I am very familiar with midlife crisis’ for several reasons. Firstly, things began to unravel two months before my 40th birthday – it was like clockwork. Also, as a professional coach, a large proportion of clients I have worked with come to me in midlife.
Midlife is not necessarily a turning 40 thing, it can happen anywhere between early 30’s through to mid 50’s.
There is a pretty a common image of mid-life. It’s someone clinging on to their youth, buying out-of-character purchases, making irrational decisions and trading-in a lifelong partner, for a younger model. Maybe ‘getting some work done’ and trying to hold on a youthful look for as long as possible.
Midlife doesn’t have to be a crisis. It can be a time of reassessment or realignment. For others it’s like loading new software onto their lives. Midlife is a stage of transition in life. Hopefully you’ve successfully made a couple of these before. Child to teenager. Teenager to adult. Some get stuck to their detriment and not face the challenges change brings.
You might be having a midlife crisis if you are experiencing:
- A feeling like your best days are behind you
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Feeling trapped
- Lack of energy and feeling lethargic
- Inability to focus
- A feeling like your life has been wasted
- Unusual sadness, unhappiness or depression
- Loss of purpose or meaning in life
- Increase in resentments
- Lack of motivation, inspiration and bored
- Previous unresolved conflicts come to the surface
- A voice inside saying (sometimes screaming) ‘time is running out, when do I get to live’?
A midlife crisis can be triggered by events such as:
- Losing a job or not getting a promotion
- Diagnosis of serious of life threatening illness of self or family
- Business failure
- Death of close friend or relative
- Divorce or breakdown of long term relationship
- Financial crisis or bankruptcy
5 ways to face the challenges of midlife?
- See it for what it is – not an end but a transition. A time to re-evaluate/re-calibrate. It’s possibly a new beginning. For some it is a wakeup call. Remember that you can climb the ladder of success only to find it is against the wrong wall.
- There is no instant solution to midlife. It can take a year or so to work through. Like grief, the way you respond determines whether you can meet the demands of the moment and move on or if you get stuck.
- Talk with your friends who WILL listen. Some friends will feel uncomfortable with your state of transition and want you to ‘snap out of it’. You need friends who will allow you the space to work through this in your own time.
- Avoid impulsive irrational decisions at this time. Yes, clients of mine do take new paths, sometimes a radical change, but these are carefully thought out and based on a new awareness of their personal value system.
- Create a new canvas of your future – a compelling future that draws you into a wonderfully fulfilling stage in life.
About Anthony Venn-Brown: SGLBA Life Member
It’s been quite a journey from closeted, married, high-profile preacher to openly gay man, bestselling author and LGBTI community leader. My “out” years now exceed my “in” years. The final sentence of my autobiography sums up how I feel. “God I love my tribe.”