Maybe your midlife crisis fears are right.
Maybe the best years of your life are over, and you feel you have nothing left to look forward to.
That nothing exciting is in store for you.
But maybe you’re wrong.
In fact, midlife is named as such because you are only halfway through, in the middle of becoming what you are meant to be. A midlife crisis can be an amazing opportunity to take stock in how you have lived your first half, so you can recharge and prepare for the best half.
You’re probably thinking, “But I’m never going to look as good as I did when I was in my twenties. My health is only going to decline. I don’t bounce back like I used to. I’m too old to start again.”
While these thoughts can lead to depression, a change in perspective and how you manage your transition from youthful bliss to mature enlightenment can transform your future so that it holds exciting new adventures that you never thought possible. You might be older, but you are also wiser, more patient, and better equipped to make the most of difficult challenges.
Here are 7 positive ways to view the transition into the second half of your life.
A Midlife Crisis As an Opportunity to Start Again
Guess what. Making a mess of your life aptly describes what happens during midlife and could be the basis of the term midlife crisis. Women around the world suddenly make decisions that send their lives in new, often not so desirable, directions.
I recently heard an amazing statement. “You have to un-create your life in order to recreate a new one.” Unbeknownst to me, that is what I was doing when I began making a mess my life. The decisions I made during my midlife crisis ruined my marriage, my career, and many of my personal relationships. And I am thankful it did. Out of that damage, I learned to love myself enough to end co-dependent relationships. I have also examined my career choices, shifting from a career that was 25% rewarding to one that is 90% rewarding. What once were major sources of frustration, are now new and more fulfilling directions.
If you have begun the process of tearing everything down, try looking at it as a restart that will let you make room for new and better opportunities.
You Take Actions that Improve Your Mental Health
Depression, loneliness, and boredom are common feelings during a midlife crisis. Your hormones will shift during menopause. If you had children, you may start feeling empty as they no longer take up much of your time. In addition, your relationship with your partner will require some adjustments. The one thing you had most in common, your children, is no longer there to bind you together. If your career was your driving force, you may find disappointment in having not reached your goals.
For some women, this may be too overwhelming to deal with on their own, prompting them to seek therapy or other forms of self-improvement to help them cope with their emotions. There, they often learn about self-compassion, increase their confidence and self-esteem, and get the tools to deal with difficult and stressful situations. Other women take up activities that improve their spirituality such as meditation and yoga.
These activities can teach you to be more grateful, mindful, and self-compassionate. In the end, you become more tolerant of others, helping you build stronger relationships and gain a more positive outlook on your own life.
You Notice Weaknesses in Your Physical Health
As you approach middle age, you begin to see the effects aging has on the body and your ability to bounce back. It may be lowered flexibility, a medical diagnosis, or those extra pounds around the middle that have you concerned.
These are natural changes in your body, often enhanced by poor lifestyle choices. Maybe you neglected to eat healthily or exercise regularly. You may have drunk a little too much or spent too many years smoking. In fact, in our youth, we tend to think very little about how these choices are going to affect us in the future. After all, we felt great in our twenties and forty seemed so far away. Why not have fun while you are young?
Unfortunately, if you are reading this, forty is probably now, and your body may be telling you it’s time to pay attention. Listen to it. Take this opportunity to schedule a physical and work with a coach or nutritionist. With a little work, you can begin reversing some of the damage that has already occurred and make the most of your next forty years.
You Start Paying Attention to Your Appearance
While some women become overwhelmed with depression when they realize they are getting older, many others approach their appearance in a completely different way. They become hyper-aware of their looks and begin developing better self-care habits.
For example, when I was younger, I never considered the effects the sun had on my skin. I had attempted to moisturize, but it never became a habit that included a daily wash, tone, and moisturize. However, after seeing those first wrinkles appear around my eyes, I began developing a skincare routine that stuck. I also became concerned about skin cancer when I reached midlife. This resulted in a diligent sunblock routine to protect my skin from harmful UV rays. In addition, while I often neglected wearing any makeup before, I now wear a light layer regularly. For me, these changes also improved my confidence and self-esteem.
Instead of dwelling on the signs of aging, after all, there is no such thing as a fountain of youth, use this time to improve what was always there by becoming more mindful of your skincare routine.
Your Values Shift
With so many changes going on in your life, it’s nearly impossible to avoid a shift in some of your values. They may shift in family values because your children have become more independent. Where once you focused on making sure their homework was completed, and they were fed properly, you now have time to focus on your career. On the other hand, you may discover that you want to build a stronger relationship with a partner whether you currently have one or not.
Your views on spirituality, life and death, body image and so much more may change so drastically that you hardly recognize yourself. That could be a good thing as it is a sign that you are transitioning into the second half of your life as apposed to clinging hopelessly to a life that no longer exists.
Embrace these shifts. Understand that you don’t have to hold on to old values that no longer serve you. A belief that was once satisfying can suddenly become unfulfilling as you discover you want to have more personal purpose.
You Become More Authentic
One thing a midlife crisis does better than anything else is it makes you begin to ask the important questions. What is my purpose? Did I do everything I wanted to do? Is this all there is? Most women I have talked to in this phase have some variation of these same questions. They may be focused around career, relationships, family, or spirituality, but they are all asking the same type of question. What next?
In midlife, you begin to care less about what other people think you should be doing. Instead, you think more about what you want to do. For example, if you are a parent, you no longer spend most of your time trying to be the nurturing mom. Furthermore, if you are like me, you’ll discover that your own parents’ opinions matter less (even if they continue to be annoying). Instead, you will make decisions that matter to you.
This is finally your life to do with as you wish, so you can become the person you were meant to be. Get in touch with what that is and start living authentically you.
You Begin to Feel a Push that Increases Momentum
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the important questions. Two questions I didn’t mention was Where did the time go? And how much time do I have left? These two questions can create a great deal of anxiety as we discover that time is running out.
That’s what happened to me as I began thinking of the things I never did. For example, I married my high school sweetheart, so I never really dated. As a result, I became fixated on the fact that I would never feel those butterflies in your stomach first kiss feelings again. I had never been invited to a dorm party or taken a solo road trip. More importantly, I had never written a book. Suddenly, I felt as if I had to do everything, and I had to do it now.
Use this momentum to get started on the things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance before. Stop saying I want to start a business, I want to write a book, I want to find love, and start looking into the things you need to do to begin the process. Then take action.
Let’s face it. Your midlife crisis is not going to be puppies and kittens. You will feel depressed, become frustrated, and make bad decisions. Unfortunately, many women dwell on the things that are going wrong during this phase of their lives when they could be turning it into an amazing opportunity for growth.
Don’t let this be you.
Instead, imagine yourself a year from now living in a state of peace you have never known before. You are not only comfortable with your path, but you are excited to see where the next turn leads. You feel confident about both your physical and mental health. What’s more, the clothes you wear on the outside match the person you are on the inside.
You feel authentic because you are authentic.
This can be you if you face midlife head-on with a positive perspective.
One Last Thing Before You Go
My goal is to help women at the onset of midlife to work through this transition like a REBEL. To do that, I’m trying to reach as many women as possible. You can join in this effort with a single click on one (or all) of the buttons below.
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