What is a Mid-life crisis?

Mid-Life crisis

Mid-Life crisis cliche (photo courtesy of Google Images)

The ‘mid-life crisis’ – we have all heard about it, joke about it, and maybe have even had one or two ourselves.  But what is it?

A mid-life crisis is when we realize the gap between what we portray to the world (the facade) and who we really are is so big, we try to ‘find’ ourselves again.

Let’s face it, most people follow the pattern of building our careers, maybe getting married, raising kids and entering the all-joyous mortgage.  For many, at some point we realize how stressed out we are, playing out the same daily routine and wonder ‘how did I get to be this way?’.  I believe it can happen at any age, but it’s more common in our 40’s and 50’s. Usually we keep any feelings of unhappiness all to ourselves, and hurt all on our own. And, yes, it does also happen to women too.

Often at this time, people ask themselves big questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • Where am I going?
  • Why am I doing all of this?
  • Am I happy?

When someone acts out in common ‘Mid-Life Crisis’ ways, it’s an attempt to create a new identity, or ‘find themselves’ again.  When it’s done in an unhealthy way, it can be in the form of addictions – shopping, gambling, unhealthy relationships, drugs/alcohol, computer gaming, multiple plastic surgeries, etc.  Sometimes it is about starting a new life by suddenly ending long-term relationships or jobs. That’s when society labels it a ‘Mid-Life Crisis’.

If you are going through or have gone through this, you know it can be very difficult, and you probably have lots of doubts and confusion along the way.   I’m no expert on this subject but I have had some personal experience, have done some things I’m not proud of and know many who have gone through this.

My best, unsolicited advice would be  🙂    that if any changes you feel like making affect important people in your life, please be honest and considerate of them.  Do your honest best to find new ways to communicate with them rather than taking bold, unexpected actions that you may regret later.  Hopefully the important people in your life will understand and work through this with you.  Keep your head on straight, count your blessings, act with self-awareness and respect for those around you.  And do seek to find your authentic self.


Related post:  Do you put on a good show?

10 thoughts on “What is a Mid-life crisis?

  1. Interesting interpretation, I thought it was when you realized how unhappy you were that things had not worked out the way you thought they would, I do not think I care what other people think that much.

    • Hi Al, well, that too could be a reason for a crisis. I imagine there are many reasons one might take stock of their lives.

      Thanks for the comment,

  2. Maybe a ‘mid-life crisis’ is an rite of passage, necessary for most people to find their authentic self? Maybe those who don’t have the crisis are either already enlightened or completely deluded, living with Maya unaware.

    • Hi there, an interesting question you pose… I’ve seen some people find themselves and are much happier, but I’ve also seen some people have the ‘crisis’ and don’t seem any better off, and just continue with the facade. So, maybe some people need multiple crises!

      Thanks so much for your thoughts,

  3. I love those big questions! And I ask them on a regular basis, always have.

    I wonder, Wendy, if I’m working on and playing with all these midlife questions and changes in a healthy way, is it still a crisis or am I simply learning more and growing wiser?

    Thanks for the good, kind content, as always.


    • Hello ♡eM,

      Great question! Let’s say that anyone asking themselves these big questions are not necessarily going through a crisis at all. (It’s just that people having a ‘mid-life’ crisis often do ask themselves these same questions).

      You ask yourself these questions regularly, and so do I. I think it’s a very healthy thing to check-in with yourself. It keeps us on track, and ensures we stay true to ourselves. With all that life throws at us, it’s a constant experience of learning and it’s great to ask yourself these questions.

      Thanks so much for a great comment! It’s so appreciated,

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