The Midlife Crisis
We all are born one day and are destined to die another day. In everyone’s life there are ups and downs, and different phases, some good some not so good… and we try and manage to surf on them all the time making our way forward. But during this journey from the cradle to the grave, there comes a midpoint when you might feel lost, unsure, and at times unwilling to move forward. That midpoint can be anywhere between the 40s to 50s or sometimes even in the late 30s. For this phenomenon in 1965, a psychologist named Elliot Jaques coined the term “midlife crisis” referring to it as
“A time when adults reckon with their mortality and their sense of a dwindling number of remaining years of productive life.”
Irrespective of being a homemaker or having a well-defined career, we as humans naturally have a tendency of benchmarking. We decide to do a certain task in a certain time which will give a certain benefit. After the task is done, we assess it and rate our own performance. Midlife crisis is possibly one such assessment, only in this case we are assessing almost half of our entire life and at the same time, there is a sense of having only half left. There might be fear, disappointment, repent, or even worse, there can be this want to quit life.
Depending on gender, personality and the surroundings people react to midlife crisis in different ways. A stereotype says a man in his midlife will go and buy a red car or flirt with girls half his age to make him still feel young, while a woman goes in an empty nest syndrome with a feeling of lost identity. However, since the ideas of typically how a person is supposed to live life-based on his/her gender are thinning down, it can be more challenging to deal with the midlife crisis.
How do I know I have a midlife crisis?
Well, there is no one size fits all checklist to check this. But we have created a comprehensive list of signs which you might identify as a change in your own behavior. Every sign is followed by our suggestion. You can also discuss with your friends, peers, spouse, or counselor to get ideas to cope with these.
Signs of Midlife Crisis
You Are Not Taking Action
So you know there is a problem and you are willing to fight back. You spend all your energy in finding options for what is the solution and what should I do next to improve your personal or professional life to get back in the game. But you find yourself just thinking, maybe overthinking and debating about possibilities but not taking any action on any of the solutions. This way the feeling of being stagnant is getting multiplied and it’s not doing any good to you.
Solution – Try to do organized research. Write down your thoughts and then talk to friends or trusted people around you about your ideas. Give yourself short timelines and take action to move forward.
You Feel Disinterested And Bored
You are not interested in things which you used to enjoy before, like watching a movie, going to a party, etc. And it is a repeated “blah” or “whatever” for everything most of the time. You seem to have lost the passion in your life.
solution-Try to go in a flashback, remember what you used to like as a kid, which maybe you didn’t pursue. With a fresh mindset try to attempt it again. Join a hobby class, paint, sing, or write. Use this stage as a catalyst to re-discover yourself.
You Get Up Dull In The Morning
You might find yourself asking questions like why to get up? Or the feeling of what a boring day and not wanting to get out of bed. This is a sign that you feel your life is monotonous and you need some change to keep it interesting.
Solution- Often mid-lifers indulge in shopping or buying cars to look for that change. This might work but only momentarily. Instead, challenge yourself, learn something new, that way you will also add to your skillset.
Others Feel You Are Successful, But You Are Not Satisfied
Success is a tricky word. We tend to follow the success that is defined by the world for us when we start our career in the early 20s. Life is so fast-paced then that we forget to check if this success also brings satisfaction. Often this question pops up later in mid-life and disturbs you with a feeling of “What am I doing?”
Solution- It’s never too late to pursue what gives you satisfaction. Try to use what you gained till now which can be money, connections, skills, etc. to bridge the gap between success and satisfaction.
You Have An Auto-Pilot Feeling
Driving your life, having the control, chasing goals, facing challenges is what makes life interesting in our early 20s or 30s. With mid-age comes the stability which is actually a good thing. But the same stability might make you feel as if you are no more in charge of your life but just living in a predetermined way.
Solution-Don’t despair. Take this opportunity to take a breath, slow down, reassess your wishes. Even take this opportunity to do something that you have in your bucket list but had no time due to daily chores.
You Are Thinking Of Resigning
It seems rather easy in mid-life crisis to just walk away from a career that is been successful so far, in an effort to follow dreams or passion. Small issues at work seem like unbearable and want to escape grows.
Solution: While there is no harm in starting all over again at any point of your time, try to keep the transition well planned. Avoid taking these decisions only based on emotional impulses.
You Are Jealous Of Your Schoolmate
Unknowingly while you audit your own life, you might peep into other’s lives as well only to find something they have or achieve that you could not and be jealous of them. It’s a warning sign if you find yourself spending more time analyzing other people’s past than thinking about your own future.
Solution- Everyone gets a different set of challenges and opportunities which shapes their life. So instead of comparing your life with others try to appreciate their success and be open to learning from them. After all, opportunities never stop knocking your doors.
You Think About The Ending
You start hurrying up on your bucket list. You find yourself talk often or think about the end being near. The ticking clock overwhelms you. You get a feeling of so much to do in so less time.
Solution: List three to five things that you feel are important to you and the possible outcome if you don’t make any changes in your current life. Also, identify what is the ideal future looks like for you. Now try to compare these two and take better decisions on prioritizing.
You Feel Lost In Life
You feel like you are lost without a clear path or purpose. The everyday activities don’t excite you anymore and you feel there must be a bigger purpose to life. Mothers and homemakers who have their kids spreading their wings to fly especially might have this feeling of no purpose.
Solution-Try to look for a bigger purpose of humanity, give back to society. Do some social work or volunteering and making a difference to other people with no expectation of return. You might find yourself in the process of helping others.
You Feel Like A Failure
With age comes authority and experience which might translate into pressure on your own performance at work or otherwise. Unfortunately, you also carry predefined ideas that might not work with changing time and scenario.
Solution: Re-assess your choices and try to be flexible in approach. When things go wrong, be kind to yourself. If required give yourself permission to unlearn, learn, and change tracks even.
You Are Not Taking Risks
You are making decisions based on fear, and not taking enough risks. This means you are not playing to win but just playing not to lose. You have your growing age a justification for not being adventurous.
Solution: Take bigger but calculated risks. Use your experience to drive you wisely. Play to win.
You Feel Depressed
You might observe pronounced changes in mood, such as increased anger, irritability, sadness, or anxiety. Also, there can be a feeling of being confused disconnected and unsatisfied.
Solution: Take a step back and reflect on what made you happy before. The possibility is it still exists, and you are ignoring it. Think about what is important for you from your satisfaction point of view. Mindfulness and meditation can be of great help to look for inner peace and happiness.