I’ve been writing about midlife for about eight years and have been living it longer than that. In this series, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned about embracing all the good stuff of midlife and living well into our 80s and beyond.
My mother’s generation grew older thinking that their time of retirement from working would their “golden years”. Here’s a quote on that topic from my 88 year old mom,
“Bah! Golden years! For most of us, our 70s and 80s have been full of doctor appointments, handfuls of medicine, too little money and no one to talk to because all your friends are dying! Make your 50s and 60s YOUR golden years.Take care of your health, travel, dance, have fun! If you stay healthy and stay busy, maybe…just maybe your 70s and 80s can be a little more golden than mine!”
The words sound a little bitter but, they’re far from it. My mom is very much the optimist and quite happy with her life, but she’s also a realist. As a mom, she would hate to think of her daughters dealing with some of the difficulties she’s had in her ‘golden years’.
We’ll talk about all the changes – the good, the bad and the really ugly changes. Then we’ll turn midlife into the best time of our lives!
This post is one I wrote many years ago on an old website of mine and re-posted a year ago on this site. Let’s start with a little humor and a positive look at midlife.
5 Signs You’re Having a Midlife Crisis
Midlife is the old age of youth and the youth of old age. Proverb
No wonder we’re confused! That proverb tells us we don’t know whether we’re young or old! That’s what mid-life is…the passage between youth and old age. That’s a frightening thought!… It doesn’t feel like a simple passageway. It feels like we’re teetering on the precipice about to cascade down, down, down into the abyss of old age!
What are we afraid of? Maybe we’re afraid we haven’t accomplished enough, haven’t made our mark on the world. Maybe it’s just the feeling of time running out and an urgency to do, at least, a few of the things we couldn’t do when we were raising babies and furthering our careers.
It isn’t such a crisis. As puberty is a natural passage from childhood to adolescence, mid-life is our natural path from young adulthood to mature adulthood.
The Chinese word for mid-life crisis consists of two characters meaning danger and opportunity, translating properly to mean A Dangerous Opportunity. Crossing the line into mid-life, like any time of crisis, can be a great opportunity for growth and change. However, we need to be aware and daring enough to recognize and accept that opportunity. Otherwise, we may fall back into the danger zone of stagnation and regression. That may be our greatest fear of growing older.
Five of the signs that we’re experiencing our mid-life crisis are:
1) Realizing our previously happy lives are now a source of discontent.
2) Boredom with things and people who had always been of great interest to us.
3) Feeling adventurous and wanting to do something completely different.
4) Confusion about who you are or where your life is going.
5) Questioning the meaning of life, and the validity of decisions clearly and easily made years before.
So, what do we do about mid-life crisis? When we’re feeling bored, trapped, and as though everyone is demanding too much of us, we don’t run away. We draw the map of our journey through this crisis. A map provides us with direction and goals.
The first landmark will be the recognition that the emotional struggle we are about to endure is normal and necessary. We will need to let go of our old identity, that which holds no meaning for us any longer. We must open ourselves to what we are to encounter, spiritual growth, awareness and a new and deeper meaning for our lives.
Draw your map with care not to travel backward. Keep moving toward a more complete “you”. Simply trying to recapture our youth will cause us to step backward into that danger zone. Instead, choose youthful energy, excitement and motivation to propel yourself through this age to a more meaningful and challenging life. Become who you were meant to be all along. Become your best self…that healthy, active, engaging person you always knew you would be.
So, many of you are not too close to midlife yet,and some are well into it and doing fabulously. Do you or anyone you know find you’re having difficulty with any aspects of midlife? Do you younger folks have any questions or concerns about it? Please share your thoughts!
Friday is another episode of the Life List Club. Don’t miss it!