I’ve been known to have some opinions about a few things … you know … the kind that make your daughter roll her eyes. I’ve also been known to have an opinion about things that require someone to stand up and be heard. This post is probably a combination of both. But hear me out.
Remember that Santa guy from your childhood? How long did you believe he was real? How long did you want to believe he was real? I wonder if the association our culture makes between “midlife” and “CRISIS” came from the same place? What if it’s a myth? A set up?
Make no mistake – “midlife” is real. It happens, hopefully, for all of us. But crisis? Only if you believe it. We’ve been programmed to believe it will be. Would it be the case if we hadn’t always heard those two words connected? Try the word association game with anyone. Say “midlife” and I bet 99.5% of the time they will respond with “crisis”. Incredibly successful marketing campaign, don’t you think? You’ve just recovered from the hard reality that Santa doesn’t really exist and the next thing you know, you’re being told that when you get to midlife there is going to be a CRISIS. Alrighty then. Something to look forward to.
When you google “midlife”, here’s what you’ll find:
- the central period of a person’s life, generally considered as the years from about 45 to 55.
Dictionary.com: a period of psychological stress occurring in middle age, thought to be triggered by a physical, occupational, or domestic event, as menopause, diminution of physical prowess, job loss, or departure of children from the home.
Psychology Today says: “Midlife transition” is a natural stage that happens to many of us at some point (usually at about age 40, give or take 20 years). Midlife transition can include: Discontentment or boredom with life or with the lifestyle (including people and things) that have provided fulfillment for a long time.
Well hey – In many parts of the world people don’t even live to the age our culture defines as “midlife”. Ponder that for a minute.
Think back to your twenties. When you first leave the nest, life is all about gaining momentum. You’re focused on career, relationship, buying a house, kids/no kids … You hit 30 and somewhat interestingly, you start hearing a whisper of “retirement … got to plan for it”. If your career is going well and you’re generating a regular income, you may start to hear that whisper get a little louder. But it’s a long way off – right? Not to worry.
Somewhere along the way – and it kind of does a sneak attack – you’re reminded about that midlife thing. You’ll notice that word association. Crisis. Dread. Doom. A period of psychological stress. Boredom. Bet you’re really excited to get there – right?
I’m going to propose something here and you may feel the earth shake. You can frame this time in your life any way you want. You have the opportunity to experience this as something other than a crisis.
You can call it anything you want, but what if you called it something POSITIVE? What if you knew at 30 that you could start planning now for this amazing time in your life?
Yes, you’ll get to experience 45-55. You may choke a little when somebody asks you how old you are and you get to say 48, or 50 (!) or 52 … gasp … cough.
Yes, your kids are likely leaving home, launching their own lives. So awesome to watch!
Yes, you’ll have some space in your life that you didn’t have before. This is a bad thing?
Yes, it will be a fabulous time to get to ask “who am I?”
And YES! You will have opportunities to explore and launch your own adventures! That’s a crisis? I think not. How do I know these things? I’m walking out the other side of midlife. I survived. Not only did I survive, I created ways to thrive and I want to help you do the same.
It’s all up to you. Want to know more? Join the You Have to Just Start community! The world is out there. Go live it!
Oh – that picture at the top of the post? Mt. Kilimanjaro. Africa. I climbed it for my 55th birthday. It was an awesome birthday present to myself, and just the beginning of more amazing adventures.
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