When you hear the phrase “midlife crisis,” your first thought is probably someone doing something totally out of the norm such as buy a fancy red sports car, quit their job on impulse, cheat on their spouse, or dye their hair blonde and start dressing and acting like they are in their 20s again. You might also think of someone becoming emotionally disturbed or depressed at the thought of getting older and not being as attractive or as useful as they once were. While these scenarios may be true for some, generally, none of these things happen. The phrase midlife crisis should be replaced with the phrase “midlife transition.” Instead of viewing this time in your life as something negative, you should see it as a time of growth and redefining yourself.
This midlife transition period can occur anywhere from the 30s through the 50s. A lot of times it comes when you have a “zero” birthday, your youngest child either goes to or finishes college, or the death of your parents. Whatever factors trigger this transition, it is a normal part of life and shouldn’t be seen as the end of your life as you knew it.
During this transition in your life, you will likely reevaluate your purpose in life, your goals, and your priorities. You should view this as an opportunity to live a life long dream you’ve always had such as continuing your education, learning a new job skill, or doing volunteer work; all things you had to put aside due to family obligations. With your kids out of the house, you will now have more time on your hands to pursue your hobbies you once enjoyed but never had time for. This can also be a time when you and your spouse reconnect as a couple, which is something that was probably neglected due to family responsibilities. If you’re of retirement age, you can now plan on taking that long vacation you’ve dreamed about your whole life but never thought would actually happen.
Even though this midlife transition in your life can be a positive experience, not everyone will fly through it so easily. Some people may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
1. Physical aches and pains that don’t respond to medication.
2. Lack of appetite.
3. Thoughts of suicide or attempting suicide.
4. Loss of interest in activities and hobbies once enjoyed.
5. Not sleeping or feeling fatigued all of the time.
6. Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
7. Anxiety or irritability all of the time.
If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, seek professional help because these are signs of depression. Medication and/or counseling will be able to combat these symptoms and help you get your life back to normal.
I hope this short article has put a new spin on that dreaded midlife crisis phrase and you now see it more as a chance to explore new opportunities. Changes occur all throughout our lives, and this midlife transition doesn’t need to be seen as the end of your active lifestyle. You don’t need to pull out the knitting needles and watch old reruns on TV all day unless you enjoy that sort of thing. Embrace this new time in your life and explore all possibilities. Who knows what you might find.