‘Midlife crisis’ can happen at any age. What to do if it hits you?
Some call it ‘existential crisis’ or ‘life crisis’, and it can happen at any stage of your life. It’s that moment when you look in the mirror and ask: ‘Is that it?’, ‘What’s the point of this?’, ‘What am I doing with my life?’ Those thoughts can leave you anxious and feeling lost. Not knowing where to go or how to take the next step.
Even people who have achieved some sort of success - either in their jobs, relationships, family - can feel that way. They’ve got all what they had wished for: work, nice house, financial stability, a family of their own. Yet, still, there’s something missing. A void. An emptiness. They ask ‘What’s next?’
Others aren’t in that, more comfortable, position in their lives, and it can feel even worse: ‘I work so hard and haven’t succeeded yet. What’s the point?’, ‘What’s life about, if I don’t achieve all the things I had planned?’
The questions go on and on, on a daily basis. You feel lost, anxious and rushed, as if time is passing too fast and you still haven’t ‘got there’. Or, if you ‘got there’, it doesn’t feel how you had expected.
But what’s ‘there’?
Most of us need constant answers, explanation, reasons. It’s part of human nature. We want to know where we are going and why. We want a plan and we want it done now. But real life is not like that. The unknown and uncertainty are a constant in our lives, and it can feel dark at times.
‘There’ might be somewhere beyond our personal and practical life. During a crisis, some people turn to - or rediscover - their spirituality. Not necessarily connected to any specific religion, but a connection with something beyond our material world and limited views around us. At the same time, some people might begin a journey towards somewhere deeper in themselves. A search for their true essence, values and beliefs.
Crisis can be, therefore, an opportunity for personal growth and expansion of the world around us. A moment of reflection, questioning, search and, hopefully, creation of a new start.
What to do in a life crisis?
See the crisis as a time of transition
Your old life and world views are being questioned, but a new meaning hasn’t emerged yet. It’s a place ‘in between’, towards something new. Be patient.
Acknowledge and accept that this is a difficult moment in your life. Things didn’t turn out as you wanted and you are faced with the unknown. Instead of spending energy trying to fight against it, accept that you are going through a crisis and focus on the changes you wish to see happening.
Don't rush into decisions
It's very important to take your time and not make any life changing decisions while in a crisis. The crisis is a process, things are changing and developing, even if you don’t feel they are. One step at a time.
Pause. Step back.
Try to look at your life from a different angle, another perspective. By stepping back, you’ll be able to see a bigger picture, and your place in it. Being part of a greater whole can be a turning point in a crisis, towards new meaning & purpose.
Reach out for support. Talk to someone.
Counsellors experience daily the benefits of talking therapy and how healing and clarifying it can be. Talking will help you make sense of all your intense thoughts and questioning. The therapist can guide and support you in your self-exploration and search for meaning.
Pay attention to who you are
Really look at yourself and everything you have done so far. I'm sure you'll recognise many achievements, big or small. Look at the source of it all. Your qualities, talents, deepest desires and old dreams.
Focus on your potential for the future
Open your mind and heart for new possibilities in life. Expand your views and beliefs, trust who you are and what you have to offer. You have a whole life ahead of you.
See this crisis as an opportunity for a fresh start
This can be a moment of creation and transformation. A moment to consciously decide what you want or don’t want in your life. What doesn’t serve you anymore and what you want in your future. Discovering a new energy and purpose for things to come.
A new life energy
The existential crisis can be an opportunity to expand our sense of reality. From a place of doubts, loss and darkness, you may find new values, meaning and purpose in your life.
After a crisis, your view of the world and the importance of things will certainly be different. Hopefully, the experience will bring you a new energy, a new boost, a new perspective. Your next steps will be more conscious and much more meaningful.
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