I recently read an article that was advertised using the following headline, “Be the Master of Your Midlife Crisis.” Hmmmmm…it sounds like this author is going to put a positive spin on what is perceived to be negative; so I had to click the link if for no other reason than curiosity on what the spin would be.
The article, actually titled, “Make a Midlife Crisis Work for You”, was written by Jennifer Warner and was blissfully short. Indeed, it was so short that I am going to liberally include sections of it in this blog. Here is how Warner led into Linda Sapadin’s advice (Sapadin is a book author who has written about midlife crisis concerns): “Rather than letting fear and anxiety restrict your life choices and leave you in a rut, experts say you can look at a midlife crisis as an opportunity for personal growth.”
A disclaimer before I go on, I am already beyond my “mid-life crisis”. All in all it wasn’t a crisis at all really – merely a label I was able to put on all the mischief I got into and the changes I made in my life. But still, I wanted to see if my “mid-life crisis” was managed well according to the experts. I did experience personal growth and I did not let fear and anxiety restrict my life choices so I was thinking going in that my “mid-life crisis” might be validated by this article.
According to Warner, Sapadin recommends three things:
Do one gutsy thing. Do something despite feeling uncomfortable or fearful about it. "That’s one way to move outside of your comfort zone, rather than be depressed, anxious, or dissatisfied, which is the essence of a midlife crisis," says Sapadin.
Use children as role models. Most people are ashamed to admit they’re jealous of their kids. But you could look to them as role models during this time. If they’re not afraid to take a risk or do something, you may be able to learn from them and become more socially and physically active.
Delight in difficulty. Reframe how you think about difficulty. Rather than thinking of something difficult as exhausting or that you can’t do it, think of it as an opportunity to pick up skills you never thought you’d have, such as taking up a new sport or hobby. You can do it as an individual, couple, or as a family.
So, basically it is all about trying new things and embracing change. Snap! I have this covered. During my “mid-life crisis” I did all kinds of new things that were absolutely fabulous (indeed, “fabulous”, which is now my favorite word first came into use during my “midlife crisis”). My first official act that I attribute to my mid-life crisis was getting a new look. I went with my daughter to her stylist (Autum) and got a new cut and highlights. I never had highlights prior to my early forties and I had sported the same hairdo for a decade or two prior to that (and yes I have photographic evidence of this). I wanted to look sassy and my new hair delivered on that front.
I also made some changes in my wardrobe. I started buying clothes that made me feel younger, fresher and more hip (clothes more like the ones my daughter was wearing- the older one, not the younger one). I got rid of the mom jeans (notably that was part of fashion intervention by my friends) and I upped my cute shoe game exponentially. Also during this metamorphosis I lost some weight that I had been carrying around since my last pregnancy. New clothes, less weight, fab shoes – seriously…I was ready to take over the world – or at least one small city in North Dakota.
Next, I bought my “mid-life crisis” car, my little Hyundai Tiburon. Black exterior and interior, V6 engine, sunroof, rear spoiler and a personalized plate – a sweet ride indeed. I knew I had hit the mark with my car selection when every high school boy I encountered admired my car with envy.
I completely changed my life direction and went back to school to get my Ph.D. I think that was my most daring move I made and a bit insane, but I am chalking it up to the fact that I was in “crisis”. That decision completely shifted my life and changed it forever. It has led me down one of the most fulfilling paths I have ever traveled.
And finally I purchased my first home as “a single woman” (they actually say that on the deed – it is both a little disturbing and wildly exhilarating). It was at this time that I adopted my mantra, “Sometimes you have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.” I also did 99% of the things in my new home by myself – solo girl with no need for a man. I was determined to embody Helen Reddy’s lyrics, “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman…”; and I did. That resulted in a beautiful realization about myself and my level of capability and made me even more fierce than I had been before.
Having shared all of the above, you can now appreciate why I totally enjoyed my “mid-life crisis”. I did gutsy things, I used my children as role models and I delighted in difficulty and it was a helluva’ lot of fun. I became a new, improved me. I endorse maximizing one’s “mid-life crisis” for all it is worth.
So, by all means be the master of your “mid-life crisis”. Enjoy every damn minute of it! And if you struggle with ideas on how to become the new, improved you give me a call – I am great at inciting mischief in other mid-lifers.
Day forty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da