Managing a Mid-Life Crisis

Ah… the mid-life crisis – often a common excuse for anything from buying an expensive sports car to some form of plastic surgery in a last-ditch effort to hold on to or regain lost youth.

Elliot Jacques, a Canadian psychoanalyst, coined the term “midlife crisis” in 1965. At that time, he was not referring to what happens to the man who wakes up one day, leaves his job, his wife and his kids and runs off to Tahiti with his mistress. He was talking about the fact that many people find themselves wondering, “Is this all there is to life?”

Today, the idea of a mid-life crisis has evolved into something more – especially for women. While men battle such things as hair loss, the threat of a younger executive taking over their job, weight gain, and sexual problems, women’s mid-life crises are often more emotional than physical, even though the hormonal changes that accompany mid-life, and menopause, are sudden and drastic.

So how do you survive a mid-life crisis? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay Calm – do not, repeat, do not let fear and negativity overwhelm you. Just as it is better to see the glass as half-full, it is better to see the best years of your life ahead of you, not behind you. A mid-life crisis is as temporary as adolescence, more fleeting, and if you really think about it, a whole lot less painful!
  • Don’t Run Away – or turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate or have an extra-marital affair. These are stopgap measures that may bring temporary relief, but result in permanent problems. Make changes that enhance your life, as long as you don’t compromise your core values.
  • Keep the Faith – When all else fails, believe that you will come out of this experience a better person, with a renewed spirit and zest for life. Happens all the time. Just keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, and realize that no, it’s not an oncoming train!

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