I suppose many people who knew me, or at least thought they knew me, must have assumed that I was going through some form of midlife crisis on that fateful day in late 2012 when my life began to unravel. Alright, I probably was showing some of the classic symptoms. I was hanging out with a new generation, being stimulated by some of their ideas. I was beginning to ask myself, where was I going with my life? And I definitely did something that got me into trouble that surprised quite a few people as being out of character. Yet, was I having a midlife crisis per se?
Actually, my life did go through quite a downward spiral for a time, as events led me into poverty and depression. I did feel I lost control of my life for a while.
But the key point is that, with some very important assistance, I was able to reignite my life, to restart it, reinvent myself, and head in a new retargeted direction.
Looking at things four and a half years on, I have to say that if I did indeed have a midlife crisis, it was no long-term crisis. It was simply a kick up the bum, forcing me to reevaluate where I was heading and send me onto a new, better life path.
You might be at a crossroads in your own life. You might feel listless and uncertain, bored with your current existence, you might suffer from depression as I did (I must thank my doctor, Josh, who was a marvel at getting me through that horrible stage). But that does not mean that your life has to be a crisis. It just means that you are at such a point in life that it is time to reinvent yourself to become the person you truly want to be.
We all have dreams and aspirations, which we begin building up from a very young age. Some people manage to follow their dreams as they progress through life. Most people, though, seem to settle for second best. They eventually develop into a routine existence, which while it may be perfectly satisfactory, is far from the life experience that they once hoped for.
Of course, most people do have life highlights along the way, to ameliorate the effects of their dreams floating further into the ether. For instance. even if your relationships have not flourished the way you may have hoped, you undoubtedly truly love the kids that have resulted from them. Alternatively, you might have met your perfect soulmate, and be fully happy there – but stagnated career wise.
It is inevitable, however, for you to come to a certain point in your life, when you begin to wonder, “If only…”
Sometimes you may not even realise that you are doing it. It may be your family and friends who first notice a change in you. Your frustration of what your life has become may become more obvious to those around you, as a result to changes in your behaviour that you may not even notice.
It is important that you work with them. Just because you want to change the direction of your life does not mean that your friends and family become any less valuable to you. The traditional midlife crisis view of the middle-aged man going off with a woman 30 years younger, is really more of a stereotype than reality. Make certain that your loved ones know how you feel, and involve them in your decision making if you make a change in your life direction.
If you have these feelings of uncertainty in your middle age think of it as a time to take a good hard look at where you currently are and start planning to reinvent yourself to become what you truly want to be.
You are not dead yet. That means that you still have time to improve your life. That is not a crisis. it is an opportunity. Review those dreams you used to have, and update them to cater for any good changes that have happened to your life since then. The 20-something you probably never would have thought of taking a family to Majorca for a fun family holiday. That may be a high priority now.
Your dreams are allowed to change over time, and so are you. To quote one of my favorite bands as a teenager, Supertramp, “Crisis, What Crisis?”
photo credit: 2016_02_27_Manu_07 via photopin (license)