Preventing a Midlife Crisis
Is your life the way you want it to be?
What is a Midlife Crisis
Midlife crisis is something that people may experience during their middle age. They may feel that their world is turned upside down and they have a strong desire for change. In movies, the man who is going through a midlife crisis would buy a sports car and have tons of sex with younger women.
During a midlife crisis, you may feel that your whole life is turned upside down even though only few areas of your life is affected. (for those with astrological knowledge, that the impact are probably deduced from the house, aspects and rulership of Uranus in the natal chart.)
Will I Necessarily Go Through It?
In short, no. It is unlikely that you will experience a midlife crisis if you have been true to yourself, live an authentic life and are not unduly encumbered by the real and perceived societal demands and limitations.
However, if you have been living your life based on what you think you “should” or “ought” to be doing without regard for your original self or based on what has been comfortable and familiar to you, it is likely that you will experience the so-called midlife crisis.
A Crisis Can be Good!
Personally, I dislike the term “midlife crisis” as the word “crisis” has a negative connotation to it which strikes fear into people’s heart. I mean, nobody in their right mind will willingly invite a crisis into their lives. Not me for sure!
I think it’s helpful to have another look at the word “crisis”. In the Chinese language, crisis is denoted by two characters “危机” which literally means danger and opportunity respectively. I take it to mean that inherent in every danger lies an opportunity for a reward. In financial speculation, it is said that the higher the risk, the higher the reward. Or in the natural world, in order for the crab and the lobster to keep growing, they have to shed their shells for a bigger new shell to grow on them various times in their lives. However, there is the risk that they might be eaten by predators while they are waiting for their shells to grow. So, a crisis can be a good thing, eh?
When Does It Happen?
This can happen anytime when you are between 39 to 45 years old. If it does strike (as there is a chance that it will never happen to you), you will usually feel a desire for changes for about a year although the impacts of the changes can last for years and in some cases, for life.
How Can I Avoid it?
You can save up for that flashy sports car and for your divorce of course. Sorry, that was a very bad joke!
To avoid it, start living your life. Not your family’s, your partner’s, your children’s or society’s. Incidentally, this is one of the top five regrets of the dying according to Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative nurse.
Assume that you have complete freedom to change your life to whatever and however you want it to be and then change it now.
You don’t necessarily need to have a complete overhaul of your life.
Figure out the aspects of your life that work and don’t work and perhaps retain those bits that work.
Make conscious decisions. Avoid the forceful knee jerk reactions to what you are feeling.
I know changing what is familiar and secure to you can be nerve-wreaking. It always is. You would most probably have to give up something precious to you. But do it anyway. Take the leap of faith like others have done before you. It takes guts to have a better life. But the truth is that you can only develop courage when you are scared shitless. In this way, you are consciously creating a life that works for you.
If not, you can always wait for your midlife crisis to strike (although it’s possible that it won’t). You will still get to change your life then. But, you may not have much control over the change as there’s no time to “properly implement” the changes. It’s like a lightening strike. You won’t have the luxury of time to brood or ponder over the changes you would like. You want the change to be quick and snappy. When it happens, it happens, sometimes with unintended results.
Of course, you can resist with all your might the urge to change your life. You might succeed in doing so. But you may end up feeling perpetually dissatisfied with life. The truth is: the problems don’t go away. They hide and wait for other times to resurface to confront you. Isn’t it easier to have your midlife crisis in your 40s than in your 50s or 60s? (This reminds me of chicken pox – get it and be done with it! Although of course there’s vaccinations available for it nowadays.)