The traditional midlife crisis has become outdated.
Middle aged man has an affair, or buys a fancy sports car to compensate for something missing in his life. I don’t know about you, but I can’t relate to that at all. In fact, it feels like such a stereotype, I don’t think anyone even takes it seriously anymore. It’s a joke.
Additionally, crisis is such a strong word.
I knew I was going through something when I hit my 40s and 50s, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a crisis. I certainly was not feeling the urge to go do something drastic, against my morals, or beyond my financial means.
It felt more like a shift.
A transition from the life I’d been living and the life I now wanted to live. A shift in priorities. A calling to find more meaning and discover my purpose. A life that was about more than my work and all of my other responsibilities.
It was a time of reflection and re-evaluation.
What do I really want to do with the rest of my life? What’s most important? What will I find most fulfilling. What will make me happy? What will bring me peace and contentment?
These are the questions I pondered.
I admit, I felt unsettled. But I also knew buying a new car wasn’t the answer. It was deeper than that. So I took the time to be introspective. I journaled a lot! I did some chasing, which I have shared throughout this blog and in my book, Breaking the Spell, but soon realized I was chasing something I couldn’t find outside of myself. I couldn’t find it in more success, more money, or more recognition.
Yes, I did get a tattoo.
And perhaps some people may have thought, “ooohhh… midlife crisis… getting a tattoo at 50 years old!” But my tattoo is a reminder to myself of a valuable lesson I learned through all my chasing. A lesson that has become my motto, my way of living. A way of living that has settled my uneasiness about what I was doing and what I should do next. An attitude that has brought me a lot of peace over the past few years. The fact that my daughter got the same tattoo with me represents our bond and our similar approach to life. And the fact we both tend to fall back into old habits and need reminders to stay on track!
Let Go & Trust.
It’s how I got through, and continue to get through, that unsettled feeling that arises periodically in this middle stage of life. It’s how I continue to find my way, by following the path that is laid out before me. It’s how I find the courage to keep moving forward when it’s difficult or I’m afraid. It’s how I plan to live the rest of my life.
Midlife Crisis vs. Midlife Shift.
There’s a film called The Shift (From Ambition to Meaning), featuring Dr. Wayne Dyer. In it he talks about the shift we experience in “the afternoon of life.” I suppose you could say he’s talking about a modern day midlife crisis of sorts. The thing is most people don’t experience midlife crisis in the stereotypical sense. But I do believe many experience it the way Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about in this film. And it’s that shift that this blog is all about.