We must have all heard, or used the term mid-life crisis. Often this is said of someone in mid-life, who suddenly throws caution to the wind and starts to do something entirely out of character. For instance an exchange of the comfortable family car for a low slung back- defying little sports number. Or someone who has led a quiet and predictable life, suddenly embarking on an all-consuming romance with someone many years their junior or senior. Perhaps in these instances, those concerned may think that life is passing them by.
The dictionary definition of the word crisis is: “A crucial or decisive moment, a turning point. Dr Oliver Robinson and his team of the University of Greenwich have done research into so called mid-life crises. Interestingly, not all of his subjects were of that age. The team interviewed more than 900 people aged 20 and over. A crisis was defined by them as being emotionally unstable, making major changes and feeling overwhelmed for at least a year. The team found that 24 per cent of those aged 40 – 59 were definitely experiencing some kind of crisis. However 22 per cent of the group aged 20 – 39 said they were in crisis. In the age group of over 60s, only 14 per cent were in a state of crisis.
Now for the good news
Emotional upheaval makes us more curious about the world. Change can be very good for us. By trying new things, we can build confidence and learn how to cope with problems. The actress Lisa Riley has recently spoken of her own life changing experience. Whilst visiting her father in hospital, Lisa had a light-bulb moment. Along with her father, the ward was full of patients with type 2 diabetes. In a flash, Lisa realized that this condition could easily happen to her in later life if she didn’t lose some weight. In less than a year, Lisa has through sensible eating, managed to lose an amazing 8 stone in weight. She is now so pleased to have experienced her own crises and to have used it in such a positive way.
We may at some point have our own life defining moment. For instance we may be in a completely unfulfilling career and wonder ‘What on earth am I doing here?’ Instead of panicking – it might be good to quietly think things through. Perhaps make a list of pros and cons. For instance – the salary is good and it allows us to travel and have a good social life. On the other hand – I am so unhappy that I lie awake at night worrying about the situation. By talking things through with family and friends, or a councillor – you might decide to take a course, or retrain for something that will push you up the professional ladder to reach your full potential. Thus feeling fulfilled.
On the other hand, you may decide to opt for a much less stressful and happier job with a lower salary. Better that, than to completely burn-out. Life is for living and being as contented as possible. We need not fear change, but embrace it when it comes along.