The mind can be a wonderful thing, or a terrible thing, depending on how you use it. If you read a lot, you’ll see one article after another on the subject of a midlife crisis. Briefly to explain what it is, a midlife crisis is a conceptualization by middle aged people basically that they are not immortal and they are at the halfway point – middle – of their life. It usually affects people between the age of 40 and 60. I can’t help but wonder if it’s real or manufactured in people’s minds.
Its call a crisis because people often end up doing negative things in response to the negative way they see themselves and the negative perceptions they have for their lives. This includes people not living out their goals, failing to achieve what they perceive as a level of importance in their lives, beginning and ending one dead end job after,,,,, and these things often lead some of them to abuse drugs or alcohol or they acquire material things like jewerly, flashy sports cars, or they pursue thrill-seeking hobbies (i.e., mountain climbing or race car driving) or enter into relationships with people who are either loose or exciting or with people who have the traits they desire in themselves. Clearly it’s all subjective, just like anything that pertains to human behavior. But many people fall into the pit and will even affirm out loud that they are in a midlife crisis, probably because that’s what they think is supposed to happened to them when they reach a certain age.
But what do you expect them to think? The term midlife crisis is a term that’s been bantered about for decades. Professional journals, gossip magazines, books, talk shows, and basically all mediums have content on the subject. I believe it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s sort of like how some parents tell their kids that they’re nothing, and that they won’t ever amount to anything. “You’re just like your no-good father.” some moms will tell their sons. “You’re nothing but a ______ (fill in the blank) just like your mother.” some dads tell their daughters.
But you know what? Some of those kids evolve into very productive people, leading positive lives, in spite of the discouragement from their parents. But sadly, yes, some of them become weakened by the discouraging words and they do end up just like their parents said they would be. They listen to those negative messages and internalize them. This midlife crisis nonsense is precisely like that too.
You don’t have to have a midlife crisis just because you’re in the target age group. Don’t stereotype yourself. If you didn’t graduate from college when everyone says you should have, so what? (Pearl Bailey earned her baccalaureate degree from Georgetown Univeristy when she was 67). If you aren’t yet married and all your peers are married with kids, what’s the big deal? (Elizabeth Taylor got married 8 times.)
Live your life on your own terms. Don’t have a crisis merely because you still have growing to do. Because I want to let you in on a little secret: everybody has growing to do. Lottie, Dottie, and EVERYBODY! So instead of having a crisis if you’re not where you want to be, take steps to make those unmet needs — those unfulfilled dreams — a reality.