How do I know if I’m having a midlife crisis? A midlife crisis is a crisis of identity that people aged between 35-60 years can experience and result in a questioning of a person’s values, beliefs, goals, and sense of self.
We have several components to our lives, for example, work, family, parenting, relaxation, joy, how we find comfort. When we experience an identity crisis, something has often happened which has triggered a sense that we are no longer the person we believed ourselves to be, no longer finding contentment in the things that used to. Maybe our friendships no longer seem to hold the same camaraderie that they once did or perhaps our work life has become unfulfilling and repetitive, or life itself has become a bit dull and unfulfilling?
Often this trigger for a crisis is a profound loss The loss of something we have invested in with time, love, money or energy and that thing (person, object, belief) is no longer a part of our life which has rocked the very foundations of out sense of self.
Not everyone will experience an identity crisis, some will try to ignore it and distract themselves with being busy or use anaesthetising behaviour such as drugs and alcohol to push down the uncomfortable feelings that a crisis can evoke.
The reality is you are undergoing a life transition, whether the person you have been no longer seems to fit with the person you long to be. You are between identities which can be an uncomfortable, unfamiliar, unrecognisable place to be.
The way through a midlife crisis is not immediate action to change your life, but introspection as you begin to identity the areas of your life which have become outdated and begin to understand why.
You may find that what you value in life and what you believe in is beginning to shift. You may find yourself beginning to question long-held beliefs about careers, friendships, relationships, what is important to you now and how you want to spend your time – all aspects of your life which have shaped your identity thus far. This questioning can lead to a re-evaluation of your religious and spiritual beliefs, political views, or moral principles. Perhaps you begin to realise that your current life no longer aligns with your true self.
This inwards journey is nicely summed up by Carl Jung who said ‘Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.’
This can be a challenging time in life but also an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery, Many people can find it helpful to seek support from an independent source as they gently question and consider readjusting aspects of their life and help them clarify what is important to them now before any changes are implemented.
If you would like help with your midlife transition or to find direction in the second half of life, why not read The Midlife Crisis Handbook or join other people going through a similar experience on one of our courses where a supportive and welcoming learning environment is provided.