Midlife crisis: 4 questions to ask yourself to calm the internal turbulence and gain altitude
Updated: Sep 21
The midlife crisis is a great internal upheaval that destabilizes but which can also be source of renewal when it is addressed properly.
Part 1 - Although often associated with the 40s, the midlife crisis also affects people in their thirties and fifties. It occurs halfway through existence. This crisis of adulthood is not a stage that everyone goes through in his life course, but for the men and women who live it, it is a confusing period.
The mid-life crisis is a difficult phase.This is true as much for those who cross it, since it results from a deep malaise, as for their entourage struck by incomprehension and consternation. Let us think of the stereotypes of a husband who turns his gaze to younger women, who wants to live a second youth or who wants to buy a sports car, just like the wife who suddenly feels alive alongside a lover. Yes, these scenarios occur causing on their passage couples breaks. Many other situations are experienced during the midlife transition also causing bursts or tensions.
Given the impact that the crisis can have on the individual, his social and family circle, as well as on his couple, it is important to identify what is at the origin of the upheavals associated with this transition period. This is an existential crisis to be managed with a lot of attention so that the change in life that is taking place is successful. Here are four questions to ask yourself to reflect on the situation and make informed decisions.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY LIFE? (The malaise)
The middle crisis occurs when a person in the late 30s, in the 40s or around mid-50s, begins to feel discomfort or dissatisfaction in his life. This ill-being appears through various emotions such as gloom, emptiness, frustration, deadlock, bitterness.
But the crisis can also be triggered by the sudden awareness of your own mortality, the first signs of aging (capacities diminish, energy decrease, health becomes fragile), children leaving home or the loss of loved ones.
It is a period of assessment and reassessment of life that leads to a decline in well-being and happiness. Studies show that the curve of well-being or happiness varies according to age. It is raised in youth, but begins to fall around the age of 18 reaching its lowest level from mid-forties to early fifties. We are thus in the hollow of the curve during the mid-life phase. Fortunately, the curve then gradually rises to the point of exceeding even the level of happiness experienced during youth, and this because we develop a clearer vision of the meaning of our life as we age. Understanding your discomfort helps to direct your energy towards the resolution of what is at the source of this harmful state and therefore it helps to move in the right direction.
WHERE I AM IN LIFE? (The questioning)
The crisis is therefore marked by a questioning. This is the moment of assessment. We engage in a reflection on our life, our identity, our dreams, our choices, our achievements, what was not accomplished, our losses and our missteps. The different spheres of existence are re-evaluated (professional, family, emotional, personal and social life). Questions about the direction to be taken in the years to come arise, proof of a realization that time is limited and that the time to live out our aspirations or to review them has arrived. It is still possible to correct the course or change the course of our life.
The inner questions invite us to go to the depths of our being in order to connect to our deep nature, to find what animates us, makes us vibrate. It is a phase of self-discovery, an encounter with oneself that will also lay the foundations for the revelation of the meaning of our life.
WHAT DOES LIFE CALL ME TO BE? (The quest for meaning)
With the questioning comes the search for the profound purpose of our existence. We question our life mission or personal mission. In other words, we reflect on the role we have to play in this life. The mission can result from hidden or ignored natural abilities, which are reflected in the exercise of introspection.
Discovering our vocation gives life meaning. Knowing that our actions will be directed towards a greater goal or a noble goal becomes a source of comfort and well-being. Finding our raison d'être and defining it clearly lead to living in harmony with oneself.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO EXPERIENCE A POSITIVE CRISIS AND HOW? (The constructive mindset)
In order to experience a positive midlife transition, it is important not to rush into the immediate satisfaction of emerging desires, but rather to pay attention first to what is happening inside the self and to reflect on it. You have to ask the right questions to get the right answers to the problem. It is the starting point of transformation, a useful psychological preparation to make a change that will require will, courage, motivation and patience. The subsequent actions will be all the more favourable to positive change.
The mid-life crisis can have a lot of benefits. People often surpass themselves in times of crisis. They kind of reveal themselves.
The crisis should be seen as a gift of life whose goal is to awaken us to the potential of happiness and well-being that it has to offer us. When the inner torments are soothed, we take in lightness and height. The flowering begins, then we bear the buds of our own rebirth.
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(Ma qualité de vie means My quality of life in French.)
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