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Healthy Aging

Midlife Crisis?

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 02/09/2009
Last Updated: 02/03/2010

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Welcome to my blog - it's nice to see you here! I've decided to open my very first post with my thoughts on a term that is so common to the boomer generation... Midlife Crisis. It makes me wonder...

Why do these two words - Midlife and Crisis - have to go together? The term even has a place in Webster's Dictionary. Do you mean to tell me that 78 million of us (that's how many people were born during the post-World War II population boom) are making changes in our lives because of CRISIS?

(After reaching for my nearby magnifying glass - more on that in another post), I read: "A period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized esp. by a strong desire for change."

Change is one thing. Change is necessary for growth, I think. Change is good - and so is desire. But turmoil... why this word? Does change have to be fueled by turmoil? Or is this only when it refers to changes made in midlife?

I know lots of people who have made changes around this time. Why not? It's a time of reflection, of having lived long enough to be able to look back upon our mistakes/desires unfulfilled/dreams - and make them happen now. It's a time when we'd most likely to be most open to changes. Why? The distraction of raising children might be behind us. Feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy have finally dissipated enough to give us a forward momentum. Experience has paved the way for us to read our inner compass and head in the right direction (or even a different one). Fear takes a backseat to desire, perhaps fueled by knowing that it's now or never.

The actual change that comes about is usually a positive step toward something better, or at the very least, a step to self-discovery that we might not have ever experienced before.

Why not call it... Midlife Change. Or Midlife Alteration. Or Midlife Modification. I like those words much better.

What kinds of changes has midlife brought about in you? Have you made any changes - or might be contemplating any major changes - that have never occurred to you before now?

Stay tuned for future blog posts, which will talk about all the changes that occur in midlife... minus the word "Crisis".

Comments

Dr. Fred, Thanks for visiting and for your comments. I couldn't agree more...midlife and beyond are certainly fulfilling periods - if we have the mindset to let them be! Look at all the successful boomers in the news these days, after all. Glad you and your partner have this special understanding.

Based on research that my partner Frank and I (happiness-after-midlife.com) have undertaken, we can say that there's no such thing as a midlife crisis! There may be people in this age group who experience it, however it's not necessarily related to aging. People who aren't midlifers can experience it as well.

What's been relevant to me as a man is the notion of "Irritable Male Syndrome" (theirritablemale.com), which can apply to men in all age groups.

There is a new paradigm of aging emerging in which midlife and beyond can be the most fulfilling period of our lives.

Midlife crisis is definitely a misnomer. You are 100% on target. It should be called "Midlife Renaissance" instead. I am a widow and could have really wallowed in self-pity. Instead, I have re-invented my career, my personal style and my whole outlook on life. I love your articles - keep them coming!

Penny and Nancy,
Thanks for your comments. It is my hope that we can all get some support and community through this forum! Our issues are certainly ones that others in our age group face and can weigh in on to offer their personal advice and wisdom.
Sheryl

Hi Sheryl, Penny here from PI. Long time no see, but I do now hear from you. I like this format. As I have found after having a child at age 42, she is now 16, mid-life for women presents a whole new mind set. Now we MUST keep active and in the gym daily in order to keep our sanity. Sure wish I had a little extra testosterone somewhere. I find it really hard to "manufacture" the energy to keep up with my daughter.

Keep the articles coming. Read them all.

Sheryl,

Loved your article! I, like so many women, are going through this midlife "experience" and finding it unsettling to say the least. The weight gain, the mood swings,hair and skin changes.

Wasn't puberty enough torture? HELP!

Good to know we are not alone!!

Thanks for your comment, Gwen. Getting better and better every day...something we should all strive for!
Sheryl

So glad you had an 'aha' moment while writing your comment. I hope the subject continues to enlighten you to become happy in your solitude and able to take the lead!
Sheryl

Midlife crisis... i actually am going through a crisis only because i waited too long to make the modifications i had been yearning for, for so many years. i'm happier than i have been in years but it's not so easy being on your own, this surprised me because i'm an independent sole who really cherishes solitude. but maybe there is too much solitude in living alone. how do i break my old habits and get out there and "mix it up"?. i know it takes time and perseverance...i just had an AHA moment.... writing this blog just helped me to realize something...i'm so used to being lead. i have to learn to become my own leader. easier said than done. i see now why people love journaling. it makes you see things in black and white.

Gwen here again! I just read your vday post and loved it. I like this one too. I've never liked the word crisis because, to me, a crisis is something really horrible and unavoidable. As I grow older, I really feel I get better and better every single day. Do I sweat the wrinkles? Sure but I move on and know that's not what I'm about and it's definitely not what (or at least not the only thing) people see when they see me.

very interesting post.

Hi Sheryl, Love your post. I have been blogging for many years on Spiritual topics and more recently on Midlife Empowerment for women. Would love to chat sometime you can visit my blog on http://www.yvonneclarke.com/blog and if you like it get in touch. Love to connect with other Midlife bloggers and share ideas & collaborate to help Midlife women to have a smooth transition at Midlife. Great post! Yvonne

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