the US?
People laugh and say man-o-pause to menopause for men and that’s making little of the struggle men go through during this period of their life.
Menopause is as terrible a time like when you went through during puberty. What makes it worse than puberty is that at time you had care givers in your life to provide you with food, clothes and shelter. In your forties you have to endure your own hormonal changes, provide for your children or pets and then there are your elders and parents who could be financially, physically or emotionally relying on you.
You are the in-between generation and life isn’t kind to you. You get the picture I shall not hammer it down for this conversation.
#3 Opportunities – Each battle you fought and won has made you stronger. Each time you said No or Yes and stuck to your decision has helped you build your character. If life didn’t bend you over, it taught you to stand taller. You can see further and separate the trees from the forest. You have friends, therapists and coaches who are allies in your team.
In your twenties or thirties when you said you could do something, people asked you “how long have you been doing this?” Now when you approach someone with an idea, product or service; people see your colored hair and makeup masking the lines on your face and believe you the very first time, they trust you because age translates to knowledge and experience in many ways.
#4 Threats – Self-care must be at the top of the list. If you ever flew on an airplane you were told as part of the safety instructions to put on the oxygen mask on your nose before helping anyone even an infant next to you. That is the best instruction anyone ever gave you and I want you to carry it with you for the rest of your life, beginning now.
You are a nice person and love to help. You forget that helping others doesn’t translate to hurting yourself.
For your entire life you lived your life by the book. You did or tried to do everything others told you to or you heard, read, or saw. Today you look at your life and wonder “What happened?” “How did things turn out this way?” You have food, clothes, shelter. You even have a family, a job title, money in the bank, a nice house, a nicer car, maybe a boat, an RV and even a private plane and yet what you really want are things money can never buy. Things like love, appreciation, purpose, direction, peace, joy, and a fulfilling life that seems fleeting and elusive. You feel trapped.
There are people you avoid. You struggle to connect with people from your past. You wonder how the good old days slipped through your fingers. You feel lost, stuck, overwhelmed and the bottle has become your buddy. Caffeine in the morning gets you going, a drink or smoke or both helps you wind down at night.
Your medicine chest in the bathroom has chemical concoctions prescribed by your physicians to keep your body functioning. I will leave you with a couple of questions:
- What keeps you from aging and staying mentally agile?
- What helps you buy your bliss?
In conclusion if you identify with what I had to share with you today, then let me tell you what happens when you don’t take the next step. It’s either one or more or all of the following: Stress, Inflammation, Weak immune system and Cancer – all arising out of resentment, remorse, regrets and an unforgiving heart.
Your remedy is a laying out a foundation on how you will live life on your own terms. There comes a time when you start saying Yes to yourself and promising yourself to actively engaging in self-care of your spirit, mind, heart and body.
That is what I help my clients, students and readers with. Let me know if you are curious, serious or ready to get started on your personal journey to living life free.
Ask yourself, if not me then who? If not now, then when?
Until next time, with all the love and light that is me I humbly bow to the love and light that is you.
Om, Peace, Amen, Aloha, Namaste!
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Original photo at https://unsplash.com/photos/NBwP2jjnATE