Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Mid-life Without A Crisis: change careers with confidence

MidlifeCrisis or boomer bliss1Do you postpone making changes in your life because you think you’ll live for ever?

I do.  Sometimes.  But the  older I get  the more I’m aware of my own mortality.  More so, as I watch world events, like the recent Paris killings, and the premature death of All Black legend Jonah Lomu at 40, unfold.

What is mid-life? 20? 30? 40? 50? Who really knows how long you have on this earth?

If you’re like me, as you reach the end of your 40’s, and head into your 50’s,  very often there’s a dawning realisation you haven’t done what you wanted to do with your life yet.

There can be some existential angst. Why are you here? Does your life have meaning? Have you lived a significant life? Will you be remembered. What’s your legacy?

Mid-life crisis or wake-up call?
Some experts have defined this sense of impending disappointment a mid-life crisis.

A mid-life crisis is said to be suffered by some people as they realise they have reached a midpoint in their lifespan and because of unrealised goals, self-perceptions or physical changes as a result of ageing or health issues, experience conflicts or dissatisfaction within themselves.

Sometimes, a crisis can be triggered by natural transitions caused by menopause, and life events –  the death of parents or other causes of grief. Things like, unemployment, or underemployment. Suffering a job or career that you hate, but not knowing what else to do and how else to earn an equivalent living. Or suffering an identity crisis, or empty nest syndrome when your children leave home.

While experiencing a mid-life crisis, people may reassess their achievements. “Have I achieved my dreams?”

This mid-life evaluation, is a call for change. It can create a burning desire to make significant improvements in many areas, including career, work and job, work-life balance, marriage, romantic relationships, finances, and physical appearance and well-being.

Whatever camp you are in, depressed or desirous, there’s no doubt at some stage you’re going to die. The only question is when, and whether you can can honestly say you lived your best life.

Mid-life is a wake-up call, a pivotal crossroads, a threshold which beckons you to cross.

Wake up to your best life – midlife without the crisis
Numerous studies abound of childhood, adolescence and old age, but the years from 30-70 have often been neglected.

But results from a body of new research paints a far different portrait of mid-life, than previous images of doom,  and gloom, one that may shatter the cultural perceptions and disabling beliefs that have plagued those in the middle decades.

The findings challenge the view that middle age is automatically a time of slow decline or fraught with angst and psychological discomfort.

Even 10 years ago, societal attitudes portrayed midlife as a time of hazard and peril, say researchers from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development (MIDMAC)

“It was considered a time of empty nests, stress and worry, poor health, menopause, midlife crises,” said Orville Gilbert Brim, who directed the MacArthur research. “But the more we got into, the more we studied it, we found that on balance, middle age really is the best place to be.”

Their research shows midlife to be a time of stable relationships, financial security, good health and satisfying, relatively secure work. “For most, it is smooth sailing,” Brim said.

While the researchers expected to find many people complaining that they had lost control over much of their life during these middle decades, they discovered instead an increased sense of control. “That was one of the biggest surprises,” said Margie E. Lachman, professor of psychology at Brandeis University in Boston and a member of the research team.

Is your life a little choppy? Take back control

Is your job sucking the life out of you? Is it preventing you from living your best life? Take control back.

As Filmmaker Michael Moore said, “I want us to all face our fears and stop behaving like our goal in life is merely to survive. Surviving is for wimps and game show contestants stranded in the jungle or on a desert island. You are not stranded. Use your power. You deserve better.”

Last week’s tragic loss of life in the wake of the Paris killings, and closer to home, the far-too-early death of All Black Legend, Jonah Lomu (aged only 40), is a thundering reminder that life can be short. No matter how much willpower, how much strength, how many determination, when death comes calling he doesn’t often knock.

So my friend, tell me, “what will you do with your one precious life?”

 

Career expert and award-winning artist Cassandra Gaisford, is the author of the Amazon #1 best-seller, Mid-Life Career Rescue: How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.

Visit www.worklifesolutions.co.nz and get her free eBook, “Find Your Passion.”

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