This is a fabulous article that really speaks to how midlife can be tough!
Midlife Crisis???!!! This article sums up a lot of how I feel as well as many of my clients. Us GenXers have faced a lot and learned a ton along the way. It’s not easy, we may feel old and not as edgy as all these new millennials, but let’s stand tall and proud of who we are. We’re all going through the same problems and asking ourselves the same questions: Who are we? Is this what my life has come to? Really, is this what my life has come to? While it may seem dark, dreary, and alone- it’s doesn’t have to be.
In this day of technology, things seem to be going so fast and becoming more and more competitive. Midlife women are faced with unique challenges that are often minimized or outright neglected. As the generation of latchkey kids, we witnessed the start of divorce, working women and are now part of the MILF generation where we’re expected to be fit as well as successful. With all these expectations it’s no wonder many women are going through midlife crises. Except, when we think of that term, do we ever think of women? Nope. It’s primarily been a male-dominated term. Things have changed, and sadly more and more women are facing these midlife crises, but less research and support has been offered to this unique subgroup. Many women are judged when they experience a midlife crisis. Judged by society, peers and mostly by themselves. This needs to change.
Each day we have a choice. When we do nothing – this is a choice. A choice to stay the same, live the same life, continue to feel overwhelmed, keep running on the hamster wheel and not make any changes. Women, we CAN CHOOSE A DIFFERENT PATH. It sounds easier said than done, but it’s true. Life isn’t fair and certainly not always fun, but we have to start making different choices.
So, what now?
Well first off, if you’re reading this you’ve likely been hit over the head with the realization that something’s wrong, missing or imbalanced in your life. That’s the first step. As they say, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.
Next, acknowledge what it is you’ve been accepting, putting up with – choosing. You are the agent of your choices. What choices have you made that influence how you feel, how you live, your relationships?
Ask yourself how you feel about these choices. Go ahead and give voice to the negative criticisms you have about yourself. They’re there anyways, so you may as well say them out loud.
Now, consider your options. Different stressors have different options for how you can manage them- some that we can control and others that we can’t. For example, none of my cancer patients chose to get cancer, but they are choosing to go through chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Once they acknowledge this choice, then they can then choose that they want to do as much as they can to support this decision. Reducing stress, getting support, taking breaks, reducing workloads- these are all options that can support this choice. List all the choices you have and play out the the different scenarios for each option- the good and the bad. Be realistic, consider your resources and consider the risks. There’s lots of reasons you’ve stayed put in your situation. Maybe some of these are valid, but at what cost.
Weigh out the pros and cons. You’ve done this probably when buying a car, a home, making a job decision- but what about when it comes to your personal life or how you live? Get out Excel, use an app, or a pen and paper to lay it all out. You’re in the midst of a crisis, it’s happening- so the more concrete you can make your process, the better. Be honest with yourself. It’s your life, your decision- the more honest you can be with yourself the better. Write down the personal, emotional reasons affecting your choice. Weigh them accordingly. That’s right, use math. Personal or emotional reasons tend to guide our decisions more often than logic or pragmatic factors. So, if that’s where you’re at, write it out. Now do the math. What’s the outcome?
Even if the pros for making a different choice are clearing tipping the scales- now ask yourself “how ready am I to make this choice?” Just because the math says to do something, doesn’t mean you will. You’re smart, you probably have had some ideas or likely plenty, of what needs to change. But knowing and doing are two separate things. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself:
– How long will I give myself or how long do I need to make this choice?
– What else needs to happen to force me to make this choice? How much worse does it need to get?
Still not ready to make a choice? Then create a timeline. As lame as this may sound, if you do this, you’re already making a choice in a new direction. You’re increasing your readiness for change- that’s a big thing. Remember, most people don’t change- so there’s no shame in this game. Change is hard, so most people don’t change their choices, so go easy on yourself.
Choose. Make a conscious, empowered and beautiful choice to take a different path. Again, if you’re reading this then you’re likely considering getting support for this choice. Great! We don’t live in isolation and we all need support to live full lives. Whether it’s psychotherapy, a masseuse, your hairdresser- whoever. Support helps- it’s in the definition. You’re doing it- you’re choosing your path. Right now, at this moment. Own it, embrace it, make out with it. IT’S YOUR CHOICE!
Now, implement. Take action, react to your choice. Take a different path, a new route home. You’ve done a lot to get here, so go ahead and dip your toe in and give this new path a try. Keep expectations realistic- not low, just realistic.
If you need some support, give me a call or drop me a line and I’d be honored to be a part of your choice. If I can’t help, I’m also happy to steer you in the right direction.
Let’s age gracefully and in control of our choices to LIVE FULLY.