Midlife starts in your body.
It’s really subtle, sometimes so subtle that you don’t notice it for a while. It could be that you now need glasses, don’t sleep as well, have hormones that are “unbalanced”, or have lost that “lovin’ feeling”. Your skin may be changing, your hair falling out, or graying, and you’re most likely noticing some extra weight creeping up around your middle.
I remember when I turned 4o I just felt different. It was just a low intensity, but nagging feeling. I couldn’t explain it in words. One day I realized that I finally understood what “youth is wasted on the young” meant. I decided that that meant I was no longer young. But even with this realization, like most of us, I was in denial. I still took my body for granted. I still lived the same way I always had: worked hard, played hard, slept little, fueled by stress and adrenaline.
I now call this state “midlife denial“. It’s about refusing to accept that 1) your body is changing and 2) you can no longer afford to ignore your body. Midlife denial is about not noticing that your body changes have an impact on the rest of your life: your work, your family, your relationships, even your future. Midlife denial if left unchecked can lead to “midlife crisis“.
My definition of midlife crisis is any disruption in the peaceful continuity of your life. A midlife crisis can look like a heart attack, cancer, a layoff, a divorce, an empty nest, a serious financial reversal, a problem with an aging parent, adult child or teenager, or the beginning of a chronic illness, to name only a few. Midlife crisis usually causes you to rethink at least one aspect of your life, which is a good thing, because midlife is all about re-evaluation. Ideally though, the rethinking wouldn’t need to be the result of a crisis.
Is is possible to have “Midlife Without Crisis”?
Perhaps not in every case, but getting past midlife denial would certainly be helpful in preventing some midlife crises especially the health-related ones. I’d like to see more of us getting beyond midlife denial before a midlife crisis hits. Watch this space for thoughts and suggestions on preventing midlife crisis through taking incredibly good care of yourself.