Midlife Transitions: Crisis or Opportunity
Although midlife transition is a natural part of the lifecycle, it can elicit different feelings, emotions, and behaviors for men and women at different times. Many brace themselves, view it and act on it as a "crisis," and go into emotional "tilt."
Others "tackle it" and embrace the point of view that this time can be a great awakening, a time of renewal and self-discovery, an opportunity for change and doing life differently, perhaps eliciting a sense of freedom.
There is no set age for the onset of "midlife." It could occur as early as age 40 or as late as age 65. This transition is often experienced when our roles and identities that we have adapted to for many years change or are taken away. Perhaps the transition surfaces on the heels of an event such as the loss of job or financial net worth, or the loss of a partner, spouse, loved one, family, home, or lifestyle.
Changing roles can be challenging. Many women have "opted out" of dynamic careers to spend 20-plus years absorbed in childrearing, securing the nest, supporting their mate, and being absorbed with their children's lives. They wake up one morning and find it a shock to no longer be defined as someone's mother or someone's wife. For years these mothers felt—to the core—very needed; they were everything to everybody, and they were uber-multitaskers, selflessly involved in community, school, volunteerism, and family. Now the kids drive, are away from the house more often than home, or are away at school or college. Many are left with staggering unfilled and unfulfilled time on their hands.
Some men and women face new roles as caregivers of aging, ailing parents. Issues of their own mortality often crop up. There are adjustments to role reversal, acting as the parent (of a parent), being the stronghold, always being there for someone who was always there for them and was once their safe harbor.
Men often experience transition as "crisis" or new opportunities. Their self-images and egos play a vital role in how they glide through the period or slide off the path. Many feel the loss of youth, fitness, health and vitality, career, job status, and family; these factors test the testosterone factor and often lead to behaviors that are out of character.
Coping with midlife transition takes energy, and it is a time when most people need great support with putting systems in place and sorting out the different changes they are noticing about themselves and their environments. Counseling helps with reality checks, helps you discover yourself as you learn to redefine your roles, helps you develop positive attitudes of acceptance rather than denial, and encourages you to be "self-ful" (not selfish) and examine what you really wish to do with new freedoms.
Carole Landis is located in Haverford, Pennsylvania (PA) on the Main Line in Montgomery County. Her service area includes: Philadelphia, Montgomery County (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Bala Cynwyd, Wynnewood, Villanova, Rosemont, Narberth, Gladwynne, Penn Valley, King of Prussia, Ardmore) and Delaware County (Newtown Square, Broomall, Havertown, Upper Darby).
Contact Carole for a free 1/2 hour phone consultation.