Definition Wikipedia – Midlife Crisis
A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle-aged individuals, typically 45–64 years old. The phenomenon is described as a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly shortcomings of accomplishments in life. This may produce feelings of depression, remorse, and anxiety, or the desire to achieve youthfulness or make drastic changes to current lifestyle.
Recently talking to friends, we’re amazed we’ve all done quite well in life, surprised even. Jobs are good, family and friends are strong and even the golf game shows glimpses of excellence, even if it’s just for that one hole!!
But as we all near 50, or just tip over it, we all have a sense of, “Is this it?” Are we hitting the apex of life? We are getting to an age where we are lucky to still have our health, although there’s more chance that bits will start to falter and lumps and bumps will appear! Our earning capacity is great but we could be close to the pinnacle of that and our greying hairs (balding in my case) show the years of experience, but also the tiredness of carrying some very long working weeks for way too long. Whilst discussing the subject of “Is this it?” we joked that maybe this is what a midlife crisis feels like. Is this the feeling people talk about when they struggle to find meaning and purpose in their lives and traditionally, in times gone by, go and buy a new sports car, take up a hobby or even stereotypically have a wandering eye!!
But as we talk it through, we know none of those things will fill what we feel, but instead we discover we all want something very far removed from that. We want to take on new challenges and give something back. Maybe this is how our fathers and grandfathers felt too, but in a bygone era, when traditionally people stayed with one employer for life with a single career path, the pressure to ‘provide’ for their families stifled any passion they might have to do something really different. Maybe our mothers and grandmothers felt the same way too when, in my world, they were at “stay home mums”, arguably doing the most important job in the world in bringing up their kids the right way and instilling values and traits that would stay with us for a lifetime. This pressure and traditional thinking, in a lot cases, would have brought on emotions as defined in the above definition of a midlife crisis. For the blokes it would have been hard to understand and deal with these feeling in a time when blokes had to be blokes and not show emotional weakness, hence the need to physically deal with it by buying the new sports car or making a “drastic change’ to their lifestyle in the confines of tradition. Women to, with a stiff upper lip and pride, would power through any feelings with a public face of confidence and a smile whilst inwardly having a battle of “what to do next?”
But we now live in a much different world, and what was once called a midlife crisis should now maybe called a Midlife Marvel! It’s a time of realisation that we are not restricted by our growing age or our inevitable mortality and possible shortcomings in accomplishments. We can have side hustles to our day job, once frowned upon as “moonlighting”, that can help fulfil us. We are encouraged to speak about our feelings, with “R U OK?” day just being last month, and share the burden of our thoughts without the worry of ridicule. We can explore new possibilities, maybe the type that only experience and courage can conquer. Link this freedom and experience with what technology is enabling us to do, plus a cultural acceptance that we can be anything we want, and it’s a time for discovery, at any age. It’s not mortality that scares us per se but, do we have enough time in our 30+ plus years left on this earth to do it all. (Subject to AI and medicine advances maybe adding another 40 years by the time I reach 80!). It’s exciting to think that we can scratch this itch of what we once called a midlife crisis, knowing we can do so much in the time we have here. What shortcomings in accomplishments we may have can be celebrated and explored to seek further success and overcome them. We can study, we can read, we can mentor, be mentored and continue to learn in a world where there is an abundance of information.
So my call to arms is to encourage you, not to dwell on the midlife crisis feelings of old, but take those feeling and thoughts and turn them into an energy to celebrate our Midlife Marvel, explore, excel and execute what the next chapter is. Share your thinking and passion with family and friends, give back and most important of all, have fun doing it!!
Definition by Mark J Bray – Midlife Marvel
A midlife marvel is a time of awakening, typically for people over 45 years old, when an individual realises they have so much to give and celebrate by doing wonderful and astonishing things and not worry or get distracted by age, creaking joints, mortality and any shortcomings so far in this crazy journey called life.
About The Author:
Mark Bray is Director, Mentor and Business Coach with over 30 years’ experience working in the construction industry in the UK, US and Australia.
Marks passion, (His Why), is to inspire people and teams to be better than they believe they can be. Through true leadership, questioning the status quo and as a committed mentor, Mark strives to bring positive change and results of the highest order.