Midlife Crisis: Dealing with It

change midlife crisis personal growth Oct 20, 2022

It's normal to feel like you're in a midlife crisis sometime during your life. After all, it's a time when we start to reflect on our past and worry about the future. For some people, this can lead to depression and anxiety. If you're feeling this way, know that you're not alone. This blog post will discuss ways to deal with a midlife crisis and find peace in your life again.

Life begins at 40

You may have heard people say that life begins at 40. The reason for this is that 40 is when somebody may have settled all their debts, bought a house or a car, got all of their children graduated from school, promoted to a higher-paying position in their job, or started a new hobby or passion. Forty, for some people, is when they truly experience and live life. But, on the other hand, 40 is also the age when somebody may experience a midlife crisis.

A midlife crisis is when people in their adult life stage may experience anxiety, depression, or stress over the things happening in their lives. In addition, they may suddenly feel low due to certain life events, such as changing family dynamics (children leaving the house because they have their own families now) or the loss of parents (who are already old by this time). Sometimes, no significant changes don't even have to occur for one to experience a midlife crisis. However, the following things may suddenly happen once you reach middle age.

  • You somehow feel sad and regretful over your life decisions over the past years. You start questioning whether you are on the right career path or have spent your money wisely. Lots of what-ifs begin to play in your mind.
  • You start to think more about the past and how happy you were back when you were a child and teenager. You think about the activities you used to enjoy and how life was way better than where you are now.
  • You may suddenly start doing particular activities or change your behavior about existing habits. For example, you may indulge in alcoholic drinks or smoke more than usual, or create a new hobby to relieve yourself of boredom and stress.
  • Mood swings can get more common as you may suddenly feel angry and irritable over the smallest of things. After bouts of anger, you may shift to feeling sad and depressed. These changing feelings occur due to thinking about various things in your life.
  • Feelings of lacking control or being stuck in life can arise. These feelings result from thinking that you may have made the wrong decisions and that it may be too late to make any positive changes or start anew in your life.
  • Endless worrying about the future can happen, including thinking about death and how you will fare in life when you get older. As a result, one may have trouble sleeping or spend a significant amount of your time daydreaming.

Dealing with midlife crises

The midlife crisis symptoms we mentioned above may make you think that midlife crisis is a mental illness, but it's not, although it can lead to some mental health problems if left unattended. Instead, consider midlife crisis as a phase of life for some middle-aged adults once they reach middle age. It may or may not happen to you, but once you notice the signs, you should try doing some of the things we mention below to help you cope and overcome sudden changes that may be happening in your life or just dealing with how things are going in your current life.

1. Assess your life

Once you experience symptoms of a midlife crisis, now is an excellent time to assess your life if you haven't done it before. The fact that you are pondering about your life can signify that you may be doing something wrong in one or more aspects of your life. On the other hand, you may not have noticed them because maybe you got busy with life when you were younger and rushed toward various activities. When you evaluate your life, you can pinpoint what causes you to feel emotional distress and therefore create solutions to overcome the root cause of your negative feelings. For example, are you doing okay with your relationships? Are you fulfilling your goals, or are you doing what you want? These are some questions you can ask yourself, and if the answer is no or you are not doing well, it's time to put your life course in the right direction.

2. Find your purpose

When somebody experiences a midlife crisis, it is happening because they may still not have found their purpose in life. It is not easy to give a clear answer when somebody asks you what your purpose is in life. Ideally, one should make it their goal to find their purpose in life as early as possible, as one's purpose is a significant driver behind all our actions and behaviors. When one knows their purpose, they know what goals to pursue, what decisions to make, and where they should dedicate their time and energy. So if you find yourself having problems in the midlife transition, it may be because you don't have a clear purpose. It will help you a lot if you take the time to figure it out, and it's never too late to find an answer, as finding one's purpose can be a lifelong process. The essential thing is that you give time and focus on such a matter.

3. Bring back the past

As we grow older, we may have relegated things we used to enjoy when we were a child and teenagers. These include hobbies like collecting toys, playing video games, enjoying TV shows, and creative activities like drawing, painting, or sculpting. However, we may have forgotten or abandoned doing these in favor of activities that will let us earn money. We may take a job that we do not necessarily like but take it anyway since it pays more than a career that focuses on your hobby but pays less. It is only later in your life, such as when you are already a middle-aged man or woman, that the boredom may set in for doing something repeatedly over the years that are not in line with your interests. No law states you should abandon your childhood once you are an adult. You can always keep your inner child alive. So what if somebody sees a middle-aged man buying a toy or playing a game? If it is something that you genuinely enjoy, there is no reason to forget them, and you can always set time to do your favorite things.

4. Don't be afraid to make changes

Major changes can happen in one's life. Being in middle age can make you experience many of them. Changes in your career, financial situation, physical health, and personal life can cause some emotional turmoil. Some of these changes can be positive, while others are not. For those that are not, try to identify those that you can change for the better and those that are beyond your control. Acceptance and being tolerant of change can help you with the things that are not within your control. On the other hand, for those things that are not so pleasant but can still make changes for the better, don't be afraid to learn new skills and knowledge to improve your situation. Make changes that are in line with your beliefs and values.

5. Don't look too much at what others have and do

One reason you experience a midlife crisis is when you compare yourself to people the same age as you and see what they have and do. Your self-esteem and confidence may lower when you see others are more well-accomplished than you, such as having a car, a good-paying job, a house, and other gadgets, while you may not have them. Seeing such things may trigger depression and lower your life satisfaction. You have to realize that every person has different circumstances going on in their lives that may have made accomplishing such things easier or harder for them. Also, even if you know they have such things, you never know what's happening behind the scenes in their lives. So it's better to focus on your life and see what changes you can make to improve instead of comparing yourself to others. Work on what matters and can give you happiness and fulfillment, so you won't get into a slump and feel dissatisfied with your life.

It's never too late for you.

Experiencing a midlife crisis can look severe and scary, but there is something good that one can attain from it. First, it means you are spending time assessing your life, whether you are on the wrong or right path, which means you can still make necessary changes. It's better than letting your life get stuck in a rut doing things that may harm you but don't realize.

A problem may arise when you get overwhelmed from thinking about various things. There can be many uncertainties and what-ifs in your head, and you may think it's too late to start something new or make changes. The good news is that it isn't. It's never too late to make adjustments in your life as long as you are still alive and have the will and ability to make the necessary changes. A midlife crisis tells you to have more self-awareness and practice more self-care as you try to change course and gain increased happiness and fulfillment in life. Notice the signs, take the necessary actions, and change your life for the better.

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