Turning midlife crisis into catharsis
I have developed a disquieting aversion to my beloved profession of more than a decade, smitten by a career path hitherto less travelled. These days, I often wish if I could somehow re-shoot the motion picture of my life, turning this lacklustre tale into a blockbuster. I finally had the insight that, it’s actually my dwindling eyesight not poor print quality of publications, that’s making my wor(l)d go blurry.
The wardrobe that I once adored has turned into an eyesore of late. I might blame it on sartorial choices gone wrong but, deep inside I know, it’s a classic case of grapes gone sour. Consumed by wanderlust and inspired by ‘zindagi na milegi dobara’ my girl gang is resolute to take the plunge and so am I. Well, the probability of this dream turning into reality is what I am sceptical about. I have a poignant urge to retrieve the proverbial bucket list languishing in my waste bucket and cross things off it asap. All in all, there’s a dreaded sense of time slipping by, leaving a lot unaccomplished and a lot desired.
To make matters worse, I have recently crossed north of 45, making me a befitting case of midlife crisis. First coined in an article by the Canadian psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques in 1965, the term rapidly evolved into the one-size-fits-all adage must be the midlife crisis, heaped upon anyone past 40 with unexpected/erratic behaviour or sudden lifestyle changes.
A midlife crisis is described as a psychological crisis that can occur in middle-aged individuals, typically 45-65 years old, producing feelings of depression, remorse and anxiety or the desire to achieve youthfulness or make drastic changes to their current lifestyle. Be it wardrobe or physical makeover, an alternate career choice or a newfound hobby, an aggressive stance or an emotional breakdown, everything is mocked upon as midlife crisis.
But to me, midlife is not akin to crisis, it’s rather a period of awakening. I couldn’t agree more with American author Jane E Brody when she says, “Turn your midlife crisis to your advantage by making it a time for renewing your body and mind, rather than standing by helplessly and watching them decline.”
Right now, I am at a far better place, both emotionally and fiscally, to make well-informed choices. There’s more clarity with regard to what I actually want from life and am certainly more capable of achieving it. In fact, early adulthood is more turbulent than midlife, with academic, career and marital challenges causing pandemonium in one’s life. By middle age, our priorities and responsibilities are sorted, enabling us to take a desired personal or professional call.
Researcher Brene Brown sums it up beautifully. “People may call what happens at midlife a crisis, but it’s not. It’s an unravelling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you are ‘supposed’ to live, to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”
It is the perfect time to follow your passion, turn a new chapter of your life and transform this so-called crisis into catharsis.
The writer is a Ludhiana-based freelance contributor and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.