People who are experiencing a midlife crisis often report feeling restless with nowhere to go, wanting to break free from what they’ve always done, or convey feeling as if they’ve lost a sense of what their passions are in life. These feelings can accumulate after reaching a plateau in career path, coming to a very routine and predictable point in life, or after a string of years in which there haven’t been any major changes across the full spectrum of life.
Midlife crisis come when everything feels safe and predictable.
The feeling catches us off-guard because it makes us want to change everything that has given us comfort in life. Some people try to overcome the midlife crisis feeling by purchasing something they’ve always wanted that feels exciting. Others try to combat midlife crisis by completely disrupting their career or lifestyle in order to explore something totally different.
The underlying theme is that people seek out new experiences to cut through the monotony and predictability of the life they have created so far.
People who do not report experiencing a midlife crisis are often tackling unpredictable issues each day, living in a way that serves a larger goal than themselves, or have maintained an active connection to pursuing their interests and hobbies rather than putting them off for a retirement date.
So, how can you use a midlife crisis to productively change your life and provide lasting benefits?
- Try learning something new. Whether you choose to learn something new in your career or outside of your career, the process of learning helps to keep the mind healthy and flexible, and brings new challenges to overcome.
- Volunteer for a cause you care about. Volunteering will engage you with new social networks of people who care about similar things. Volunteering also allows you to direct extra active energy into a larger cause, which boosts a sense of community and larger purpose in life.
- Embrace big changes. Rather than beating yourself up for wanting to try something completely different than you’ve always done, give yourself the freedom to change up your life story and create an unexpected plot twist. Rather than hiding it from people you care about, share it openly as something you’re exploring and learning more about.
- Get in touch with the hobbies of your youth. Did you find joy in playing an instrument, building model toys, or conquering obstacle courses? Consider how you can bring that passion back into the life you have now rather than leaving it behind as something only children do.
- Find a meetup group that interests you. Maybe the friends you have don’t like to hike, but you’d like to hike. There’s a meetup group for that. Maybe you like to try wild and adventurous foods, but your partner needs to stick to a bland diet. There’s a meetup group for that. You don’t have to completely abandon the life or relationships you have if you simply explore opportunities to expand your current life in regular ways.
If you’ve tried all of these things and still don’t feel a sense of passion and purpose return to your life, it may be time to reach out to a professional psychotherapist who can help determine whether there are other issues that need to be considered in order to feel a sense of purpose in your life again. You’re always welcome to contact our team of professional psychologists to help make this time in your life easier to navigate.