Friday, December 15

How to Survive a Mid-Life Crisis

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The age of 45 generally marks the mid-point in a person’s life. Around this time many people start looking back, reflecting on their life so far and what is to come. They might start wondering where all the years have gone, what they have to show for them and what happened to all those wonderful dreams they had for themselves when they were younger.

Some will be pleased with their achievements so far, others will be frustrated to realise that they haven’t achieved all they had expected from themselves. It might seem as if they’ve been stuck in a rut for the last ten or fifteen years. And suddenly they might wonder whether anything’s going to change between now and the time they reach retirement.

All this comes too, with signs of the body ageing. Where did those wrinkles come from? When did my hair become so grey? Emotionally, people around this age can feel more stressed than they have done in the past as they take stock of their life situation.

The forties are also when many major life events are happening. Family life is changing. Older children will be leaving home and the house might seem strangely empty. Mothers who have devoted a good part of their life taking care of their children may now be left with many empty hours to fill. And whereas in the past ambitious career dreams will have spurred them on, by the time people are in their forties it could well be they’ve reached the place they wanted to be. And without new goals to strive for, comes a feeling of disappointment. Is this where they want to stay for the next fifteen years or so? What else might life hold in store?

The forties therefore bring a time of crisis. Some get through these years easier than others. Here are some tips on how to survive a mid-life crisis.

Your life isn’t over. Think about your future. Set yourself new long-term goals. Consider the dreams you had when you were younger. If these haven’t been achieved, what’s stopping you reach them now? Go back to school. Get new qualifications. More and more people now are studying for a degree in their forties. You’re never too old to learn something new and lifelong learning can help keep a person young.

Find new interests. If you have more time on your hands as the family move on, establish new hobbies and interests. If you’ve always wanted to paint, sign up for an art course. If it’s writing that has interested you, why not write a poem a day and get all your feelings out that way? Get started on the novel you feel has always been inside you. Start a blog! Volunteer to help a local charity effort or at a charity shop. You don’t have to make dramatic changes to add a little more spice to your life.

Join a club, plan regular holidays. If your family has moved away, plan on visiting them regularly. You may have more time for travel now. Get involved in community enterprises where you can help other people.

There’s an old saying ‘life begins at forty’ and with a positive attitude, rather than seeing your life as ‘half over’ and your cup ‘half empty’ look to the future with hope and optimism. The cup that is your life is still half full so why not tell yourself: the best is yet to come!

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