The official term ‘mid-life crisis’ was created by Canadian psychoanalyst Elliott Jacques. He referred to a critical phase in human development that happens during the 40’s to early 60’s and is a period characterised by unstable mental and emotional health that drives us to alter our life. Though it should be said that research has failed to show whether it is a universal experience or even a real condition. Reaching that mid-point in your life means you also have to come to terms with your own mortality and people may start to feel dissatisfied due to unrealised goals and physical changes or health issues in an ageing body. As a result they may assess their work life balance and make major changes in their career, personal life, appearance and finances. In fact any major change in your middle years could be, at times unfairly, referred to as a mid-life crisis.
A Bit of a Joke?
We often refer to this reflective period in our lives with humour. The clichéd image of an older, over weight man squeezing himself into a tiny, garishly coloured sports car, often wearing clothes that would look better on someone in their twenties can give us a bit of a laugh. As can the mid-life woman suddenly losing weight, also wearing inappropriate clothes and getting hooked on Botox and fillers. It would be stupid to think that every middle aged person will go through this phase and will be tempted into having an affair with a younger man or woman. This behaviour however is at the cringe-worthy end of the scale. There are other behaviours such as changing your career to regain a work life balance, taking more care of your health to look and feel younger and to make every minute count. These sound like reasonable things to do as you get older and perhaps are just a symptom of getting older and wiser rather than a sign of a mid-life crisis.
Are you Just getting Older and Wiser?
Mid-life might be the time when we all panic at how little time we have left but this is not such a bad thing. As George Bernard Shaw once said ‘youth is wasted on the young’ and if I’m anything to go by, in my 20’s I felt like life was going to go on forever and then when my 40’s loomed, like many, I was compelled to assess what I’d done and whether I had fulfilled or was on route to fulfilling my dreams. But rather than calling this a mid-life crisis, I would call this more a reflection of my age rather than an aged related emergency. Isn’t it obvious that just as you are mid-way through your life that you would take stock of the direction you’re going in? No life is perfect or works as smoothly as one would hope but most life coaches would say that continual assessment of how you think, what you do and where you are going is the way to work to get what you want out of life.
Just have Fun at Any Age!
That would be the best mantra to go by. Don’t think of your age, don’t let your age define you and continue to have fun. So if you want to give it all up to travel around the world, do it. If you want to buy the car you’ve always dreamed of and you have the money then what are you waiting for? If you want to jump out of a plane at a great height near your home town, then Google, Skydiving Cambridge, don’t worry about what other people may think, just go for it. Having fun life experiences is what it’s all about. We shouldn’t be restricted by labels or age. Don’t live with regret and try to do something that scares you every day, push the boundaries and live life to the full!