Mid life Crisis is not a disease or an event that one can avoid. It afflicts everyone who lives through their middle years. There is no warning as to when it will hit you, but when it does, it likely will come at the worst possible time, but then again, when is a good time for a meltdown?
Most likely your time will differ from that of your friends and others close to you like your Husband or Wife, since our Middle years can begin anytime from our mid thirties through one’s fifties and everyone is different.
Don’t even think you can avoid mid life Crisis, because you can’t! No amount of money or influence can get you out of this one. How you endure the transformation and to what degree you suffer or not, will vary as widely as those who experience it. You know the cliché, forewarned is forearmed, so knowing what will happen and how to survive the experience in tact, can go a long way. Right!
I may have been exaggerating slightly about how ominous Middle aged Crisis can be, because I wanted to grab your attention. However, we have all heard the jokes about middle aged crisis and know that within all jokes, there does contain a grain of truth. The truth here is that some of you will experience a major shift in your lives, while for others the change may be more gentle. Do not doubt that change is on its way. It is inevitable! You may not have say on if or when it will happen, but you do have a say in how you will deal with it.
Each and every one of us is equipped with a silver bullet in our personal arsenal to deploy as we see fit. This is something that you may already be using or something that you have yet to take out. It matters not because you never run out of it. It is the most effective weapon we have and that is Attitude!
As a Life Coach, we use our attitude and perspective to help our clients deal with many issues in their lives until their own attitude can take over. In fact, we often say that if we only have one tool to use, Perspective would be it.
How you view things, and the attitude you take toward life’s ups and downs, (your perspective), has a dramatic effect on how you cope.
Are you a glass is half full or half empty person? Do you laugh in the face of danger or do you run and hide in terror? Are you someone who is afraid of change or do you embrace it like me? Do you see problems or opportunities for improvement?
Positive and negative personalities are obviously opposites of each other, with the extremes differing in folks all up and down the spectrum of the pole. I can certainly find folks who exemplify the ends of the pole, those with very strong outlooks, but for those who are fence sitters, you now have an opportunity to change your attitude. Only you know how you experience the world around you, but I know that a positive or negative attitude will affect how you experience what I have coined, The Emergence of our True Self. How would you like to go through life? Seeing opportunities or finding problems everywhere? The choice is yours.
Look at this time as an amazing opportunity for you to take a peek behind the veil, the cloak of mystery that is you. Avidly seek out the answers to questions that have plagued mankind since the beginning of time.
I know that as a child I lay in bed and many times looked up at the sky and wondered, “Why am I here”? “What is my purpose?” “How can I be more than I am?” These are the questions that will now be answered for you. This is your time to finally solve the mystery.
View this time as a positive experience. This is your time and it has been given to you so that you can emerge as your True Self. Feel all of it; embrace the experience, even the tough stuff. Remember the butterfly and its struggle to emerge from it’s cocoon. You may struggle through this time but you will emerge a more content person for it. I am positive about this.
Middle Aged Crisis, struck this week and it happened to a man we will call Dan. Let’s see how it begins so we know what to look for.
Dan is a slightly paunchy, balding middle-aged man in his late 40’s, whose one attempt of rebellious attitude towards his wife, was to go against her thrifty nature and adorn the front end of his mini van with a ‘bra”!
One day, Dan left his ‘bra’ behind and came home wearing a shiny new candy apple red corvette instead. It looks like the van was traded in for this gorgeous sexy rolling piece of penis envy. After the ‘big wow’ fell out of your dropped jaw, was your next thought the same as mine “now there’s a guy whose wife is going to kill him”? Where are the kids going to sit? Is Dan a classic case of a man having a mid life crisis?!”
Will his ‘search” for himself end here or will Dan take it a step further? It seems that several of the guys in Dan’s office have traded their wives of 3o years for 30 yr.old wives. We don’t know if Dan knows any 30 yr; old women so we will have to wait and see about that. Dan seems to be the poster boy for Middle Aged Men in crisis but what about woman? Are they immune to mid life angst and do men and woman manifest their symptoms in the same way?
Joan Rivers and her G-force facelift might be the perfect example of a woman who is still searching for more in her life but can’t get past her mirror.
We often joke about woman and their hot flashes, but do they wake up all sweaty and then head out in the morning to buy sexy cars or is there another measure of being unsatisfied they go for?
I have a few lady friends who were the very last women in the world I EVER expected to radically deviate from their MOM role. It seemed at 40 something, they woke up one day and traded their beautifully decorated home, mommy and wifely duties for a basement apartment and freedom. Did it mean they loved their children less? Nope, it just meant that they were compelled to find out who they were after being a mom and wife.
Yes, a few became what is commonly referred to today as Cougars, woman who prey on younger men, but for the most part, they seemed to be genuinely seeking themselves. Either this was something that was lost, or something they never had in the first place.
So is Mid life Crisis a valid condition or an excuse to be selfish and make up for poor choices along the way? Is it a human condition that we will all experience in varying degrees as we pass through their middle ages, or is it reserved for those who share certain personality traits?
Is it possible that it is related to female menopause or male Andropause? Do hormones have anything to do with the ‘stress and distress of those in the eye of this storm? Are these people as out of control as they sometimes seem to be?
I am not a doctor and do not know the answer to these questions but I do know as a Life Coach and a woman in her middle years, that there seems to be a great many people in this age category who are seeking and searching for something that will fill a part of them that is missing. They have a great desire for something more in their life, but what that MORE is they don’t know. It is a time of personal reflection and for some breaking out of a mold that has held them for many years.
