The Modern-Day Mid-Life Crisis
A mid-life crisis used to be described as this point in time when men would go out and buy a shiny red sports car and find a younger and blonder person by their side. Everyone could see these men were trying to tightly clench their own youthful vitality through redefining what made them feel alive. Overnight they seemed to go from stable providers of their families to starting over in virtually everything in their life. People who knew them didn’t understand what was happening and there seemed to be no talking sense back into them. We called it a mid-life crisis and prayed their senses would return soon.
Some may say the mid-life crisis is an awakening point whereas others see it as just plain crazy and life ruining. It can however be agreed it is triggered by our own rare glimpse of our mortality and realization life really is short. That insight spurs sometimes these monumental changes in our lives that seem insane to others. It is truly unfortunate it sometimes takes us so long to have these awakenings though because rather than insanity it can be some of the most transformational growth we ever experience. It is also the exact emergence of what it means to live most naturally.
The idea that we have this event in our life at around age 40 where we finally feel bold enough to say we want something different in our journey is life changing. I think the pandemic however spawned a new form of the mid-life crisis and it has little to do with how old we are or our gender. The awareness that something or a few things are not giving us all that we need for fulfillment and happiness in life can feel restraining and confining suddenly. Things we used to take for granted as how things were supposed to be in life are called into question as we assess if they excite, motivate or even interest us anymore. Where there is a gap, we hear it incessantly loud in our daily living and it disrupts the normal. I believe this loudness is a call of the natural wild where our souls are supposed to be living.
We all have these moments in our life where we question if something is the right decision, but the mid-life crisis level of questioning is about if where we are headed is really where we want to go. We are taught that to have a good life we need to get a good education, find a good job, get married, buy a house, have children and retire to enjoy your grandkids. None of these things are bad or lead to unhappiness per se but what if our path truly is for something bigger or simply different than any or some of that? Filling that void with a new red sports car when we turn 40 is our attempt to reconcile that feeling. It usually is not the answer long term and instead it stifles this unsettling and most of us get back to our normal reality. However, what would happen if we didn’t hold back and instead let it be the launch of true change in our lives? Would we in fact create our life purpose and dreams or would we return to the safety of how life is supposed to be lived?
I believe the mid-life crisis is a call from our own soul that our life needs assessment and change. It doesn’t mean what we have done so far is bad or wrong but that perhaps there is still more for us to do, achieve, build, dream and live. There are dreams we have not pursued and need to explore. This natural stirring is a caution flag that we may be settling because we’re afraid of the risk and unknown of what it could mean. Yet a mid-life crisis is a noise in our hearts that cannot be ignored any longer.
Being shut down by our own conviction we are just dreaming or what we desire is impossible makes it seem intimidating to consider pursuing our dreams at any age. It is why men were once thought temporarily insane when their mid-life crisis struck, and they pushed changing their lives. I believe the pandemic offered us all the gift to do that now, right where we are today. Many of the bonds that held us back were broken through chaotic reactions to the virus that isolated and sheltered us. That created the unique opportunity for us all to look at our lives and ask what are we really doing with them?
That job we really don’t like but pays well, the trips we always wanted to take but haven’t yet, the dreams we wanted to pursue but never had the time. It became even more tangible in our awareness for what we were giving up and missing to pursue the ideal life. It was an awakening that brought into question everything we ever were told about what the great life contains or looks like. It forced many of us to assess our lives and decide we wanted and deserved better in what it means to live a good life, have a good job and be happy.
What this meant in my own life was the return to college for another degree. This time in an area of deep interest to me. Back then, when I first went to college in my early 20s, it was about just getting a good job in the corporate space because that’s where the money was at. However, this time it is about the bravery to say what I want and what I need in my life for work. My own business? A new career? Peace of mind? Perhaps my shiny red sports car is a new degree and a business plan. I don’t know if I would have even considered any of this had it not been for the abuse, I encountered in my job during the pandemic that had me to the point of breaking inside and out. That straw finally broke the camel’s back you could say, and I had enough.
Mid-life crisis looks like a crumbling of life around us like old theater backgrounds. We can no longer bear touching up and repainting something as it is lackluster. It is necessary to embark on a reconstruction and emergence with newness and changes from the ground up in some cases. We realize what’s real because the light is shining over the wreckage of the cardboard we had in place, and we can see where we were living in a charade. There is this oh shit level of realizing we are letting time pass numbly by and there is so much to feel, go and experience in this world. That awareness doesn’t have to be and really shouldn’t be tied to an age. Though maybe we appreciate it more deeply in our 40s and 50s?
With all that has gone on in the world the last couple years, it seems probable more will undergo this transformation into who and what we have always dreamed. Creating the life, we’ve always wanted isn’t based on reaching a milestone age but rather is a calculated series of steps taken to release ourselves from the bonds of ordinary living. The breakpoint between a settled life and one richly filled with happiness and fulfillment is where natural living finds us. We release the old and find guidance in creating the momentum to take the first step of change.
If that is a red sports car for you then drive it down a wooded lined road and seek your dreams! It is no longer necessary and in fact is ill advised to wait until you’re in your 40s to live naturally. Go do it now!
Written by Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary
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