What is a midlife crisis anyway? The Oxford Dictionary definition is: "an emotional crisis of identity and self-confidence that can occur in early middle age."
That sums it up but certainly doesn't speak to the depth or breadth of how this right of passage can disrupt a life. When you face this crisis of identity, it makes you question EVERYTHING!
What if I'd done this instead of that? You ask - over, and over, and over.
What was I thinking?
Why did I even think this life path was a good idea?!
Yes, you question your very life path - it's not just the minor decisions you made, like your choice of hairstyle in the '70s; you find yourself doubting every choice you've ever made - it's rough.
If you've been through it or are going through it, you understand. All of this uncertainty causes our frail human minds to freak out, which, in turn, causes us to act out. That's why we hear about horror stories of men and women walking out on their families, trying to recapture their youth through sports cars, plastic surgery, and affairs, but there's a bright side to the midlife crisis that doesn't get nearly as much attention.
A midlife crisis is a divine intervention; it's time to hit the giant reset button of life. Think about it: Why would we start experiencing such uncertainty if it's not meant to push us to make significant changes in our lives? The key is to not shrink from the idea of change, but embrace it.
So many people are asking questions like:
"What is a midlife crisis for a man?, or What is a midlife crisis for a woman?"
What we should be asking is, how can I quit living the status quo and start reaching for the stars?
A midlife crisis is sometimes called second adolescence, and that fits. Our bodies are changing in ways we don't understand and can't control, and don't get me started on the changes in hormones; they may be more prevalent among women, but you can't convince me that men don't go through hormone changes too.
Wikipedia describes a midlife crisis as "a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle-aged individuals, typically 35-60 years old.
The term "Midlife Crisis" was coined by Elliott Jaques in 1965. More modern research has shown this is not a phase that most middle-aged people actually experience, and some have questioned the existence of this phenomenon.
I call BS on the people questioning the existence of this "phenomenon." If it were a scarcely experienced condition, I might buy it, but it's common, and everyone isn't just catching it like the flu, it's a life phase.
I see so many people in midlife who have lost interest in everything. Instead of embracing the chance to reinvent themselves, they are depressed and unable to see that there is a new beginning awaiting them.
Depression can affect people for far less than the contemplation of their very existence. So, if you find yourself with no interest in anything, especially things that used to bring you joy, please make an appointment with your doctor to rule out depression. An excellent resource in the US is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI for short).
Depression aside, our bodies aren't able to process things the way they did when we were in our 20's, and nutritional deficiencies can mock the symptoms of depression. If you eat poorly or don't pay attention when what you eat is negatively affecting you, you're increasing your chances of feeling awful all the time, and who wants that? If you smoke, drink, or do drugs, your body isn't going to handle that the way it did when you were 20.
The first step towards having a meaningful midlife experience is accepting that we aren't 20 anymore and to intentionally make changes that support our well-being as we age.
Existential Crisis or Midlife Crisis?
My answer? Both!
A midlife crisis is a form of existential crisis, the definition of which is: Existential crises are moments when individuals question whether their lives have meaning, purpose, or value. Sound familiar?
When you're at the point of questioning why you exist, you need to reevaluate everything so you can find the answers you need to create a life of purpose.
Midlife to Best Life is here to help you understand that everything in life is interconnected, and the way to ensure vitality and vibrancy throughout the second half of life is to nurture the five life domains; mind, body, soul, relationships, and career.
Starting with the mind, we check the mindset and mental cognition we are experiencing. If you have a crappy mindset, that's pretty obvious, but are there underlying issues like forgetfulness, behavioral changes, brain fog, or anything else that's interfering with your quality of life?
When we aren't functioning at our best mentally, it's unlikely that we'll be able to accept the fact that we aren't 20 anymore, as well as enjoy our daily life.
Next, we assess our body; are we properly caring for our body to make sure we feel vibrant and vital? Everyone knows that proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep improve our life experience, and that fact only increases as we age.
You may be one tough son of a gun; you've made it through decades of good times and bad and lived to tell about it after all, but your body is becoming more sensitive. Don't look at this as a negative; look at it as guidance. Learn to listen to your body and to make connections between what you eat, do, or don't do, and how it affects you.
