How To Deal With A Mid-Life Crisis
A lot of people who come to me for Life Coaching suspect they are passing through what many want to refer to as a mid-life crisis.
They may not use that phrase per se and they may not be rushing out to get a tattoo and buy a sports car, but they’re frequently looking at their life and wondering, “Is this as good as it gets?”
Unfortunately, the phrase mid-life crisis has been ridiculed and stereotyped by the media to such an extent that few people want to admit that’s what may be happening to them.
And even those that don’t care what others think are often unsure of what the term mid-life crisis even means because it is so vague, broad and a even a tad scary for some people.
And now with the the younger generation rushing to get in on the action with the quarter-life crisis it seems that even more people are getting unnecessarily fraught about life and aging, but why should this be happening?
What Is A Mid-Life Crisis?*
Before I answer that, let’s take a look at what may constitute a mid or quarter life crisis and ask yourself if any of these apply to you.
*I am somewhat taking liberties with this and realize there can be other reasons, but these are the ones that I encounter the most, or at least the first five are.
- Wondering what the hell life is all about
- A sense of being stuck and that life is passing you by
- A feeling of wasted or unfulfilled potential
- An underlying feeling of anxiety about life in general and your own mortality
- Disliking or even hating your career, but feeling chained to it because of financial or health care constraints
- A desire to buy sports cars and cruise around the hood playing loud rap music with your homies even though you haven’t got any homies and like nothing better than to listen to Country music
- A strong urge to join a gym followed by an even stronger one to watch ‘Murder She Wrote’
I would say one or more of the above apply to the vast majority of my clients. Undoubtedly that’s partly because they are the type of clients I enjoy working with and specialize in, but it’s also because more and more people are realizing that there is so much more to life.
50 years ago peoples outlook on work was a lot different than it is now. Many folk spent their entire adult life working for one organization, something that would be considered very unusual today outside of people who work for themselves.
There was also a different attitude toward work, that it was a necessary evil to be tolerated to pay the bills etc. Rather than something we should actually be enjoying.
Not that there weren’t people who loved their jobs, of course there were, but for many more it was a dull routine which they endured on the way to the weekend.
It’s All The Internets Fault
Then a funny thing happened, the Internet arrived and peoples perception changed.
Sure the phrase mid-life crisis was coined in the mid-1960’s, but new technology catapulted it into the public awareness to the point now where a simple Google search yields 41.9 million results
With the much greater ability to compare their lives to others who appeared to have what they wanted, many people started to get anxious that they weren’t living out their own true potential.
Suddenly a soulless and stressful job paying $100k a year with benefits didn’t seem so appealing.
In over 7 years of Life Coaching full time and working with hundreds of clients I can count the number of clients who genuinely loved their job on my fingers and maybe a toe or two.
And there’s good reason for that.
Work takes up half of most peoples waking life and if you have that aspect nailed there’s a good chance you will have other areas of your life equally nailed on too and thus won’t be trawling the Internet for a Life Coach.
Drop Your Old Dreams – It’s Ok
Many times I hear clients tell me that they just can’t get motivated about things that used to inspire them. They seem to think there’s something wrong with them and insist on telling me they need more motivation or more confidence.
For the most part that’s not true, they really need new dreams and goals.
What has really happened is they have evolved and what used to inspire them no longer does. But rather than accepting that and thus being open to new possibilities they continue to push and push and hope things will change.
I used to think that we all have things we are passionate about and that’s what we should be doing with the rest of our lives.
Whereas that can be true, for the most part I was wrong because our passions change as we age and mature.
I used to be incredibly passionate about sales, but the mere thought of going back into that industry is enough to make me nauseous now.
That was then, this is now, I’m a different person entirely, and so are you from 10 years ago
The real problem is though that most people are scared to let go of their older dreams because it creates doubt, uncertainty and a vacuum in their life.
But that’s ok because nature abhors a vacuum and will do its best to fill it.
Therefore, the act of letting go of any dreams or goals that once seemed critically important to you and now have you feeling ‘blah’ will allow you to make room for new opportunities.
Sure it will feel crap to begin with because it pushes you out of your comfort zone, but all your great work is done outside your comfort zone, so that’s ok.
I’m going to wrap up with some bullet points because everybody loves to scan a bullet point or two. If you can do all the things on this list below the chances are you’ll never be contacting me to be your Life Coach.
7 Ways To Deal With A Mid-Life Crisis
- Do work that is meaningful to you
- Never do work that you think is meaningful to others but drives you nuts
- Wherever possible focus on the work and not the money. Yes you need money, but probably not as much as you think
- Cease and desist comparing yourself and your position with others, it’s a recipe for misery
- Be prepared to wave goodbye to old goals that no longer feel right
- Understand your own core values and then get in alignment with them
- Adopt a regular meditation process to allow you to relax more (and you can start that by grabbing my free ebook on the topic from here)
I’m really interested in hearing from you in the comments if you have held onto certain goals for too long, or if you realize you have outgrown the work you are doing now.