The term mid-life crisis has long been a derogatory one. It is frequently used to describe people that suddenly get a sports car, or quit their job to do something unacceptable socially (like quitting a high-paying job to start a band), and is often believed to be a way for people to run away from their current life.
But this term may not be fair, as the actions that a person is taking may have little to do with being mid-life, and may not be a crisis at all, or at least should not be treated like one.
Why Do People Have Mid-Life Crises?
Rather than call it a mid-life crisis, it should be referred to as a mid-life reconfiguration of one’s goals and values. People reach different points in their life where they start to experience distress. This distress may be caused by:
- Encountering new challenges.
- Experiencing regret over missed opportunity.
- Feeling stuck and unfulfilled in their current environment.
When faced with these situations, it can trigger symptoms, problems, goals, or desires that were previously dormant. The end result is that the person re-examines their life and where they are, and is searching for a way to fulfill those desires in order to alleviate symptoms and move forward.
Rather than call it a mid-life crisis, it should be called a midlife opportunity. For many, the desire to buy a sports car or start a band represents a desire to achieve the goals they had left behind. It may also be their way to try to create positive change in their life, using tools of their youth or drastic decisions to bring them some peace, focus, and fulfillment.
Human Beings Aren’t Boxed into Age
It’s easy to see a risky change as one that is a crisis. That is why society seems to look down upon those that decide to make these life altering decisions. Life does come with some responsibilities, and chucking those responsibilities haphazardly can have negative consequences.
But if someone has unfulfilled goals and dreams, or they have discovered a new passion that provides them with renewed drive, focus, vitality, and happiness, then arguably a mid-life “crisis” is really something that should be encouraged, as there is often personal value to discovering a dream that provides fulfillment in the person’s life.
How they achieve those goals can sometimes use some guidance, but there are many reasons to feel that a midlife crisis is really more of a mid-life opportunity.