Life comes at everyone fast. One day you are learning to tie your shoes, the next you are going to prom, next you are graduating from college. Suddenly you are married with children, a dog, and a mortgage. Men- may be your hair starts thinning or going grey. Ladies- you perhaps decide to retire those Spring Break bikini’s from college, opting for a more modest one piece instead. Then your kids get asked to prom, go to college, and though you couldn’t be happier for them, their aging only reminds you of your own. Instead of looking foreword to your birthday, you are now dreading it.
Some people respond to aging by going to great lengths to recapture the thrills experienced during youth, when everything is new and exciting. This is often referred to as a Mid Life Crisis; when a person hits a point in their life that their life may be halfway over, they become hyper aware of their mortality. Sometimes the fear induced from this revelation inspires them partake in behavior that they typically wouldn’t. The stereotypical association with this would be an indulgence in reckless behaviors that remind them of the rebellious freedom of young adulthood, such as trading in the family car for a flashy, impractical sports car or motorcycle, or suddenly shopping at teen targeted clothing stores to appear younger. Also, hitting the bar and club scene more frequently, as a means to be surrounded by a younger crowd and prove, “I can still hang”.
However, a midlife crisis doesn’t always manifest itself this way. My current assistant just told me that when she moved out to go to college, her mother spontaneously decided to purchase a baby exotic parrot, right around the time of her scheduled move out day. The choice of pet was also particularly interesting because my assistant was a theater kid growing up, so her mother had become accustomed to hearing her loud voice and singing echo through the home. Though her mother vehemently denies having any anxiety about the prospect of her eldest child venturing into the world, it’s pretty apparent that this purchase was a subconscious attempt at avoiding “empty nest” syndrome, filling the void of the metaphorical nest, literal household, left by my assistant, with an actual exotic bird known for their loud voices and the ability to mimic speech. Now, her mother didn’t go wild and get things pierced or start shopping at Forever 21- aging itself wasn’t the trigger. It’s just for 18 years her identity had been “Mom”, and her first born leaving for college just signified that this identity she had become so used to was suddenly changing. And that’s all a midlife crisis really is- a reaction due to a fear of impending change.
Really, it can happen at any age really and behavior exhibited due to this fear doesn’t always have to be destructive and reckless. My assistant’s mother did what she needed to do as a means to soften the emotional blow experienced once the concept of my assistant living away from home really sunk in, and though the bird could never replace the bond she had with her child, it did distract her from extreme loneliness. Having something new to nurture made her feel fulfilled and happy.
Now, I’m not suggesting everyone experiencing a mid life crisis go buy themselves a parrot, but as long as you continue to make responsible, relatively rational choices that do not negatively effect your life or the lives of your family and friends, then it’s ok to cut loose and play. What’s most important is that no matter what phase in life you may be experiencing, at the end of the day, you fully embrace and love who you truly are- grey strands, receding hairlines, and all. If you or someone you know is perhaps taking this Mid Life Crisis to an extreme and it’s having adverse effects on their lives as well as the lives of others, then make a Life Coaching appointment with me today. I’ve been in the business for 35+ years and have all the Solutions. 212-599-3195.