So many people seem to be stuck. Have you noticed? (My client, sitting across from me, nodded.) Look around! Your supervisor at work has been in that same position for ever. Oh! You run your own business — well, your manager at your last job. Perhaps you are stuck in a rut, too?
Being stuck is not a great place to be. Whatever happened to that youthful exuberance with which you started your first job; or your first business? The world was your oyster. (My client smiled.) You were going to be successful, make tons of money, buy a really expensive car and live in a huge house with an Olympic-size pool and a tennis court. Have you forgotten those dreams? (Their smile faded.)
Are you struggling to stay on target? Do you feel stuck? Stuck, wondering why you don’t feel happy, anymore? Why things won’t go right for you? Stuck in a treadmill? Stuck in something you can’t even name? You just feel surrounded by ‘stuckness’ and mired in goo!
This place in which you feel so stuck is not around you, not outside you. It’s inside you. That’s the trouble – you know this; you can feel it inside. You can even put your hand on the place it feels most intense. (My client rubbed the back of their neck.) It is shaping your life more than you know. It is your life, right now. You know that! You’ve been trying to fix it for a long time, too. (They nodded.) The world is screwed up! That’s all there is to it!
I was in that place, once, and, fortunately, I found the way out. It was a mid-life crisis and I didn’t even know it. Now I show people the exit, like a guide in a maze. (My client leaned forward, waiting for the clue.) I have come up with a very simple explanation of Mid-life Crisis. The objective of my style of coaching (called strategic intervention) is to bypass all the technical stuff and go for a fast solution. So, forget the hormones and the testosterone, here is my simple explanation of mid-life crisis –
Mid-life is an unstable period of about 5 or 6 years that occurs in men and women between the ages of 45 and 65. It marks the transition from vibrant adulthood to a more peaceful, laid-back senior adulthood. (My client nodded again.) There is an undercurrent of sadness in this transition resulting from loss of youth, physical changes, concern for age-related health issues, being bypassed as technology advances, becoming irrelevant and other signs of pending doom as one approaches what is normally regarded as retirement age.
Throughout adulthood, (I explained,) life is challenged by many things — sudden job loss, major accidents, home breakup and divorce, death of loved ones, illness and so on. These can occur at any time and, by and large, people are able to deal with these issues and move on. They do not usually become debilitating, certainly not of crisis proportions. However, when these events occur in mid-life, and settle upon the underlying sadness of mid-life, they can build into a crisis and produce what has become known as a “ midlife crisis. ”
The mid-life years are a period of transition, not unlike the teenage years. Everyone is aware of the inner turmoil that goes on as a teenager grows from childhood to adulthood. (My client has two teenagers and knows exactly what I’m saying.) A massive paradigm shift takes place and it can be unnerving. We never think in terms of a Teenage Crisis, though. It’s just a normal part of the life cycle process – a normal part of growing up. Midlife is also a normal part of growing up. It’s also a time when many people get stuck. A good job that was once interesting and exciting has become boring. The spark has gone out of life. A successful transition is marked by getting unstuck and finding peace and reconciliation as a senior. (The client began to relax. Of course! They knew their son and daughter would be fine, and could see themselves being fine, too.)
The “stuck” part of mid-life is the depression, anxiety, and frustration that accompany the confusion and inability to progress with life. The “crisis” part of “ mid-life crisis ” is the unpredictable and inappropriate actions we often take to ward off this feeling of being stuck. One gets stuck, then does things to feel better that only make matters worse. And, there we are – a mid-life crisis!
Is what you are feeling a mid-life crisis, or are you just stuck? Either way, we can help you. .
If you e-mail me at <firstname.lastname@example.org> I will happily go into the subject of midlife transition and mid-life crisis with you.