Have you got your tickets for Glastonbury this year? Did you know that the average age of a Glastonbury attendee is 39 years and 10 months? And that going is listed as one of the signs that you are having a mid-life crisis!
Other key signs of having entered mid-life are, worrying that someone younger will steal your job or clients, thinking about quitting your job and buying a B&B!
Apparently, the average age for a female midlife crisis, (once thought to be the preserve of men!) is 44 and the average age of divorce is 42! People are living longer and they want more from life. The decade from the 40s to 50s has become a time of re-assessment for many of us.
But what is a mid-life crisis and how can we view it an opportunity to create a better life rather than a threat?
A mid-life crisis is often associated with feelings of anxiety and disappointment and can also bring with it sleep problems and a loss of confidence. For many of us, it is compounded by the changing view we have of ourselves, as we struggle to balance care for our children, who may now be entering those difficult teenage years, with possible new concerns about supporting ageing relatives.
Many women feel that they have forgotten the ‘real them’ and lost touch with what makes them happy. It is a time to re-evaluate who we are and what we want from life. For some, it comes down to wanting to wind back the clock to a time when we were young and had fewer responsibilities!
Of course, the disposable income that comes from being mid-career helps with the festival ticket and expensive travel habit!
Mid-life is a time for ‘uh oh’ moments when we realise that this is it and that while we have been busy looking after others, the time has been passing quickly.
For women, it can be the start of noticing changes in our bodies and not feeling as attractive as we used to. With friends, I have discussed how we have suddenly started to feel invisible, and this can be a double-edged sword if it happens at the same time as our daughters start to get the admiring looks!
This changing view of our own attractiveness and mortality can be depressing.
Youth is often seen as a period of endless possibility, whilst maturity can inspire regret and as we consider what has passed us by. This can lead to frustration, a change in attitude and resentment. It can strike at the core of who we are and trigger our stress responses of flight or fight!
My own personal mid-life crisis was not particularly dramatic. No high profane affair or expensive surgery for me. It happened in my early forties and was triggered by my youngest starting senior school. I found myself feeling isolated; no longer having the comfort of the daily school playground contact and routine, that I had moaned about for years!
Realising that my own business did not satisfy me and that I did not have the skills or passion to develop it further, I went in the opposite direction. I decided I wanted the big corporate role, with the regular salary and executive benefits!
One last go at the corporate thing before it is too late!
If you had told me I was having a mid-life crisis, I would have laughed and told you to get a grip. A midlife crisis seems so out there! So flamboyant! so ridiculous!
I simply had an urge to get my career going again, to belong to something bigger and feel like I was making a contribution.
I overlooked the fact that I had recently indulged in a racy blue soft top car.
Eight years on from returning to the corporate world, I’m back to running my own business but my agenda has changed. I am now psychologically in a different place again. Do I regret my choices? Absolutely not!
I did what I wanted to do. I learnt a great deal and made some fabulous friends.
Of course, not everyone experiences a mid-life crisis. Some people sale through without a backwards glance.
However, I find that some of my clients are being triggered into coaching by ‘Big Birthdays’. Generally those that end in a zero! This can lead to the desire to reconnect with themselves, reassess relationships, make the world a better place, create a simpler life or find their true purpose.
What should you do if this sounds familiar?
Feel like you might be entering a mid-life crisis? Here is what you can do to help navigate the change.
- View your life as an expedition, you have come to a place where there are a number of options for you to take and each will lead you somewhere new.
- Some of these new paths are, perhaps, gentle strolls along similar territory.
- Whilst others may mean doubling back to places you’ve been before or changing direction completely.
- So stop now and pull out a map or use your GPS to plot where you want to go.
- Whilst you are pausing, take the time to smell the roses! Be present in your life, appreciate all the good things you have. Think about how lucky you are to be alive at this moment in time.
- If you are lost and don’t know which route to take, then ask for help. Don’t keep going without any sense of direction.
Personally, I don’t like the association of the word ‘crisis’. So let’s put a positive spin on it and look at it as just the next step.
I encourage you to consider this time as a period of transition. A time to reflect on the past and plan for a long, healthy and fulfilling next stage of life.
Suzanne Mountain is on a mission to help people cope with change in their lives! Having been part of a forces family, moving around the world and then towards the end of her corporate career working into a professional role as an organisational development and change specialist, she has a fascination with all things change, be it personal or business related.
Suzanne coaches and supports her clients to embrace uncertainty, decide what they want from their life, create bespoke action plans and have the skills, knowledge and confidence to go for it! This is achieved through online programmes as well as working together on a one to one basis via face to face or via Skype.