Putting The Midlife Crisis Into Perspective
We all go through a difficult period in our lives where things are muddled, unclear, unsettling and accompanied by a lack of clarity about what the future holds.
This feeling of being becalmed and somewhat “lost” is a natural phenomenon and should be recognised for what it is – something that must be worked through to allow us to develop a future pathway that we can follow and develop.
Whilst there is no set pattern to the Midlife Crisis, the following feelings are very common:
- A narrowing of career options – the choices and plans that we had in our 20’s are now constrained into a more limited offering because we are older. Too late now to become Managing Director of ICI Plc, Prime Minister or the football player that we know we could have been.
- There is an inevitability of regret about the process – looking back with sadness possibly at options that we did not take, chances not taken up. Regrets are always bigger than they actually are in real terms!
- Consciously looking back over our career and other aspects of our life and over-reviewing how things went, often focusing upon bad lessons not fully learned or applied.
- The projects or tasks that are heading our way will get completed and then replaced with another series of projects or tasks in a seemingly endless process of limited fulfilment.
- Feeling that satisfaction is always somewhere in the future, that it is somehow unattainable. This overrules any feelings of satisfaction that are in the present, right now, or in the past.
- The feeling that work and social/family life is now only ever going to be about putting out fires and fixing mistakes.
Whether built around work, family/social or all three, this is a difficult time and needs to be recognised by yourself as such – buying a sportscar is NOT the answer!
So, what to do?
- Accept what you cannot change – it is perfectly natural that possibilities fade with time, that options will reduce over time and that you should NOT be limited in any way by past decisions. Draw a line under this and look to what you can achieve, not what you failed to achieve.
- Having regrets is a natural process and happens all the time on very basic levels as well as the more serious, wide-ranging issues. The trick here is very much to put your focus and energy into what you can do now to have success and achievements in all areas of your life.
- Recognise that mistakes will happen and are themselves a natural process – the key point is to learn from the mistakes that you make and then how you get over them.
- Work to find positives out of negatives. It may be very difficult to not get that promotion, not being able to buy the house that you want and missing out on the car that you had your eye on. Such “failures” open other doors of opportunity – another job will come along, new options about house buying will emerge and there are thousands of other cars to look at.
No successful person however you might identify them, did not, and will not, avoid the Midlife Crisis – what makes them happy, contented and successful is that they worked, or will work through the process.
Keep Positive and Carry On!
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