As parents, we soon start to feel our age, or even older! As the pains of middle age start to become more apparent, especially in our lower back, or we’re not able to recover as quickly from exercise, we can soon start to get downhearted and feel that we are heading into the mid part of our lives without any form of gusto or enthusiasm. But feeling a midlife crisis is not just about being physically weaker, but it’s about that depressive state where you are concerned you are put out to pasture, or you do not feel as useful as you once did. But also, the concept of the midlife crisis is unique to the individual. You can have a happy life in many ways but still, start to feel depressed because of advancing years. What does it take to navigate these midlife years with the right attitude and the right tools?
Don’t Try to Recapture Your Youth
The overriding image of a male midlife crisis is the in a Porsche. And when you look at those people who are behind the wheel of a sports car and it doesn’t suit them, you can find it easy to poke fun at them, but when you start to realize why they are doing it, the temptation rides high with yourself as well.
But doing this is about recapturing our youth, or papering over the fact that you are old. That’s not to say you cannot upgrade your car, or modify it to make it a little bit better. After all, there are many private plates for sale that can make your car a bit more you. The problem lies in when you are clearly doing things to make yourself appear younger when you are anything but. Recapturing your youth is the action of a desperate man.
Remember, it Is Normal
A midlife crisis is something that everybody will go through, to varying degrees. It is a near-universal phenomenon. When we realize that many of us are going through the same thing, there is strength in numbers. It won’t stop you from feeling disappointed, but it may stop you from beating yourself up for how you feel. When we think that we should have done more in our youth, this is not solving the problem, but realizing that others are feeling the same way means that you can potentially work through it together.
Some of us find it hard to reach out, especially when we are going through something that feels somewhat silly, because there are many dads that have an amazing life, a great job, and so on, but they feel sheepish in admitting that there is something nagging away at that. But sharing your pain with others is important, and choosing to share with someone who can listen and support will make you feel less alone. It’s also important to remember that a midlife crisis can result in very impulsive behaviors, like cheating on your spouse, and speaking to someone can remind you that there is a lot of good in your life, and it’s not all bad.
Reframing Your Perspective
Do you hear that nagging voice of self-doubt in your head? You are not alone. The problem is that we are hardwired to be optimistic about the future, and when it falls short of the mark, we start to compare ourselves to other people who achieved so much more at an earlier stage of their life, or even that are the same age as us. But this makes us suffer even more.
You can reframe your perspective by using cognitive tactics, for example, positive self-talk to reframe negatives and turn them into positives. The importance of recognizing that you are in charge of yourself and only you can change your destiny is key to moving past your individual crisis. And when we stop comparing ourselves to others and begin to focus on who we are, it becomes very liberating.
Wait for it to Pass
Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean you should ignore it, but you have to find ways to cope with what is going on internally. When we go through a midlife crisis, we have to remember it’s a developmental issue, and as long as it doesn’t cause negative impacts on our abilities to stay happy, waiting it out might be the best approach. Patience is one of the best skills we can learn and when we are going through something like this, we have to remember that it is something that’s in the middle of our lives. It won’t be forever.
This is a contributed post and therefore may not reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author.