Midlife Crisis Management

Author: Ashima Gupta   |   Date: 27 Feb 2017   |   Comment: 0 Share:   |     |     |  

Middle age is that time of life when we hear two voices calling us. One saying, "Why not?" and the other, "Why bother?"

Though a midlife crisis is often dismissed as inconsequential and a passing phase, but the fact that Many Men and Women hit this stage of life and get caught up here, cannot be ignored. They realise that they are no longer in their prime and suffer a crisis of Identity and self Confidence that impacts their lives and careers.

"Midlife Crisis" is an often trivialized term that describes a major transition of identity and self confidence in middle age. It is often triggered by a significant life event such as children leaving home or health scare. It affects both Men and Women leading to feelings and behaviours that reflect a desire to recapture lost youth or to realize neglected dreams and ambitions.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a midlife crisis as, "A period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized by a strong desire for change."

One may choose to respond to midlife crisis in different ways but typically it involves a change in the way one acts and feels and in the attitude towards one's life. Usually the term "midlife crisis" reflects the negative aspects of may have often heard of it as Midlife Transition, Quest for identity and Empty nest Syndrome. Whatever you may choose to describe it as, what is more important is your strategy for coping with it. Here I feel it's worth taking a pause and thinking......does a transition need to be thought of and handled as a "crisis" or is it simply adapting to a change in your life?

What Triggers a Midlife Crisis

As I earlier stated, midlife crisis is triggered by a significant life event, one that reminds us of our age and tells us that we are 'past our best' or that time is running out. It could be:

  1. Awareness of aging
  2. A health scare
  3. A feeling of "going nowhere" in your career
  4. End or lack of a meaningful relationship in your life
  5. Children becoming independant or leaving home
  6. Regrets regarding your life goals and achievements

Whatever be the trigger, it forces us to reflect on what we have achieved in our lives and -more importantly-what we haven't. This leaves us with regrets, disappointment, feeling of Lack and prompts us to take steps towards bringing dramatic changes to our life, to try to recapture our lost youth or gain a sense of fulfilment. Feelings of Anger, Anxiety, Loss of confidence, Impulsive decision making and comparing yourself unfavourably to others are some of the tell tale signs that you are going through a midlife crisis.

What Can You Do To Overcome a Midlife Crisis

  1. Talk It Out. Confide in someone you trust be it a close friend, your partner, a trained counsellor or a Life Coach. Alternatively, keeping a Journal can also help you make sense of your thoughts and feelings and the stresses in your career and life.
  2. Reframe Your Situation. When we look back at our youthful days we always refer to them as 'good old days'. Well did we not face any challenges or difficulties that time? And why do we feel that getting older is only associated with pain and painful events? If we see the positives, as we get older we gain more Wisdom, Experience and Security. Rather than lamenting over the days gone by, ask yourself " What can I do to Change this situation?". Focus on what you still want and can get out of life, rather than what you have lost. Now that you are feeling more stronger, have another look at your unfulfilled ambition and ask yourself, "Is it really too late to achieve them ?" Don't get stuck but reassess and move on towards taking actions to make Changes for the better.
  3. Scan Your Life. You maybe feeling painfully dissatisfied and longing to make some dramatic changes in your life. But before starting just step back and brainstorm as to what is working in your life versus what isn't. Re-examine your Values and sense of purpose. Your life is not what others expect or say, they probably have their own insecurities and doubts. Your life is what you make out of it. Think about the time when you felt happiest, proudest and most fulfilled in your career and personal life. Are you still living your life in accordance with those values that inspired those experiences? If not, then what can you do to turn things around?
  4. Setting New Goals. The goals you had probably 5 years back are today not as relevant or as important as they once were. For example, the goals you had to buy a house or climb the career ladder are no longer as important as they once were. So it's time to reassess as to What you want from life Now and to realign this with the values you just identified. You may often halt thinking, "What's the point now at my age to pursue these goals?". But my question to you is, "If not Now then When?"

If you are feeling that you are going through a midlife crisis, do not dismiss it as 'Just a phase' but do the needful. You can get in touch with us on mail to understand how a Life Coach can help you not just overcome but joyfully and successfully Sail through this period of Change by adapting, creating clear vision and Learning the art of Personal Goal setting to identify new goals and find the motivation to achieve them.

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