Mid-life crisis or mid-life transformation?

Midlife Crisis

Mid-life transformation sure sounds like it would be a lot more fun, but I am pretty sure that I am having my mid-life crisis. At least I certainly feel like I am in the midst of crisis rather than transformation, but I honestly think it is a little of both. Crisis usually brings transformation doesn’t it?

I read this article: Signs of a midlife transformation and for the most part it helped explain some of the feelings I have been having and offers some insight into how to deal with all these things going on. In the article there was a list that I am going to share with you here:

Symptoms of Mid Life Crisis

The following is a list of symptoms that illustrate how defining a mid life crisis is truly relative to the person experiencing the changes.

  1. Looking into the mirror and you no longer recognize yourself.
  2. Desiring to quit a good job.
  3. Unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy.
  4. Changing or investigating new religions, churches or new age philosophy.
  5. Change of habits. Activities which used to bring pleasure now are boring. Unable to complete or concentrate on tasks which used to be easy.
  6. It feels good to get hurt.
  7. Wanting to run away from everything.
  8. A desire to get into physical shape.
  9. Irritability or unexpected anger.
  10. Change in allergies.
  11. Desire for physical -Free Flowing- movement (Running, Biking, Dance, Fast red sports cars, Sky diving, etc).
  12. Exploring new musical tastes.
  13. Sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument.
  14. Sudden interest in drawing, painting, writing books or poetry.
  15. Shifting sleep patterns (Typically to less).
  16. Thinking about death, wondering about the nature of death.
  17. Changes to the balance of vitamins you take. Or taking dietary supplements for the purposes of extending life.
  18. Extreme changes to what you eat.
  19. Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good.
  20. Hair changes. (Natural changes in thickness, luster, color or Assisted changes in dying hair suddenly or shaving your head bald)
  21. A desire to surround yourself with different settings.
  22. Hanging out with a different generation as their energy and ideas stimulate you.
  23. Restarting things, which you dropped 20 years earlier.
  24. Upset at where society is going. Experience a desire to change the world for the better.
  25. Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
  26. Leaving (Mentally or Physically) family or feeling trapped in current family relationships.
  27. A desire to teach others or become a healer.
  28. Desiring a simple life.
  29. Excessively looking back to one’s childhood.
  30. Playing again just to play!
  31. Keep re-asking yourself: “Where am I going with my life?”
  32. Getting fixated on new “wonder” solutions to problems.
  33. Recently experiencing something extremely stressful. Stress can trigger a Midlife transformation. Some examples include: Changing Jobs, Divorce, Death of someone close, Chemical/Toxic exposure upon the body or experiencing a major illness.
  34. Doing things that get you into trouble when it surprises everyone as being out of character.

The check marks represent things on the list that apply to me. I have 24 out of 34 “symptoms” so I am going to go ahead and diagnose myself with mid-life something or other. I am actually kind of glad that I am in the middle of this thing – whatever it is. Some days I feel completely insane, and others I have this amazing clarity and direction. My desire to change the world has always been there – I just feel it more now and feel like I should actually DO SOMETHING about it rather than just thinking about doing something. Then of course the question becomes, “Well what CAN I do?” and I haven’t quite found the answer for that one yet.

There are actually a lot of things on this list that I have been experiencing my entire life (#30 for example), I have never been afraid to play and playing has always kept me sane and still does. However, even though I can look back and say, “well that’s not new” I can say that acknowledging them and trying to understand my behaviors is – and I think that is the transformation part. I am ready, willing, and able to embrace the transformation and I can say that even though this transition is stressful at times – I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel if I can just make the right choices. Of course – knowing what the right choices are is the hard part and no one can see into the future so knowing what is right and wrong is elusive at best.

My financial woes and a desire for a simpler life is definitely the driving force right now. I also know what I need to do – but I am in the vicious circle of having the answers but not being able to afford the solutions. I need to file bankruptcy – of course to do that you need money. Ironic isn’t it? If I could afford a bankruptcy lawyer – I could afford to pay my debts. Anyway, it is a tricky situation to be in and I just want the rest of my life to be something I can be proud of and that brings me joy instead of the fog of depression that has hung over me for the majority of my life. I need a new (or any) career, but at the same time I don’t think I want one. That’s the insane part. I want; but I don’t want. I need; but I don’t need.

It doesn’t help at all that all three of us in my household are going through this thing. Stephanie and I are 40 and our other roommate is 42. We have all experienced something that in the last 3 years has thrown us into life changing decision mode. None of our lives turned out how we expected or hoped for (which I think happens to most people) and certain specific events have triggered this need to re-evaluate our lives and figure out just what the hell we want and need to be happy for the remainder of our lives. The good part about all of us going through this at the same time is that the insane parts don’t seem to strike at the same time – so while one of us is going nuts, the other two support and talk sense. We are very lucky to have each other and we talk all the time about how we came together at this point in our lives to help and support one another. It certainly makes these changes easier when you have an understanding support system in place.

So while I don’t have any real answers, I do realize that I am in the midst of this transformation that has moments of crisis and like everything else in life – will work itself out in time. I am just really interested to see which me ends up coming out of this. I shaved my head yesterday because I wanted to (I’ve done it before) and I HATE having hair – since I can’t find a job and that is the only reason I let my hair grow out it just made sense to just snap and shave it (#20). It made me so happy I feel manic. I have more joy from having no hair than I would if someone gave me a $10,000 check. I guess it comes down to control really – I can’t control the economy or job market. I can’t control the fact that I have no income right now. I can’t control the apathy of society or fix our government – I can however shave my head and not deal with my hair and that gives me at least some semblance of control over what is going on right now. Whatever. Moments of happiness in a sea of crisis is what a mid-life crisis is all about isn’t it?

Have you gone through a mid-life crisis/transformation or been with someone who has? What was the craziest thing you or a loved one did during that time? Corvette? Shaved head? Yoga? Activism? Career change? 



7 thoughts on “Mid-life crisis or mid-life transformation?

  1. I guess I had a midlife crisis when I filed for divorce. Although, I would call it more of a really smart life change. I didn’t shave anything or buy anything, but I found my smile in the process.

    • My hair is dead weight that bothers me every day – sounds like your former husband resembled my hair. I don’t see major life changes or decisions as a crisis – I see those moments as moments of clarity and it is up to us to act on them or not. I think the mid-life crisis thing is a complete and utter reevaluation of your entire life – not just the act of ridding yourself of things that hold you back. It’s all connected of course – it is all about making our lives better for ourselves and taking control over things we tricked ourselves into believing we had no control over. It is an amazing and frustrating process – but those who face it all usually come out ahead in the end!

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