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How do I deal with mid-life ?

You’ve just turned 40 but instead of rejoicing, you feel miserable. You have a flourishing career and all the external trappings of success; an ostensibly happy family life but this is just a facade. The truth is frighteningly different – you feel stressed, fatigued, bored with your sex life and dissatisfied with life in general. Like many others, you too are faced with a midlife crisis.

Midlife – the years between 30 and 70 with 40 to 60 at it’s core – is the last uncharted territory in human development. Some psychologists say that the transition into middle age is nearly always a period of readjustment, with men affected more than women. It is characterized by emotional upheaval, self-review and problems such as marital distress, extramarital affairs, sudden career changes, impotence and depression. Men may also develop a heightened concern about their health and morality. Small nagging doubts appear, perhaps followed by a series of dramatic, apparently irrational events leading up to great change. During it all men and women ask themselves: “Is this all there is to my life? Am I a failure?”

Coping with mid life can take both time and energy, but it can help you find greater satisfaction and pleasure in life. The symptoms are not physically based: remember to have a can-do attitude, you can maintain an active sex life, keep your body in shape and enjoy yourself as you mature. Here is how to deal with midlife:

Think positively : One tends to become very shortsighted in the midst of a mid life crises. You tend to focus on things you have lost rather than the things you have accomplished in your life so far. It is easy to lose sight of things that are positive in your life. Therefore, the most important thing for you to do is to change your thinking. Convert all your negative thoughts into positive ones. Try to think about all your accomplishments rather than thinking about what you have not been able to achieve. Till now you have just been slogging it out; tell yourself that now is the time for you to enjoy your life.

Accept and share your feelings: You cannot stop the ageing process. It is inevitable. But what you can control is the way you are going to face this process. By accepting the facts you can help yourself to overcome your losses. By sharing your feelings you will know that there are others who are going through the same things and feeling the same emotions that you are. Share your fears and frustrations and you will be relieved.

Spend time with yourself: Now that you are relatively free from your responsibilities, you can spend time with yourself. Do some soul-searching and think about what you have done, how you’ve done it, what you want to do now and how you plan to go about it. Cherish the memories and set new goals and targets for yourself. Take charge and get set to achieve them.

Rediscover relationships: You’ve probably been working round the clock up till now and haven’t managed to spend quality time with your family. Well now is the time. Rediscover your relationships, spend time with your spouse, children and friends. If possible take them on a holiday. When was the last time you did this?

Set new goals that are both realistic and exciting: You have achieved a lot in life so far and there’s plenty more to do. Now is the time to set new goals and strive for things that you had wanted to do but could not due to various other reasons. Plan on how you plan to accomplish these.

Try new things out: You could indulge in a sport, something that you wanted to do and did never have the time to do so, or you could pick up a new hobby, or even join a course. Learn new things, add to your knowledge bank and savour the experience.

Travel: Plan a holiday and go to places that have always fascinated you. It’s a time of rediscovery and learning. Now that you have time on your hands, make the maximum of it.

Volunteer for a non-profit organization: Social work can be highly therapeutic. Besides making new friends with whom you can share your experiences, volunteer work will give you a sense of satisfaction for doing something for those in need.

Get rid of your bad habits: Now is the time to get rid of your bad habits such as drinking, smoking and other such compulsions. You could go to a therapist for help.

Take care of your health: if you have neglected your body for so long, it’s time you get back in shape. Start eating the right kind of food and do some exercise. See a doctor and get a complete check up done. Make up for all the time that you have neglected your body.
Ageing is inevitable, but decline is not. People who age successfully are those who, rather than dwelling on lost opportunities or declining physical health, accept where they are and find new ways to cope and remain hopeful about the future.

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