A transitioning period
The psychologist Carl Jung first identified Midlife Crisis as a regular part of the maturing process. Most people will experience some form of emotional change during that time of their life. A transition that might cause you to take stock of where you are in life, and make some needed adjustments, to the way to live your life.
Before I give you my 8 top tips, I would like to say that the word crisis has been drummed into our psyche and we can quickly view changes in our day to day circumstances as ‘crisis’. Looking back at my own life, Instead, of calling it a crisis, now I say awakening or growing.
I do not take this transition process lightly. It is instead a serious matter and needs careful attention. Sadly, it can also end in disaster to the point of self-harm or even suicide causing immense grief and possibly displacement of the loved ones left behind.
Stereotyping Midlife Crisis
A midlife crisis is often jokingly used as a way to describe a man or woman exploring changes in their life where they end up doing stereotypical things. For men these can be behaviour changes such as buying a red sports car or having an affair with a younger woman. There is a long list of behaviours that appear to look odd and very sudden for both sexes..
However, having a red sports car, a Harley Davidson or a nose job and having an affair does not just relate to a midlife crisis. These things can happen anytime when people begin to feel a sense of dissatisfaction. Psychologists and experts have identified the tale tell signs and it is a long list.
Women feel that they need to make significant changes in their life and it often looks like asking deep probing questions about the meaning of life.
Dr Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist and the author of Your Best Age is Now, identified 13 signs of midlife crisis.
A Person of any age can experience a crisis
Reflecting on my youth years, I believe I was experiencing a crisis throughout my life.
At the age of 15 which was mid- point of 30, I was thinking what am I going to do with life? At least my dad asked me that question, what do you want to do when you finish school? I didn’t have a clue. I was not so keen on studying and never obtained a university degree.
By the age of 28 I was married, and a few years later when children came along, this was a huge dramatic change in my life and the level of my responsibilities changed. It was mid-point to 56.
In my 30’s and 40’s, I was showing signs again of restlessness, and a barrage of questions was flooding my mind at various stages such as…
What am I doing?
Am I stuck in this job for the rest of my life especially when I don’t really enjoy it?
What should I be doing next?
How can I earn more money?
I knew I needed money and lots of money to fulfil my dreams. But I didn’t have the money.
My thoughts were around earning more money but instead I steadily got more into debt.
During this questioning process, I also lost my beloved parents and other loved ones in the family. Being the oldest son in the family, a husband and dad, I felt I was responsible for the things that were going wrong.
Even though I didn’t have the answers to those challenges, inwardly I was blaming myself, and I could go on and on about my thoughts and how I felt. You could liken it to falling-down without a safety net or sliding down a greased pole until you hit rock bottom.
I lost almost everything I cared for including to the point of ending my life.
I know that reading this sounds like doom and gloom but take hope, there is a light at the end of a dark tunnel and the dark stormy clouds will pass. The sun is always shinning behind those clouds even though you may not see it.
Your scenario might be different to mine. Nevertheless, it is your scenario, and it must be addressed at the outset.
You don’t have to hit disaster before finding your purpose
In a few years, I will be hitting the big 60 but I aim to hit a century and maybe beyond. 🙂
I am preparing my mind as the journey continues. Could I experience a crisis? Who knows?
At least, I have had the experience of the word crisis. Now, I choose to call it awakening. A new revelation, taking my game to the next level, eating well, getting healthier, being more kind to people, being thankful for all that I have and not moan, grumble, and complain about the things I don’t have. You get my point?
Men may go through a ‘teenage-like rebellion’ at a certain point in their lives, says Boston psychologist Lynn Margolies, PhD. A midlife crisis can lead to ‘growth or destruction’ for men says Margolies. You can look for the causes of the unhappiness you feel, then make thoughtful decisions to address them. That’s growth.
On the other hand, making impulsive decisions, like trading in your familiar life for a relationship with a younger partner that quickly ends or buying a car you can’t afford. These sudden changes can leave you feeling unsettled.
My 8 top tips to navigate through the transition
Take time to be grateful for the parts of your life that make you happy.
Before you make significant decisions, discuss them with someone whose advice you’ll trust, professionals can give you another opinion on whether you’re making wise choices.
It can be challenging to listen to someone who does not agree with you or does not conform to your thinking. If you just hear that person who cares about you, that can only help you. Furthermore, you might learn something new.
Being aware of what and who influences your life is crucial. Everything that glitters is not gold. It is like sticking your hand in a hole and being bit by a rattle snake. It is also worth knowing who your real friends are.
Just because you feel like you have to escape your home, job, or marriage doesn’t mean you have to actually do it. These feelings may indeed point to problems that need solving. But they may also fade or change over time.
I thought my dreams were realistic but I soon realised that I wasn’t prepared for it. That’s when disaster hit.
You can make plenty of successful changes throughout your life. Things that you feel you might have missed out on. You can do it, but first, you must prepare your mind for it. Today, I am living a life which gives me immense fulfilment every day.
I agree with what Lynn Margolies says: ’Realise that you may not need to blow up your life to be happy, but if it needs to be dismantled, then doing so thoughtfully will be less destructive to the people around you.’