Midlife Crisis Or Midlife Opportunity

Midlife Crisis Or Midlife OpportunityLast week a reader asked me whether I believed if someone could actually have a midlife crisis. I laughed out loud and responded, “YES!” But then I asked… “Is it really a midlife crisis or midlife opportunity?”

As part of the discussion with the reader I jokingly disclosed that I have had multiple midlife crisis and my first one happened when I was 25!

It was a spring morning in 1993 and I was lying in bed awake before getting up and going to work. I had zero motivation get going and I was trying to figure out why. Actually, I did not have much motivation to do much of anything and it was really bothering me.

Being 25 seems like a strange place to have a midlife crisis but there I was taking an inventory of my life and I realized something… Every goal that I had for my life that I had when I was 18 and left home I had achieved. The results maybe looked a little different than originally envisioned but they were there… I had a great job, I was married, I had an awesome 4X4 pickup truck, and I even had two dogs… Seriously, all that I ever wanted I had.

It was little scary because I wondered if I had indeed “topped out” and if that was all there was going to be to life for the most part. But there I was… 25-years old and the best that I could tell, I was having my first midlife crisis… but was it a midlife crisis or a midlife opportunity?

Fortunately for me that phase was short lived as I recognized it as my chance to look further than “just” where I was and I began by focusing on where I wanted to go next instead. I set new goals, I recommitted myself to finishing my degree, and I made an effort do and enjoy the things in life that I truly valued. Midlife crisis or midlife opportunity… it may have started out as crisis but I quickly turned it into a time of great opportunity.

After all… who really peaks at 25 anyway?

Midlife Crisis Or Midlife Opportunity

When you hear the words “midlife crisis,” what thoughts or images come to mind? The man (or woman) in his or her middle years buying that new sports car, leaving his or her spouse, and dating someone half their age? Do you imagine someone who is frantically (and desperately) struggling to find some way to regain or hold onto what they perceive as his or her youth?

Sure, there are many stories of people doing things like those that I described above and the stereotypical tales of what midlife crisis looks like. But if you closely examine these kinds of behaviors, you will see that is the person is grasping at things external to themselves for a remedy… a remedy that rarely (if ever works.)

The same crisis that I had at 25 I had once again at 40. Of course, it looked different because I was in a different place in life… but again… was it a midlife crisis or midlife opportunity?

Regardless of how you choose to label it, this is what it is… it is a moment in time in one’s life where there is the realization on a conscious (or subconscious level) that “life” is no longer working for them. And there is a good reason for that… they have outgrown it!

The dreams and goals that you may have had in high school are as probably as ill-fitting as the jeans you wore back then. Maybe you have achieved all that you ever wanted… or maybe the things that you wanted are no longer relevant. Either way it is a crossroads in which one must begin to make new decisions, set new goals, and set a new course in life.

The old software is now longer supported… it’s time to upgrade to a new version!

Your midlife crisis or midlife opportunity represents nothing but a plateau of sorts but then again, aren’t all plateaus are meant to be broken through and surpassed?

In the spirit of reframing, why don’t we “reframe” the idea of a midlife crisis into something a little more useful? Sure, they happen, but instead of looking at as a crisis, let’s call it an opportunity. Instead of calling it midlife… let’s call it “anytime” as such an event can happen at anytime in one’s life.

Look at it as opportunity to change your path in life.

Instead of focusing what time that you might not have left… choose instead to make the most of the time that you still might have.

Maybe instead of it being a crisis, it is merely a time to once again become clear on what you want in life, what matters to you now, and begin to move in that direction.

Look at it as your chance to be or become your authentic self. Personally, I believe that most “midlife crisis” are the result of us trying to be and holding on to “who we were” rather than expressing truly “who we have become.”

Is time to start taking more risks in life rather than always playing it safe?

The crisis comes from holding onto what no longer serves us or our higher good… but the opportunity is completely there to embrace new behaviors, new ways of thinking, new beliefs, and even new goals for a totally new chapter in life.

So yes, I do believe in the concept of a midlife crisis and that it truly is a thing that most of us face from time to time but at the same time I do not believe it is purely a function of age or time, as it can happen to anyone who has reached some form of a stalemate in life.

But challenges (and crisis) are are the doorways to opportunities. If you are in your 20’s, your 30’s, or your 40’s or 50’s, it doesn’t matter… midlife crisis or midlife opportunity… it just comes down to how you perceive “where or you are” but more importantly it comes down to “what are you going to do about it?”

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo by Andy Wooten 08 June 2014

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