I’m sure you’ve heard the term midlife crisis. For me it always conjures up images of guys who suddenly start wearing leather jackets and styling their hair, buying Harleys, and trying to hang out with younger dudes. Funnily enough an image of women doesn’t come to mind.
But here I am, a woman, hitting ‘middle age’. And according to the information that’s out there, I’m having a mid life crisis. Who knew?!! Certainly not me!
First off, I think crisis is a bit of an extreme label for what a lot of us may experience when we reach this stage of our lives.
A little history first …
Let me start at how I came to find out I was having a midlife crisis.
When I decided to create this blog, the reason for it was twofold. Firstly, I find writing very cathartic. When I’m going through things, or need to figure something out, writing stuff down helps. So in the beginning, my blog was just for me. But then in my day to day life, people are always asking for my recipes, and my travel tips. I realised especially with my travel, that not everyone has the time, or the knowledge on how, to research like I do. And as an experienced traveller, I’m always looking for the best way of doing things. So I figured if I put all of that in one place, it would help others, and would be a good resource and place to direct people to. So my little blog was born.
However, as someone who’s about to turn 50, it was important to me that I reached an audience that was like me. Most of the travel bloggers and ‘influencers’ out there are pretty young things. That’s not me! It’s also not likely to be my friends (sorry friends, sad truth). We could be pretty, but we’re no longer the people’s definition of young. So everything I shared had to be realistic and do-able for someone my age.
I already had a name for my blog – My Moments and Memories. It’s been in dormant existence for a little while. But I thought it would be good to give it a tag line – so if people happened across me, they’d instantly have some idea what they’d find.
Midlife seems to only relate to midlife crisis
I googled midlife – searching for ideas on a good tagline. OMG! Google immediately added ‘crisis’ to the search. EVERYTHING was about a midlife crisis. There is nothing positive to be found about being middle aged. I’m sorry, but WTF?!!
How is it, that this stage of life can only be so negatively viewed? Especially in today’s world, where people are living for so much longer. We’re really just entering the party at 50.
I was dumb founded. So I did what any person doing a google search would do – I clicked on one of the links on midlife crisis.
The first one that popped up was “17 Signs You’re Having a Midlife Crisis”.
It started off by saying that some women find themselves facing a challenging time anywhere between their 40’s and 50’s – a crisis of self-identity and self-confidence.
I totally get that and can see how relevant it is.
It can be a period of time when suddenly you do have more time on your hands. In amongst everything else you’ve done, you’ve possibly been busy raising children the last couple of decades, and now they’re grown. This is a huge chunk of time that you now have to yourself. I can see how easy it would be to be challenged by this time.
What should you do? What do you want to do? How do you fill those hours? These are really big questions – because they really make you think. And thinking is possibly a luxury you haven’t had too much time for over these other years. So when you do have to time to think, boy can your mind wander. Is how you spend your time connected to how you see yourself? That’s a topic for you to ponder right now – we’ll come back to that another day.
Aging is inevitable (or at least, the alternative’s not a better option). Do you find it funny that you mind doesn’t age like your body? It is easy to forget how old you are. You may not even notice it day to day when you look in the mirror. When we look at ourselves day to day, we don’t see the tiny changes as they happen. I find it just comes as a shock every now and then, when I see a photo, or I look in a mirror that has a different light, or I’m in the changing rooms ….. ☹
I totally can see how our self-confidence can take a hit. When you realise that young people look at you as an ‘old person’ it’s a difficult adjustment. (I mean – didn’t you think when your parents turned 50 that that was REALLY old?!).
This could all be going down a really depressing route, but I’m going to tell you now, that I am not going to let anyone else’s preconceived ideas about what makes a person old knock my self confidence. I totally believe that what you think, will create how you feel, and then how you project. So I’m thinking young, and I’m thinking I’m going to be the best version of my 50ish self that I can be.