I advocate for a whole food plant-based diet to the extent that you can. I don't believe you should make a drastic change, instead make little changes that build upon each other; that's the best way to develop new habits and a new lifestyle. By reducing processed foods and animal products, your brain fog will disappear, your energy will increase, and you will start feeling alive again; this is good for not only your body but your mind and your brain function.
Whole food plant-based diets have reversed Type II diabetes in some people, they've reversed heart disease, and they're responsible for many people living years longer in a much more vibrant state than expected. If you'd like to learn more, here's a great website to start on https://foodrevolution.org/
The health of our bodies allows our souls to thrive. The soul is the third life domain that we need to nurture to ensure a vibrant, happy, and healthy life.
What lights you up? What makes you feel giddy with excitement, or holds your interest so much that hours can pass without you even realizing it? That's something that is speaking to your soul.
As the saying goes, "you aren't a human having a spiritual experience; you are a spirit having a human experience." Whatever your belief system, I encourage you to explore your soul connection to the life you're leading. Human beings are meant to flourish, and when we aren't, it's a sign that we are ignoring our very essence - our soul.
We're born with everything we need to succeed; it's when we ignore the signs and signals from within that we start killing off the part of us that makes us who we are. Remember what it was like to be a kid? The curiosity you had about EVERYTHING? Curiosity is our guide; by following our curiosity, we are following our soul's calling.
When I learn of people who have no interest in life anymore, it makes me feel very sad for them. Life can beat us up pretty good, and losing interest is an indication that you've ignored your needs for so long that you don't remember what they are. When this happens, your soul is crying out for release.
The good news is that you can reconnect with your soul and your curiosity. An excellent place to start is with the MidLife Compass. This resource will allow you to reconnect with yourself to the extent that you dig deep for the answers to the questions posed. If that seems impossible, a coaching session may be just the thing to help unlock your soul's purpose.
Relationships come next, and they are in fourth place out of five for a reason. Nurturing your life domains in the order listed creates results that build upon each other. If you've started working on your mindset, nutrition, exercise, and sleep, and have begun the deep work of diving into your soul, your relationships will automatically take on a new feeling.
You are part of the equation in any relationship you have, and as you improve yourself, your relationships can't help but improve along with you. Now, that doesn't mean you don't have work to do in the relationship domain - far from it! It helps to know, however, that as your mindset, relationship to your body, and soul improve, that positivity will seep into all areas of your life.
Just as your relationships will benefit from nurturing yourself, your career will also reap the rewards. And, as with the relationship domain, you're still on the hook for doing the work to improve it.
The Oxford Dictionary defines "career" as an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress.
It's never too late to change your occupation.
Midlife to Best life offers several solutions to help you navigate this significant life event and come out with a new life that lights you up!
Passport to Purpose is Part 1 of a three-part program and walks you step by step through taking stock of your life and laying the foundation of change.
Part 2 of the program is Boundaries With Purpose, which teaches you how to set boundaries in a loving way to protect your valuable time and enable you to commit to doing the work to change your life.
Part 3 of the program is Purpose Finder Lab; this is where the rubber hits the road! You've laid the groundwork for change in Passport to Purpose. You've lovingly set boundaries around your time with Boundaries With Purpose, and now it's time to roll up your sleeves and dive into all the possibilities that await! Will you work on self-improvement? Help others? Start a side or full-time business? You can do anything - absolutely anything you want, but you need a place to test and prove your ideas, and that place is the Purpose Finder Lab.
You can purchase all three discounted as a bundle by clicking the button below:
The sky's the limit, and you need to learn how to reach for the stars!
If working through the confusion on your own is overwhelming, one on one coaching is an excellent way to get the support you need to move forward and learn how to optimize your life or create a new one.
I'm a Whole Person Certified Coach, which means that I help you work through the challenges of life in a holistic whole-person / whole-life manner. I firmly believe that when we experience difficulty in one area of our life, it affects all the others (mind, body, soul, relationships, and career). If you believe the same, book your one-on-one session here.
What do you think? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.