Such a Thing as a Mid-Life Crisis?

Posted on February 10, 2011. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |

Psychology for Living
Gwen Randall-Young

Is there such a thing as a mid-life crisis? Probably. It’s just hard to pin down, because we cannot precisely define ‘mid-life’, or ‘crisis’. It is more likely that we go through stages of awareness, which may create a series of mini-crises. Like earthquakes, a series of small jolts are probably better than one big one. It can happen both ways.

Consider the fact that for most, the years of our twenties and thirties are taken up with becoming established in the world. Hopes and dreams often revolve around intimate relationship, getting a home, starting a family, and becoming successful in a career. Everything seems to be building towards a future. Working and raising a family makes for a demanding schedule, and it is easy to get so caught up in it all, that we scarcely notice the passing of the years.

Suddenly, although you still picture yourself as twenty-six or thirty-two, you look into the mirror and there is a forty-five year old staring back at you. The children are no longer ‘children’, and will soon be off living their own lives. You realize the ‘future’ you were building for is here and now. However, it refuses to stand still. You look around at graying seniors, and realize, perhaps with horror, that one day that will be you.

This is when the potential for a mid-life crisis is at its highest. You cannot help but begin to evaluate the life you have lived thus far. You may see victories and successes, but also have losses and regrets. You may realize that in keeping your nose to the grindstone, you have sacrificed some joy and some fun. Often there is a strong to desperate need to recapture or recreate some vitality and excitement. This is a good thing, especially if it means getting in shape, caring for your health, developing new interests, and savoring good times with friends and family.

The impractical sports car or steamy affair is only a temporary fix, although the latter ‘breaks’ more than it fixes. The mature, healthy response to life ‘crises’ is to sit down with loved ones, talk about how you are feeling, and work together to set new goals. Only this time, the goals need not focus on the future, so much as they need to address how you want to live each day, right here, right now. This is it. Make the most of it.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit



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