The one thing that stays constant in this world is change. Everything changes, every day, including, well – you. In your twenties and thirties, you took the world by storm. It was, after all, your oyster to do whatever you wanted, be all you can be. In your forties, you may have begun to doubt your life’s choices. In your fifties, you may be feeling tired, having trouble sleeping and second guessing your belief system. By the time you reach midlife, you have experienced one or more life altering events. These events could have left you still working through the struggle to find normal again. Is it a midlife crisis? Life can seem like a straight uphill battle that has left you wondering, “why even try at my age?”.
It’s true, as you get older and older, you rake up more and more life trauma and changes to deal with. On top of changing health issues, children growing up and leaving home, you have more and more responsibility to deal with. You face competition in the workforce with younger workers. Lifestyle changes with your significant other bring on stress. Always looming on the horizon is the fear of not being financially ready for retirement. It’s a lot to deal with. How are you supposed to enjoy this period of your life with all this weight on your shoulders? You put on your happy face in the morning and you wear it faithfully all through the day. After all, at your age, you are expected to have life figured out. If people only knew how you felt inside, maybe they would understand you better.
is it a midlife crisis?
Psychologist Elliot Jaques defines midlife crisis as “referring to a time when adults reckon with their mortality and their sense of dwindling number of remaining years of productive life”. A 2016 study reported that approximately 26% of Americans experience some type of midlife crisis. If you are age 40 to 65, you may be experiencing a type of midlife crisis. It starts with nagging doubts about where you are in life. You feel guilty not having achieved enough with your life, wondering if you have squandered your chances at a meaningful purpose. Have you made some abrupt decisions about your life lately? Are you experiencing some depression or anxiety about where your life is or is not going? What you are experiencing may be a midlife crisis.
“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”” – JAMES 4:14-15
“Be anxious in nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – PHILIPPIANS 4:6
The main priority in life is never supposed to be about what you have made of yourselves in the eyes of others. Thinking that you should have a prestigious career and a beautiful home, that is nearly paid off by now, is not the measurement of a good life. Nor is positioning yourself as a person of wisdom in the community or giving a significant amount of your time and money to humanitarian causes. The main priority in life is loving God and praying faithfully (God states this as “ceaseless prayer”). Then you get quiet to listen to Him through careful insight. If you live your life, from this very point forward in this way, you will have no need to worry about the rest of your life. Will you still worry from time to time? Probably. We are human and we do slip.
Worrying can seem like a natural thing in life but worrying doesn’t do anyone any good. When you are stuck in life and you do not know how to go forward, you tend to fill that temporary void with worry, depression and anxiety, until such time as you can figure out “how” to move forward. God tells us to have a strong faith knowing that He will give us all we need while we are here on this earth. Of course, that does not mean that you squander what He has given you. It doesn’t mean that you don’t mindfully invest what you have in obedience to Him; talents, money, skills, and knowledge. Are you going to mess up sometimes? Yes, yes you are. Your job is to keep keeping on in love, not worry or be anxious and keep your faith. Focus on others and be kind to yourself.
As you journey through this life here on earth, there are two standards you tend to live by; (1) the earthly standard living how others think you should live and (2) God’s standard so as to experience as much peace and joy through loving Him and prepare for the ever after. The challenge is that most of the time these two standards clash, in all kinds of ways, as you walk through life here on earth. When you begin to worry or get anxious about where you are in life at “this” age, take a deep breath and know that He has everything in your life under control. Speak with someone who can help. Maybe coaching can help you. Try some of these suggestions. Know that what you are going through is temporary. Life is just splendid after this reflecting period of your life.
“People may call what happens at midlife “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live … to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.” – BRENE BROWN
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Until next time, Find Your Direction in Your Quiet.