We’ve all heard the term “midlife crisis” but what does it mean and does it even exist?
Some people sail through their midlife years without much bother, but for others it comes with some unexpected challenges. For some, it really is a crisis, but for others it’s a yearning to lead a more authentic and fulfilled life: the one you want to live rather than the one you feel expected to live.
Symptoms are many, but include:
- Feeling fed up and bored for no apparent reason
- A lost sense of self due to pre-occupation with playing expected roles
- A feeling that you’re living a life that was scripted to you by your parents but which isn’t really “you”
- Marital boredom – even though you know you’ve married a good’un
- Feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled, despite being busy and having a good job
- Feeling that there must be more to life
- Getting stuck in ruts and routines, and constantly feeling obligated
- Forgetting how to have fun, do new things or make new friendships.
The timing of this can vary but most commonly seems to occur in the late forties. Often it comes shortly after the death of a loved one or when the kids have turned to adults. Parents who have invested in their children at the expense of their relationship with each other may struggle to re-discover the connections and attractions that brought them together in the first place.
For many, the term “crisis” is an over-statement. Nevertheless, it’s a wake-up call when you realise that you have probably crossed the half-way mark in your lifespan and you become more aware of your own impending mortality. Time only goes one way!
For those with the symptoms listed above this is perhaps a good time to reflect on the first half of your life and then think about how you’d like to live the second half. Which are the bits that you value, cherish and hold as personally meaningful, and which are the bits that aren’t serving you anymore and need changing or leaving behind. A time to re-evaluate your beliefs, your relationships, your friendships, your values and how you spend your time; rebalancing your priorities.
There’s an expression “being in your element”. Are you in your element? Or are you living a life that is expected of you by others at the expense of your own happiness? Dancing to the tune that is playing in your head from the messages you received from your childhood. Or rebalancing your life to become a more authentic, satisfied person?
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
About Brian Richards
Counselling graduate and qualified massage therapist.
Working privately from home and as a volunteer counsellor with Macmillan.
Providing Integrative counselling for a variety of issues but most at home with existential issues and helping clients find authenticity and personal meaning.