Growing up, I remember movies and TV shows referencing adults of a certain age, men, in particular, going through “a mid-life crisis.” It usually coincided with a husband cheating on his wife with a much younger woman and buying a red convertible sports car. For extra laughs, the formula may have included a toupee. My young brain couldn’t fully comprehend what any of this meant. Plus, the offenders in my mind were very old. So it all seemed so far away, and foreign to me.
When I flew past my twenties, my thirties hit, and I saw how fast the years roll by, I started thinking about how close I am to my own mid-life. I am definitely not going through a crisis, and I have no desire to purchase an expensive car at this time. I have been feeling a shift at my quarter and mid-life marks. I feel bolder and more willing to step outside of my comfort zone to do challenging and new things. I certainly have a pull to do more, do better, and be better. I feel life is reeling by, and the thought of wasting a single minute feels frustrating and absurd. I don’t know how much time I have on this Earth. It seems useless to just go through the motions or to get caught up in perceived obligations and duties — to do what looks like the right thing, but not what actually feels right.
Mid-Life Crisis? Or Mid-Life Change?
I left my 9-5 gig on November 2nd, last year. Since then, I feel like I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants. I’m enjoying every minute of it. I have no idea what’s next. I have no clue how this year will wrap. And yet, I am enjoying myself. The things I have embarked upon are so outside of who I have been these past 20 years. Or at least who I thought I was. A lot of that was me settling; going through the motions and immaturely thinking I had so much time.
I applied and was accepted into a summer journalism fellowship that has been such a rewarding experience. The people, the projects, all that I am learning is so refreshing and fun! Most of my fellow fellows have graduated from college within the past five years. And I am definitely older than everyone in the program and those running the program. Initially, I felt intimidated and “old,” but I reminded myself that learning should never stop happening. As long as you’re growing, you should be learning something, anything.
Changing the Formula of Your Life Should be Celebrated
It’s been some time since I experienced anything new, where I was completely out of my element. However, I do like the feeling. Whether it was me taking an adult ballet class because I had always wanted to as a kid — I was over 30. Or trying out so many adult swimming classes (I still can’t swim). Or learning to knit a hat, because, why not. I don’t consider these mid-life or quarter-life crises (I’m not trying to cheat on my partner). There is something to be said about getting restless with your life and just wanting to expand yourself though. The catch is, most of us don’t have a date and time when our lives will end. Making the assumption that you have so much more life to live is bold and a little foolish — because you may not. A woman I went to college with, who is my age, just passed away a couple of weeks ago. She wasn’t even 40. Her mid-life would have been when we were in college. Who could have predicted that?
So if someone, has a great pull to do something wild, different or just new, let’s not call it a crisis. Maybe that person has finally reached the “I don’t care what you think” phase in life. Or perhaps, boredom has settled in their lives. Either way, let’s encourage and support them! The real crisis is missing out on all this life we have to live.
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Is a Mid-Life Change Really a Mid-Life Crisis?