A Different View on Midlife Crisis

I had this lump on my leg. My doctor said that it was a non-cancerous tumor and wasn’t a big deal. The lump bugged me so I decided to get it removed. Turns out it was a cyst, not a tumor. Neither one was a big deal, but the point is that they looked the same but they were very different.

Too often when some is feeling unsettled and they happen to be in over 38 year old, we misdiagnose it as a midlife crisis. By definition, a midlife crisis is: an emotional crisis of identity and self-confidence that can occur in early middle age. One of the most obvious signs that someone is suffering from a midlife crisis is that they make some big changes in their life, changes that are not always made with good judgment. But making changes in your life and feeling unsettled does not always mean “midlife crisis.”

As we get older, we tend to start to look more deeply at the meaning of our life and the contributions we have made and are making. There is an innate desire within us to make a difference in the world and to be a part of something meaningful. It can be uncomfortable to confront the reality of your life and your decisions and actions and to honestly assess the value of them. When one feels that they could do more with their life, they might feel discouraged. This is not the same as having a midlife crisis. It’s not about you and your identity, it’s about a desire to find more meaning and purpose in your life, and that is a worthy struggle.

There’s a bit of a negative connotation associated with the term midlife crisis, at least there is for me. When my husband suggested that I was going through a midlife crisis I got very defensive. I didn’t want to be associated with that term. After I got over being defensive and started thinking about and acknowledge that something was bothering me, I wondered if maybe I was experiencing a midlife crisis, but the term just didn’t fit. I was struggling because I wanted to do more with my life. I was frustrated because I felt like I wasn’t developing myself as much as I could. But midlife crisis didn’t really fit with what I was experiencing. It was more of a midlife reckoning.

I don’t think a midlife reckoning is better than a midlife crisis, and I don’t believe that only weak people experience midlife crisis while strong people experience midlife reckonings. I just think that they are two different things like a non-cancerous tumor and a cyst. They look similar, but they are different and because they are different they may require different ways to address them, or not.

It didn’t matter if the lump on my leg was a cyst or a tumor, my doctor would have preformed the same procedure to remove it.


August 4, 2019

Today: 30 min

Total: 2 hrs 30 min