I think the midlife crisis has a bum rap perhaps since it is often associated with convertibles and younger woman, depression and reckless behaviors. But there is a lot to be said for assessing your life, achievements, dreams, career, work-life balance, romance, and health- physical as well as financial. Ultimately I believe it comes down to how you go about it, reflecting back on how well (or not) you have lived to this point. Much like one’s Saturn return, I think of it as cosmic weeding. Only in terms of the midlife crisis, at least one done healthfully, I think we should coin it the Reboot.
The questions set in. Is this all there is? We begin look at our lives, marriages, careers. Should I move? Am I happy in my marriage? How do I reinvent myself? And in the midst of this existential crisis we seek to confront the questions that guide us towards a different future.
For those of us on the outside or even in direct orbit of the seeker it can wreak havoc, seeming selfish, foolish and reckless. It may seem to arise out of the blue but more than likely these conflicting feelings, sense of dissatisfaction and frustration has been brewing deep inside over a period of time.
My ex-husband felt he needed a different life and leapt from his gut. He ran headlong in search of an answer. And found it! In hindsight he is able to identify the root of his dissatisfaction and I was able to hear it. This is a testament to our foundational friendship, a connection that will always remain, even though our marriage fell to the wayside in his search for long-term happiness.
Another friend recently made a similar jump off the proverbial cliff. He sold his house, quit his job and took off traveling in search of what he requires to find contentment. For him I wish the same success wherever it will appear for him. Whether full circle back to his life in Seattle or onto a new and grand adventure elsewhere. I admire these men greatly for the journey they take, for their willingness to want for more, for hitting reboot.
I am one of those people that regularly tears oneself open and roots around inside. Self-reflection is part of my daily life. So for all my talk of wanderlust and wanting to run away and start over somewhere else, start fresh, I realize I have a deeper desire. I require a reboot of my own.
Now I have learned that you can run, you can hide, but try as you might life will catch up with you. So relocation is not necessarily the answer. Not that I would turn down a fabulous invitation from the Universe to start over somewhere else. But I know there is no panacea for loneliness, no magic cure for loss, and no guarantees in life for success, love, happiness. So be cautious as you charge headlong into what you fear. Because you may let go of things you would prefer to hold on to.
As Michael J Fox so aptly warns,“However well you plan out your life, whatever courses you take, whatever degrees you get, your life is really going to get most interesting when it goes off the rails.” It may not even require a midlife crisis. The out of the blue, left turn, sudden change throwing you onto a new path. Divorce, not getting into the college you wanted, not having children etc., all the things that leave you feeling out of your comfort zone. So he says, “When it blows up and something happens that you didn’t expect . . . a loss, some misadventure . . . and if you’re open to what happens, and you don’t try to do something to change it and [instead] accept it for what it is, you’re going to learn something, and your life will improve.”
I have had many of these over the last five years and know that even when things seem their darkest, inside you lives a light that cannot be distinguished. Even if not another human being can see the embers of its glow it still exists. And in the darkest hour when all seems lost, remember where you’ve been, who you are, and all the things you dream to become.
More than likely your life will be fuller even if you can only see it in hindsight. So embrace this change in direction. Let it propel you forward and trust that you are meant to go in a different direction, challenge intimidation, stretch your limits, and seek life’s mysteries. Make each day an insatiable quest to ask questions. Don’t stop. Remember to laugh, Relax. Make mistakes, have adventures, inspire yourself, Love, Create, Live in the present. The only constant in life is you. So make sure to be comfortable with yourself. You only ever get one first. So make them count and hopefully you won’t need another reboot twenty years from now.