5 Best Ways of Dealing With a Midlife Existential Crisis
In 1965 Elliot Jaques introduced the phrase 'mid-life crisis' to the general populace. It described a phase in life where people became generally unhappy with all of the things that they've achieved and adopted often destructive behaviours in an attempt to recapture their youth.
It can be a very dangerous or an empowering thing depending on whether or not the individual recognizes the signs. Here are a few signs and things you can do.
1. The Desire to Quit a Really Good Job
You've spent years working your way up the ladder and now you have a job that pays well and perhaps even bores you. You want to quit and find something new, something refreshing and challenging. Stop right there. Don't forget how long it took you to get this far. If you can make a move workwise that will give you more challenge and more pay then this is okay, but don't take a pay cut just to get something new for a brief space.
Remember, the job that you have now given you options as to how you may spend your free time and start over from scratch can mean you no longer have a lot of the things you currently take for granted.
2. Exchanging Your Old Friends for all New Ones of a Different Generation
Are you spending less time with friends of many years and hanging out with a completely new crowd? Doesn't that seem odd?
Think about it. Also think about those times when you were younger and there was one much-older person at the bar. Did you and your friends talk about how cool that person was?
I'll bet you didn't. Expanding your horizons can be fun but keep it to a minimal. Your old friends know you and they might be going through some of the same things that you are. If you have to go to these places, go together. It may help you to work through this phase more quickly if you can bounce ideas and experiences off of someone who knows you whom you have learned over the years to trust.
3. A sudden, Unexplained Desire to Cut Yourself Off from Family
This is a big one. Sometimes there is good reason to cut yourself off from family. If it is something toxic then by all means you should get away. Aside from such a situation, take notice if you are distancing yourselves from family that you used to visit regularly.
These people often know you better than anyone else and subconsciously you may be pushing them away for this very reason. If you are indeed having a 'renaissance period' in your life and not a mid-life crisis then you should be able to share it.
4. Increased Alcohol and Drugs
This is a huge red flag. If you find that your alcohol intake is increasing or that you are having the urge to experiment with drugs then you may want to seek the help of a therapist. Drugs and Alcohol can destroy the things that you have spent years building in a matter of days or weeks. While you might not like the idea of talking to a professional about it think on this. People are proud to say they are going to a gym.
Why should people be ashamed to say they are going to an advisor? Kings have advisors so that they can do more, not less. Get yourself some feedback from an uninvolved third-party and be comfortable in knowing that it is clinically detached and private counsel.
5. Obsession with physical appearance
Changing your wardrobe completely? Hitting the gym for the first time ever? Maybe even considering plastic surgery? These can be good things or they can be warning signs. Taking care of yourself is good, but be sure that you understand the reasoning behind it. If it comes with some of the other symptoms that we have listed here then consider a little help or at least some candid conversations with some old friends who know you.
If you are noticing any of these symptoms in yourself or in your friends then we hope these tips will help you. Try to stop worrying so much, there is still a lot of life ahead and the current you have the privilege of enjoying a lot of things that the younger you simply couldn't achieve. So get out there and enjoy life as yourself. ALL of yourself.
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