Are having a midlife crisis? If you are, chances are it’s not much fun (cue the desire for sports cars, alcohol, affairs and anything that might give you a temporary high).
We rarely view this time of life in a positive light, but it can be the catalyst for a more fulfilling life, providing you with an opportunity to chart a new course toward the future you always wanted but were afraid you couldn’t have.
I’m no astrology expert, but there are reasons why we experience this upheaval in our middle years. Just as our Saturn Return (or quarter life crisis) can trigger events that move us toward adulthood, astrological cycles mean that we experience a midlife crisis around the age of 40-42 when we’re forced to take a look at what’s no longer working in our lives. Having reached life’s midpoint there’s this ‘now or never’ energy as we realise it’s our last chance to create the life we imagined for ourselves in our 20s.
If you resist these changes, things can start to fall apart either in your relationships or career. From what I’ve seen in my own life and those of my clients, it’s not uncommon for both to fall apart at the same time (don’t panic if you’re about to turn 40 though, it doesn’t have to happen this way!). In astrological terms these transits are the Pluto square, the Uranus opposition, the Neptune square, and the Saturn opposition. In essence, these transits are pushing you to evolve further into your authentic self.
During my midlife crisis I was going through a divorce while building my skills and knowledge in a new industry with a young baby in tow. Yes it was challenging. Yes I was dealing with a great deal of loss. But the important thing is that it ultimately led to a much brighter future for me, and it can for you too.
So how do you know if you’re having a midlife crisis?
You might feel restless or confused about who you are now and what you want out of life. Maybe you’re questioning your values and priorities. Are you leading the life you wished for? Continuing on with your old life may even start to seem impossible. This is why you often see people abruptly leave jobs and marriages, or sell their house to go live in Paris for a year. The old way of living is no longer in alignment with the person they are becoming and it’s more painful to stay where they are than it is to change.
If this is happening to you, here’s what I would suggest:
1) Don’t be afraid to let go
The first step is to stop feeling like a failure and to release the shame of not having everything figured out by age 40 (no one does!). When you understand that this process will lead you to a better future, you can start taking action with a little more courage and lean into the changes. It’s never too late to change your life.
A midlife crisis will often coincide with a spiritual awakening, a growing awareness that there’s more to life than what you’ve been led to believe so far. This could mean anything from developing a meditation practice, seeing a kinesiologist, getting coaching or counselling, attending a church or reading personal development books. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it helps develop your self-awareness and tune into your inner guidance.
2) Give yourself permission to want what you want
Figuring out what you really want is a critical first step and it can take a bit of time to unearth. It’s amazing how we go through life without giving serious thought to our desires, often because we don’t believe deep down that we can have them.
It can also be confronting when you realise there’s this big yawning chasm between what you want and your current situation, but now is the time to be honest with yourself. Your midlife crisis is an opportunity to let go of all your old beliefs and patterns, and replace them with new ways of thinking that will support your path to a happier life.
3) Visualise your future self
When you think of your future self, what do you see? Pay attention to your secret dreams, the ones you don’t reveal to anyone. They might be based on thoughts, feelings or visions you have about your future.
When I was going through my career transition I had visions of myself as a teacher which at the time, seemed unlikely, not just because I was absolutely terrified of public speaking, but because I had no idea what I could possibly teach others. This vision or idea wouldn’t go away so I came to understand that it was part of my path, and since then I’ve led many workshops and even given a keynote (miracles are possible!).
Who do you see yourself becoming? Your answer will give you clues about which steps to take next.