Perhaps you know someone who has quit their executive position or walked out on their 30 year marriage. It doesn’t always make sense, this behaviour, but there is common theme. CHANGE!
It seems that many are seeking their destiny, and the meaning of life. They want to know what their purpose is and where they fit into the Grand Scheme. They want to know what this thing called LIFE is all about, and they are seeking their soul, their soul mates and questioning long held beliefs.
Spirituality is a common theme, and many search for their connection to something larger than the known world and for answers they go to the Unknown world
A metamorphosis is taking place and I see it as our third great struggle of life.
The first is being born, the second is adolescence and now this time I will coin, The Emergence of Self. The emergence because it is our true self we are seeking. Not the daughter, son, mother, father, doctor, cook or any other label we have put on ourselves, but OUR true SELF , our true soul, the nature of who we really are. It seems this is a time where anything can happen and does.
Sometimes those who are most surprised by what happens next are the seekers themselves.
As adolescents we go through the change together, it is expected, so resources are in place to help us deal with it. Our families and teachers are there for us, supporting the change. Now in our mid 40’s- 50’s, it seems we face this change alone. No longer are our buddies, families or teachers there to support us. In fact, it may be that those closest to you don’t understand why you are contemplating the things you are. They may argue that you are making a big mistake and you don’t know what you are doing. Even if this is true, and in many cases it is, there doesn’t seem to be anything to do about it except ride it out.
Have you ever wondered at the timing of all this? Why is it so important to KNOW right now? Why upset the apple cart at this stage of your life?
Perhaps it is so that our time here is not wasted in the larger sense. Many of us as children had a dream or a goal. I think that this first memory may be the truth of who we really are and why we are here.
How many of us have stayed true to who we were? I know that there have been many times in my life that duty as a daughter, a mother, and even a wife have taken precedence over who I wanted to be. So maybe this frustration, this time of wanting is really the only way to help us break the chains of ‘good behaviour’ and allows us the time to search for our lost selves or if you believe in the metaphysical then perhaps we are waking up to what brought us here in the first place, our contract or mission.
Have you felt that there is a master plan but you haven’t been let in on the details?
The there is a great secret, albeit unknown to you, and almost like a cosmic joke, it is at your expense.
Why does this transformation take place? Is there a way of escaping it?
I think not. It seems to me a natural progression to a higher state of being if we are lucky. It seems we all go through the process, albeit at slightly different ages and degrees of angst.
I believe that this is one “Crisis” that is supposed to happen and rather than describe it as a crisis we could rename it as a transformation.
We have all have known a “Dan”, a 50 something guy who finally buys his corvette, or his Harley, leaves his wife or leaves his job- any or all of these are fairly common and classic crisis behaviour. As I said earlier, Women are not immune either. We can all envision the Cougar, a woman in her mid to late 40’s who used to be Suzy Homemaker and is now on the prowl for a 2o something guy to make up for her boring life.
On the outside, this behaviour seems selfish and I suppose in some ways it is. But remember, this Emergence is about self and change and change never comes easily. There is always a struggle and in this instance, doing what is opposite in nature of what one has always been done may be one of the catalysts to the next step. These folks are in the midst of a chemical and physical transformation. Alchemy is taking place. When all is said and done, they will be different.
They are reaching out for their world to make sense and hopefully when all is said and done, they will have found peace. Peace within themselves and peace with their outside world.
We know that these folks want more, but and the sexy car, younger mate is not the whole answer because change on the outside does not equate with change on the inside. I feel that this transformation may actually be harder on us than adolescence. When we are young, we have out parents to support us. We walk en mass with our friends to school and we are all going through stuff together. But mid life, we do that one by ourselves and many times, we wreak havoc on the lives of those we love the most. This change, this metamorphosis, cannot likely be stopped, anymore that you can stop breathing, but for some, it comes with great cost.
Our bodies change- we don’t child bear anymore. We have wrinkles and grey hairs sprouting from places they aren’t supposed too. Our skin on our hands begin to thin and become translucent, showing the blue of our veins. We fear we are losing our sexuality, our vitality and our ability to be ‘seen’ as one of the players. We fear this invisibility and we fight to be more than we are, because we want to stay in the game. We also know that we are more than we are showing.
We wake to an unknown dream or assignment and strive to fulfill our life’s mission, but the guide book is missing. The map is gone and our hands flail in the wind seeking something solid to grip onto.
It’s a turbulent time until one day, you wake up and your life begins to make sense again. You start to realize what is important. Who you are and what you are passionate about. You know what you love and whom you love and you have a sense of the greater picture. You know why you are here. You understand your ties to the past and what you bring to the future.
The Emergence of Self will happen whether you plan for it or not. At some point in your life mid life, an amazing discovery of self will take place, and I hope that you complete your transformation all the way until you feel at peace within your heart and the world around you.
For those of you who are wondering what signs to look for or if you are currently experiencing your transformation, below you can find a list of common features:
Typical features of mid-life include:
Experiencing healthy dissatisfaction……..yearning for more…..is this it??
What worked before no longer rocks your world.
The changing body becomes your guide.
You get used to uncertainty
You want to give back
You become much more than you thought you were.
Your values change significantly
You are getting a hefty whiff of you own mortality.
The emergence of wisdom
Mid-life challenges that Coaching can assist with:
o Finding your Passion
o Removing FEAR from the Change Process
o Learning how to acknowledge and accept others
o Learning to Communicate at heart level
o Reconnect with your SELF
o Leaving Guilt Behind
o Trusting your instincts
o Creating a vision