Are You Having a Midlife Crisis? - Part 3
Posted under: Mind, Body, Spirit, Career, Lifestyle, Relationships
In parts 1 and 2 of this series of articles on midlife transitions, we discussed what a midlife crisis was, who has them and symptoms of such transitions.
In this piece we suggest ways you might approach this period of life. Our view at 4060men.com is that single and midlife are great places to be – it’s our tagline. The question is how we get to that place for ourselves? Consider a couple of the thoughts below as you ponder this matter.
- Allow yourself to come unraveled. Huh? Yeah. Most of us have lived our lives being the good employee, the good colleague, church or committee member, father, and boss – always striving to be the model citizen in a host of ways. You might consider not being so responsible for a change. Call it chilling out, checking out on some points, or letting down our guard for a moment. Basically, you say “Screw it! I’m tired of being ‘the man’ on all fronts all the time. I’m just going to be me here for a moment or two” (maybe you’ll even get a glimpse at who that is).
- Allow yourself the space to just wander. There is a cute and I think helpful saying that goes something like this ‘Not all who wander are lost’. Letting go of compulsive goal-oriented behavior can be quite liberating, especially if we have played the dutiful soldier much of our lives. I find I have a desire to hang around a used book store for a couple of hours rummaging through old books, looking for nothing in particular.
- Just say ‘No’. We often feel obligated to agree to invitations for help, go out for the evening with a friend or engage in some social event. It’s as if we think we need to be cooperative when people ask us to do something for or with them. Part of sorting through who we are is gaining the ability to take control of our lives. While it may be awkward at first, especially when it is not your previous habit to turn down invitations, but it can be quite liberating as well. It’s a season to test the motives behind our past behaviors and decide what paths you will take going forward. Habits are hard to break in the first place, but this is a good season to check them out. Might be time to chuck a few of them.
- Recognize your ‘addictions.’ We’re not talking here in terms of clinical addiction but more of those actions that reflect ‘immersive’ behavior. You know, the kind where you become much more intense in an activity than previously. This can involve alcohol, drugs, porn, or gambling, but also sports, work, even socializing with, or isolating from, others. For example, my casual drinking of before turns into daily drinking and regular intoxication. It’s probably a sign that not all is well in the inner man, especially if it persists or gets worse over an extended period of time.
- Building the new life. This simply acknowledges that as we move through this phase of life, we will be relooking at old things, testing new ones, ridding ourselves of some, while integrating others into our lives. I often hear friends say that ‘if your ex could see you now, she wouldn’t recognize you!’ I hope that is true, and that this difference is for the better.
Endless wandering is not the goal. It is simply giving ourselves permission to do so. And being able to allow things to touch us anew, things perhaps lost that should have never been. It’s climbing off the merry-go-round that has become our lives and examining the many facets that have come to define it. Quoting Socrates from Part 1 on this topic, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living.’ But this reflection is not the end we seek, it is a means.
You will notice in this article, that we have used the space to invite the laying down of things as opposed to emphasizing the picking up of things. It seems we all too easily will pick up our previous devices that gave order to our lives. We don’t seem to need as much help at that. It is the laying aside that is most difficult as it beckons us to risk being different men. Will you risk it?
Read Part 1 | Read Part 2