The words themselves raise our anxiety levels don't they? The stereotypical middle aged man buying and riding the motorbike he couldn't afford when he was a 20-something. The woman terrified of aging resorting to Botox to boost her confidence.
I see a 'midlife crisis' as a time when we realize that life is finite. It's often something that does indeed follow a 'crisis' in our lives. We might have faced redundancy, have seen a younger colleague promoted over us. We might be dealing with the emotions of an empty nest, a divorce or ending of a long relationship. We might be facing illness or the loss of someone close to us. It might be the menopause or looking in the mirror and not recognizing the woman staring back at us. These are some of the issues we may be dealing with at this time of transition in our lives.
We react in different ways to this 'crisis'. Yes, some go off and defiantly attempt to fend off the aging process with new toys or medical interventions. Many sail through this time unscathed.
I see this time as a wakeup call. It's a time to wake up to life, to realize that, yes, there is perhaps more life behind us that in front of us and it's time to face up to it. Do we really want to cling on for dear life to our youthful past, spending our time regretting or revisiting old memories or do we want to embrace the second half of life and live it fully?
I'm against the word anti-aging ... aging is part of life. Let's rather be pro-aging instead. Pro-aging is not about letting ourselves go. Quite the opposite in fact. It's about fully embracing the life we have and making every day count.
The quickest way to age is to be miserable. Wishing that we were younger, regretting the passing of time is a sure way of accelerating the aging process. To age dynamically is to enjoy life, all that we've learned and gained along the path to midlife. It's simply a new phase of life.
How to deal with a midlife crisis:
- Face it -- don't hide from the fact that you're half way through.
- Spend some time in self-reflection or get the help of a coach or a counsellor.
- Don't wait for a 'crisis' to happen. Make changes in your life today.
- Do something different because doing the same thing every day won't get you different results.
- Get outside. We get a different perspective on a problem when we're outdoors in a big landscape.
- Reframe the 'crisis' to an awakening -- this is about a renaissance.
- What are the positives you can take from this time of life? Wisdom, experience, knowledge only come with age.
- If you find yourself saying, "Is this all there is?" Ask instead, "what am I prepared to change?"
- If you feel you might be depressed, make an appointment with your doctor or book up some counseling.
- Be a part of something that's bigger than you.
- Turn the negatives around by looking at life in a different way.
- Do something that will take you outside of yourself.
- Let go of all that's holding you back or no longer serves you in life -- it just takes for you to decide you want to do or be different.
- Remember that life is a privilege, and that there are many who don't get to have an old age.
- Live life by my motto: If not now, when?