The phrase “Mid-Life Crisis” conjures images of middle-aged men driving red sports cars with their twenty-something year old girlfriends along for the ride. And though some might envy the image – it carries a dismissive quality to it. According to Wikipedia, “Midlife crisis is a term coined in 1965 by Elliott Jaques and used in Western societies to describe a period of dramatic self-doubt that is felt by some individuals in the “middle years” or Middle age of life, as a result of sensing the passing of their own youth and the imminence of their old age.” And though for some this awareness may indeed be a crisis – I believe it is actually more of an opportunity.
In fact, I believe it is even a healthy process to shut-off the auto-pilot for a moment and to take stock of your life which for most folks is what I believe this period of our lives is really about. I believe that in today’s uncertain economic times, many of us have been forced to re-evaluate our careers and lifestyles for other reasons as well. We are aware of the ticking of the clock and its impact on our lives in ways that in younger years we could more easily dismiss. Our physical resilience may not be what it was even just a few years ago. And the evolving pressures associated with our children’s maturation and our parent’s aging combine to put pressures and considerations into our daily existence that previously just didn’t exist. “You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife. You may ask yourself – Well, how did I get here?” (David Byrne, Talking Heads – “Once in a Lifetime”) Surprise! Now what?
Taking stock of your life, evaluating your present circumstances and re-positioning yourself toward your future in a way that works can be really scary but it can be invaluable too. If we bury our heads and just plod forward, well, we’ll get through it – but is that all you want from your life? A little introspection can go a long way. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your life is exactly where you want it to be, or you may find some areas that need a little tweaking. You owe it to yourself and to those around you to be the best person that you can be, living your life to its fullest. If we are lucky we will live until a healthy old age – but you never do know, do you? So, embrace the uncertainty, forgive the shortcomings, and move forward with a clear vision of what you want from your life and how you are going to make it happen.