Gen X or Baby Boomer? Feeling dissatisfied with your life? Wondering if there’s something more out there for you? Congratulations! You’re experiencing some of the classic signs of a midlife crisis. Here’s why that can be a very good thing and how to turn your midlife crisis into something positive.
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I’m excited today to bring you a guest post from a fabulous midlife guide and general speaker-of-wisdom, Vikki Nicometo. Vikki is a Certified Life Coach, Career Coach, and Certified Strengths Coach. She specializes in helping her clients to design and create their best life. She often works with people at midlife who have experienced a major change like divorce or empty nest.
Today she’s sharing with us some great advice about what a gift a midlife crisis can actually be. Be sure and check out her website, www.positivelyconnectedcoaching.com, for more awesome advice and information.
If you were playing word association with a friend, and you said “midlife” your friend would likely say “crisis.” Those two words seem to be inextricably linked in our minds. The idea of the midlife crisis is so ingrained we seem to accept it as “normal.”
We know the stereotypes – the balding middle-aged guy who starts working out and researching hair transplants, chasing younger women, and buying a new sports car. Or the frustrated, bored, housewife who one day loses her patience and screams at her family that she has been taken advantage of long enough and decides to run away to find herself.
What Really Causes a Midlife Crisis?
Psychologists say that the midlife crisis is usually brought on by reaching the midpoint of life, assessing where we are, and either being afraid of death and lost youth, or searching for meaning. I agree that this is part of it, but my view of the midlife crisis is slightly different. Instead of a crisis, I see it as a wake-up call.
We all have what best-selling author Dr. Martha Beck refers to as an “Essential Self.” According to Beck, this Essential Self is who we really are. It’s our true essence – who we are without all of society’s rules and expectations – it’s the true us that usually hides behind a social mask.
By the time we reach midlife, many of us discover that we long ago forgot all about our Essential Self, and we certainly stopped listening to it or seeking its guidance for our lives. Instead, we did what was expected of us – what society told us we needed to do in order to be successful. And we bought society’s message hook, line, and sinker.
A Warning Call from Our Essential Self
But then, at midlife, something happens to us. Our Essential Self starts whispering to us and telling us we have drifted off course like an airplane on autopilot. And this is what, I believe, the midlife crisis really is – a warning call from our Essential Self that we have lost our True Self and there is no more time to waste.
For some people, when they start to hear that whisper it scares them. If they buy into the whole idea of a midlife crisis, they may start acting out in uncharacteristic ways to try to drown out the voice of their Essential Self. That’s when we see things like extramarital affairs, excessive drinking, and people quitting their jobs or abandoning their families.
What if It’s Not a Midlife Crisis, but a Wake-Up Call?
What if, instead of seeing this as a “crisis,” we see it as a wake-up call and an opportunity – an opportunity for a “do-over,” so to speak?
We can use this wake-up call as an opportunity to take a look at our life and see where it’s not matching up to our heart’s true desires. Once we do that, we can start to make the changes to get back into alignment with our Essential Self.
This doesn’t have to mean chucking it all (quitting your job, leaving your spouse, etc.). We can start to re-align our life with just small changes. But it starts with the wake-up call and the soul searching.
Running from it won’t help. Wherever we go, we take our Essential Self with us. The answer is to listen. To go within. To really look at our life and what we really want.
The Real Gift of The Midlife Crisis
If we can find the courage to listen to that whisper and investigate it with an open heart and mind, it can be our second chance to have the life we really want. And if we take that chance, the second half of our life can be the best half – and that’s the real gift of a midlife wake-up call.
Vikki Nicometo is a Certified Life Coach, Career Coach and Certified Strengths Coach. She specializes in helping her clients to design and create their best life. She often works with people at midlife who have experienced a major change like divorce or empty nest.
You can learn more at her website, www.positivelyconnectedcoaching.com