17 signs you’re having a midlife crisis
According to this Woman’s Day article, these are the 17 signs you’re having a midlife crisis;
- You’re gaining or losing weight
- You’re apathetic
- You’re jealous of other people
- You’re experiencing unusual physical pain
- You’re asking yourself deep probing questions
- You’re making rash decisions
- You feel like you’re losing your mind
- Your vision of the future is dismal
- You’re constantly bored
- You have an overwhelming sense of loss
- You become overly concerned about your appearance
- Or you stop caring about appearances completely
- You think of yourself as an ‘old person’
- You rarely (if ever) have interest in sex
- You think your best years are behind you
- You think every bad day means you’re having a midlife crisis
- You can’t sleep through the night
Wowsers – see what I mean?! How many of these have you made a mental tick note against as you’ve gone done that list?
I’ll fess up to 5 – so far! (not telling you which ones though!! 🙄😆)
I wonder – does ticking just one of these mean you’re having a crisis? Or do we need to tick off a certain number to know we’re in crisis mode??
Again – crisis is such a strong take on it.
Midlife – a period of transition
Really, reaching middle age is just another period of transition. When you become a parent, there’s not really a transition period. Yes, you could argue that there’s a 9 month transition, but I would argue that once you’re pregnant, you’re pregnant. You’re in that period and there’s no time for thinking about it, wondering what to do etc, because you’re doing it. And then …. You’re a parent. And there’s definitely not a lot of time to think now, because now you’re really doing it. And for the next 18 or so years, you’re engrossed in BEING a parent.
Once a parent, you’ll always be a parent. But after that first 18 or so years, your responsibilities will diminish. You’ll no longer be inputting that huge amount of time into your children.
Now you have to transition to having time to yourself. You get to go to the bathroom without an audience. You get to eat your meals at a normal speed. There’s actually cash in your wallet. You have time.
And having that time can be a little daunting when you’re not used to it.
You have time to think about how you want the next years of your life to look. Like, real time. Not 5 minutes here or there, but hours. You’ve probably had time to look in the mirror, and actually see some of the changes that have happened over the last 18 years.
Yep – we’re aging – that’s a simple fact, and we can’t change it.
There are definitely some negative impacts of aging – but a lot of them we can do nothing about. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, is that there is absolutely no point in stressing over something you don’t have any control over.
You have a choice
As with anything in life, how we view and think about things, totally determines how we act and feel.
If I’m having a mid life crisis – I am going to make damned sure it’s a good one!
We could spend our time wallowing on what we haven’t done, what we’ve lost, reading and absorbing all the negative things that are written about being middle aged.
OR – we can focus on the positive things about this stage of life, and highlight these in our thoughts. We have a choice. I’m choosing to embrace my midlife ‘crisis’.
There are SO many positive things about this stage of life.
For me these are;
- Time – my boys are grown. They’ve not quite left home yet, but they are independent adults. I look at them and feel great pride – we must have done ok jobs as parents, as they turned out awesome men. Is your job as a mother ever done? I don’t think so, they might be men now, but they’ll always by my boys. BUT, I no longer need to devote hours in every day to them. I now have time to myself. Time to pursue passions, to re-discover myself, to truly live my life.
- Money – I’m hoping this is true for you. At this stage of life, you’ve probably already made your biggest purchases and investments (house and kids). Your mortgage is paid or is minimal, and you have time to think and focus on planning for your retirement. You may also have that extra discretionary spend, so you can spend a little more on the things you want to, versus what you’ve needed to.
- Health. Isn’t this our most undervalued asset? Sadly we never appreciate our health until it’s too late. You may already be experiencing negative signs of aging, but trust me, age is relative! Your 50 year old self is going to be feeling a lot more active and able than your 80 year old self will be. Honour your body, fuel it well, and keep it active.
I totally believe that these three things combined make NOW your prime time to enjoy life. To do the things you’ve always wanted to do. To travel. To create. To life with purpose. To give. To choose!
So – if you feel like me, I would love you to stick around and see how I make the most of my mid-life crisis, in the hope that my musings and activities transition you to create a path with purpose, fulfillment and happiness.
This is OUR time.
PS. Yes that is me and my car! Maybe I am a cliche after all ….