Midlife Crisis or Midlife Awakening?


So one of our readers, Jessica, brought up the topic of a midlife crisis in her comment on the “Wear the Eye Patch” post, and I want to hear more from everyone on what you think about it. Jessica said that maybe being who you really are (and wearing your symbolic eye patch) is really what a midlife crisis is all about, “…when we finally decide that maturity is lame, life is short, and we buy the flashy red convertible and let what’s left of our hair blow in the wind and don’t bother to cover our crows feet with sunglasses. Maybe a midlife crisis is a good thing and we should all start now.”

But I’m wondering, do you think that if someone is going to have a “midlife crisis” that it has to be a “crisis”?  Or if we played our cards right, could it just be a midlife awakening? Like I mentioned in my reply to Jessica’s comment, I wonder if the crisis part comes when you become so stuck in living out of alignment with your true self (in your 30s or 40s?) that when you finally say (in your 40s or 50s?), “I’ve had it!” the proverbial pendulum swings so far to the other side that it does become a crisis.

I would call it a crisis when a mom decides to leave her family because she’s just so dang tired of it all, and I know that this is a sad truth for some families.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be like Sally O’Malley (did you ever see that Molly Shannon skit on Saturday Night Live?) when I’m 50. She totally owns it.  You gotta watch this.

I was talking with my aunt today (an eternal optimist, by the way), and she said that she loved turning 40, and that she’s excited to be turning 50 next year. She said that when she turned 40, she felt like she had finally arrived, and that she knew that she didn’t care about whatever anyone else thought anymore. I love that she just embraced 40 instead of fighting it. For me, the mere thought of turning 40 makes my insides hurt a little and makes my stomach flutter in a something-wicked-this-way-comes kind of way.

So can this process of awakening to our soul’s purpose (or destiny, or I’ve heard it called our “essence” — basically just who we really are deep down inside underneath all of our masks) actually help us avoid a midlife crisis? Can we be Sally-O’Malley-confident and just be who we are without having to include the word “crisis” in our mid-life story?

What do you think?

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3 Responses to Midlife Crisis or Midlife Awakening?

  1. Jessica Payne says:

    First of all, love the clip!!! Too funny and I think I want to make “high kicks” my mantra. Okay, now for the crisis. I had to think of what the crisis process was all about before I could add any insight to this, and I think what it boils down to is feeling our mortality. Over the last few years I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that I am getting older. I’ve lost grandparents, my dad has suffered a heart attack, I’ve lost friends or seen obituaries of people that I knew that are my age. It’s scary, not only because I’m not yet ready to “check out” but also because I feel like I’ve accomplished so little of what I’ve set out to do. I feel like every day that I’m getting older, doors are shutting on what my life can become. And I think the crisis develops in coming to grips with that. I will never be a famous actress, or an Olympic Athlete, a Professor, or an Astronaut (all hopes and dreams I had somewhere between ages 7 and 16). Chances are I’ve already hit my peak of pretty, and the hot model bod – well not sure if that ever really happened :-). And in every way possible, I think our psyche’s fight aging. I mean, when you think of what you look like, do you imagine yourself the way you look now? Not me. Whenever I conjure up an image of myself it’s a glorified image of what I looked like around the age of 20. So, just a mere look in a mirror can be a jolt.

    I don’t think the process of a midlife crisis is avoidable. But I agree with you in that it doesn’t have to be a “crisis” though – all this coming to grips. I think it can all be done quite peacefully with little harm to yourself and those around you. And even though I’m happy with my charmed life, my beautiful family, my fantastic hubby who is the best partner in life I could ask for – I’ll probably still apply a strict regimine of eye and face creams nightly, and I might even buy a shake weight to get rid of my arm flab. And I’m looking forward to the “coming to grips” because I think that’s just part of the lifelong process of finding your “essence.” And I agree that when you are most true to your “inner self” – that’s when you’re able to get the most joy out of life. Having the courage to live in close alignment to who you really are.

  2. KCA says:

    I think the secret to not caring about your age is to find friends that are way older. 🙂 Then when you turn 40, it’ll be like “Sally’s turned 40 a hundred years ago. No big deal. “

  3. So interesting that you posted this. Just two days ago at church i was sitting by a woman who kept saying she was so old. I said you’re not that old (she’s 52), and she said that she was just thinking about how there arent that many years left and she looked around and thought “is this IT? Is there nothing more?” Knowing a little about her home life she strives to please everyone else, and has a not very well working relationship with her husband, and doesnt feel like she has much purpose. She even mentioned that she must be having a midlife crisis. As she said that though I felt a tinge inside me. My life is far from perfect, but man I am so greatful for everyday! I look around and think “I get to live this?? AWESOME!” I love everyday, even if it is bringing me closer to another age. I loved turning 30, and I am just greatful to be LIVING! REALLY truly LIVING!

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