Life coach for midlife, 40, 50, 60+
Midlife is a transition, and like all transitions, it can be pretty rough. A life coach for midlife, who specialises in people who are 40, 50, 60+ might tell you that the beginning of midlife is a transition, and like most transitions, it can be handled. Middle-aged people are, in a sense, blessed to have the chance and see their lives transform.
Some readers might find it funny that I mention each decade separately from the 40s up to the 100s. And why not? Since we usually refer to the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s in their entirety, I think the same should apply to the rest of the milestones. So why is it that most services or official forms stop at the ages of 60 or 65+? Why should people in their 70s, 80s, 90s, 100s, 110ths feel left out, especially when our life span keeps increasing?
Is there a midlife crisis?
Midlife crisis is a debated issue. On the one hand, it is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a mental illness. On the other hand, the symptoms can sometimes be so intense that a doctor, psychologist or mental health professional should be consulted. The truth is that not everyone experiences midlife symptoms in the same way, and this is one reason that researchers believe the term midlife crisis might be a social construct.
In fact, the term was coined by Elliott Jaques in 1965, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it gained widespread recognition when Gail Sheehy wrote about men experiencing a midlife crisis in their early 40s. But in spite of the term gaining momentum as a cultural phenomenon, a lot of research has been unable to demonstrate the existence of a midlife crisis. In fact, according to research by Prof. Margie Lachman, Prof. Elaine Wethington and a study funded by the National Institute on Aging, the percentage of adults who experience midlife crisis is low.
Could it be that, in reality, we often experience mishaps during our middle years that could have happened at any time in our lives? Just bear in mind that some of the things that seem to be a pattern today (changing jobs, losing friends, going through different relationships) were also happening before we turned 40. But we tend to notice them now and label them as “midlife crises”.
The good news regarding midlife
More research suggests something interesting: human wellbeing follows a U-shaped pattern throughout our lives: we are very happy when we are young, but then gradually move towards the bottom of the curve (during our midlife), only to begin feeling happy again later on in life. The fact that many people experience a low point in their 40s might be sufficient for some to claim that midlife is an unhappy period. Still, this could be an overgeneralization.
It is also a matter of perspective. One could view this low point during our middle age as a pause and chance for self-reflection and transformation. In other words, midlife is only a transition, and significant changes are always rough. Yet they also provide opportunities for growth.
The middle-aged and endless opportunities
A case in point: you may feel depressed now that your children have their own lives and you are all alone, but a shift in perspective could reveal that now is the time to form new lasting, meaningful relationships and friendships. Or perhaps now is the time to educate yourself (there are tons of free or cheap courses online even at top universities). And if education is not your thing, why not learn a new craft or immerse yourself in the world of arts?
Last but not least: how about realising that you need to start taking good care of yourself? Why not talk to a nutritionist or trainer who specialises in older people (after consulting with your doctor, of course)? How about writing the book you’ve been postponing? Or at last, how about pursuing your lifelong dreams? And if all this seems like too much work (this is where a coach can be handy), or if you have already found peace and fulfilment in your life, how about expressing gratitude to the people that matter to you?
In the end, keep in mind that midlife crisis is a controversial term. While it might be true that some people start to feel low in their 40s, it is a transitioning phase, and by changing your mindset and perspective, you can often experience things differently. If you think you cannot cope with a midlife crisis or feel overwhelmed, you should consult a doctor or psychologist. However, if you are managing well and succeed in overcoming the often irrational fear of midlife, your middle years can be the beginning of new learning, experiences, and a new trajectory in life.