When I was in my mid-forties, it occurred to me that there was something wrong with having feelings of longing to retire, but those were the thoughts I was having. Something was wrong but I had no idea what. It wasn’t until I embarked on a further degree that all of a sudden, I started questioning aspects of my life which turned into a full-blown mid-life crisis.
These kinds of crises can happen at many points at different life stages. In our twenties, it can be about getting a good job, in our thirties, whether it is the right career, but stereotypically, the mid-life crisis happens in our forties, when we have achieved a certain amount of success, perhaps not as much as we had hoped, or perhaps with the realisation that perhaps this isn’t what we set out to do in the first place and that we can’t see ourselves doing this for the rest of our lives.
For me, everything changed, what I valued, what mattered, my friendships, my job and ultimately my marriage, which sadly, wasn’t going to last anyway. It took a lot longer than I expected for the dust to settle, but I emerged a much happier person, more honest with myself and others, less afraid of what people thought of me, more prepared to experiment, a better leader, more self-aware and able to be myself.
The psychologist Carl Jung said that we cannot live the second half of our lives in the same way that we live the first half of our lives without doing damage to our souls. The first half of our lives is rightly concerned with establishing ourselves in a career, settling down, and having a family, but in the second half of our lives, we turn inward, take stock, and it is at this time that questions of meaning and purpose arise.
For me, this was a frightening time and at times I thought I was going mad. It was a major upheaval, and at the time, no one around me seemed to know what was going on or could help me. I don’t regret it, so much changed in my life, but I would have loved to have had a guide to help me through. I didn’t want a therapist who would take me back to my childhood, I wanted someone to help me discover who I was as an adult.
What if you were able to look at your life differently? What if you could take charge of it and live the life you want to live?