I began to feel the symptoms of a midlife crisis about 2 years ago at the age of 48. My children were entering their late teens and didn’t need or want me to micro manage their lives anymore. My body was going through changes, mainly slowing down. And though I was usually an optimistic person, I couldn’t shake the over whelming feeling of “is that all there is?”.
At the time, I was working for a large, international, retail company in management. I enjoyed my job and I was paid well but I no longer felt challenged and I wanted, needed a change. The down swing in the economy made it a very bad time for me to secure a promotion. The company was eliminating jobs left and right. They knew my skills and wanted to keep me but at that moment, they could not offer me anything.
I was angry. I was feeling unappreciated. I was tired of working my ass off while others took the credit. And just like that, I put in my two weeks’ notice.
My husband was shocked to say the least, but supportive. Things would be different. We would both have to make drastic lifestyle changes so I could go “find myself”.
Looking back, I wish I had made a plan but I didn’t. That was so not me. I don’t jump with both feet till I know exactly where I’m going to land. I was a woman having a mid life crisis.
If you find yourself in a slump, unhappy and re-evaluating your life now that you have reached middle age, here are a few suggestions of what not to do.
Midlife Crisis Mistakes
1. Never make life altering changes when you are in crisis
I know you want to make a change right now but when you are in the midst of a midlife crisis, you are not thinking clearly. At middle age, major decisions can have lasting consequences. Leaving a job, changing your marital status or making large purchases may seem like the answer at the time. Keep in mind that you don’t have the same bounce back you did when you were 20. You may not find another job. You may realize that you want to go back to your ex but they have moved on. You may have to work till you’re 70 to pay for that new house. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do those things if you are unhappy. Just don’t do them suddenly. Think, a lot.
2. Do not make lots of changes all at once
Have you ever listened to some people’s new years resolutions and thought “Good luck with all that”? “I’m going to quit smoking, work out everyday and completely change my eating habits”. You know that they are doomed from the get go because they want to tackle too much. They would be much more successful and happier if they took one step at a time. Point taken?
3. Do not jump in without doing your research
Your dream may be to become a professional photographer or live in a foreign country. That’s great and maybe achievable but how about you buy a camera first and take a few classes. Or maybe you should visit that country a few times before moving your whole life. All the information you need is at your fingertips on the internet. Use it!
4. Do not ignore feedback
Always discuss the changes you want to make with someone who you knows you well and will give you honest feedback. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in wanting change that we grasp on to any dream. Your friend might remind you that you bought a camera once and got bored with it fast or maybe they will remind you that you get homesick when you go away. It is better to burst the bubble of a false dream so that you can go find your true calling.
5. Don’t let anyone stop you
If you know what you want/need to change, really thought about it, done the research and made a plan, don’t let nay-sayers stop you from moving forward. You’re middle-aged, for Pete’s sake. You’re running out of time! 😉
Have you considered a midlife mentor?