How I handled my midlife crisis
This year, I will turn 40, and I have heard of some people undergoing a midlife crisis. If you asked me ten years ago, I would probably had answered that that is just humbug. Today, I am not so sure anymore. I’m getting off to a new track in life, but it has been some tough years, a long emotional roller coaster.
What is the difference between being 30 and 40 years old? I have come up with several answers that I believe can be applied to people other than me, and hopefully my insights will be helpful.
I begin with a short look back
Just before I turned 30, I had my first child. A few years later, her sister arrived. During that period, I enjoyed every moment. I was really happy. I stayed home for some years like most Swedish people do. Then, I got back to work. I still was happy, but a frustration was growing inside of me. What is the point of having children if we can't spend time with them? I realized, of course, I had to make some money to keep my children alive, and provide them with clothes and other necessary things.
Five years ago, my husband and I divorced, which was a difficult period in my life. It is a huge loss to see your children just half of the time. We share their time equally and I spend time with my children every second week. The good part is that the three of us, my daughters and I, are really close-bonded. I spend as much time as I possibly can with them and I chose them first, always. We are like ”The Three Musketeers.”
A couple of years ago I felt more and more frustration. I thought to myself: Is this it? Where am I heading now? I have a great job, both demanding and challenging. I have my fantastic children. But what's next? I just felt empty as if I had lost something.
Do you believe there is a "midlife crisis"
What's the issue?
When looking closer into my issues, I began to realize some important things. In times of frustration, I always tend to feel down for a period, and then I start dealing with my situation, step by step. That is where I start from now.
First thing I did was to analyze and determine what problem was the source of my frustration. I will share my result with you and I hope you find some of this useful.
There will be no more babies for me
I will always be a mother of two children, fantastic of course, but my dream as a girl was to have a bunch of children and a noisy large family. There is something sad about facing the fact that my fertile days will end soon. I’m no longer married and there will be no more babies. It’s the end of a part of my life that I really have enjoyed.
I am no longer satisfied with my work
I used to love my work. I have gone through a lot of career steps on the way. Now I have realized that all this does not feel important. All stress and late hours. Time taken from my children. This is not what I wanted in life. It might sound like an absurd problem, but it gives me stomach pain and worries me a lot. It feels like a waste of my life.
So many possibilities
In today’s world, we all face the fact that we must succeed. Life is a performance to show how great we are. We have so many choices to make. We read about all of the amazing things that people do. Sometimes I become so frustrated about not knowing my way… But is this important, right?
I don’t have goals for the future
When I was younger, I looked forward to getting married, having children, and buying a nice house. When I look back, I understand that all these things for me were "the purpose of life." Now, I don't have anything like that in front of me. I had placed all of those dreams behind me and when I was facing my 40s, I felt lost.
Finally, I seemed to have a clearer picture of the problems that caused my frustration. After reading about it now, it feels like no big deal, but it was just a year ago. The most important thing is to find out what's bothering us. Try to meet these things, process them and move forward. Life can rewind. We have to find life in front of us. It might come in the form of a new shape with new possibilities.
Life is a gift
I felt relieved after arriving to those conclusions. I could begin to act and walk stronger into the future. Thinking it all over, I still am really happy with being a mother of two fantastic girls. I have a wonderful home, a small garden where I can plant all my flowers. I go out taking photos for hours when my children are at their father’s house. I am so fortunate.
I decided to do something about my work situation. I will go back to school for a while and get my exam in pedagogy. My goal is to get back to a work that I'm dedicated to.
I believe now that every period in life has its purpose. As a young person, you look forward to a lot of things, but twenty years later you have to sit down in the middle of your life and learn to live. Just relax and enjoy. There is where I'm heading right now – to a more relaxed approach to life. I still have some challenges and obstacles in front of me, but that is part of a life too. It goes up and down, we have to learn how to enjoy the "ups.”
How to relax and enjoy life?
Today, when I feel really stressed, misunderstood or sad, I have some ways to deal with it. Here are a few small things to do in everyday life:
I love nature. I can’t never feel sad, frustrated or irritated when I am outside. To relax, I walk straight out in the forest. I bring my camera. I just listen to the silence and enjoy it. I can feel the presence of the trees, the wind and life. I feel pure happiness.
I live near the ocean, and I always have. Just watching how waves move, like life itself, is calming. I feel safe, calm and satisfied.
I spend time with my children, outdoors or indoors. We play games, take baths in my small bathtub, laughing and making jokes. A fun thing to do is to challenge each other to do something you have never done before. Simple things like just walk over a stone on the way to the store. Or change seats at the dinner table. It gives you some new perspectives :)
I can glance through photos for hours and hours. With Internet the possibilities are endless…
My point with all of these small things in everyday life is that we all have things that we enjoy doing. We have to try to do more of them and less of all the other stuff. Cleaning and washing must be done of course, but sometimes it feels good to do something else. :-)
I still struggle with doubts and I can feel sad for periods. But my perspectiveof life and what's important to me help me To get back on track. Life is a journeyand there are always new destinations and experiences. We have to handle every new place we go to with gratitude and curiosity.
Now go out and try the small things that make you smile!
More about how to handle your midlife crises
- Turning a Midlife Crisis Into an Opportunity | Psychology Today
Some tips to help navigate through this phase of life By Vivian Diller, Ph.D. ...
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