I decided to look up the meaning of midlife crisis. According to Wikipedia, midlife crisis is a term coined in 1965 by Elliott Jaques stating a time where adults come to realize their own mortality and how much time is left in their life. It can be triggered by virtually anything, from the death of a loved one, to unemployment or underemployment, to health issues, to children leaving home, to unfulfillment in our lives. Whatever the trigger, the result starts us thinking as to how to make significant changes in our day to day lives to bring out a desired result.
And while midlife crisis makes it seem like it occurs in the midpoint of our lives – 40, 50 or 60 years old – it can happen at any point in your life.
My first midlife crisis occurred at 28 years old. My father passed away from a heart attack at the age of 54. After years of smoking, eating and living an unhealthy lifestyle, and years of stress re-interviewing for his 30 year old job, it all built up and caused a major heart attack he never recovered from. It led me to thinking about how I wanted to spend my lifetime and whether a job was truly worth it. With the stress already building in my corporate life, I made the decision very quickly to follow my entrepreneur spirit, and we’ve never looked back. I’ve also taken control of my health from that point forward, exercising regularly, and turning to an organic and vegetarian diet years ago.
And of course from there, little events have happened along the way that have caused me to reevaluate my life and make changes accordingly.
Some people take it all in and make changes. And some people don’t. They continue down the same path time and time again, even when they are facing their own midlife crisis. They get so wrapped up in their current situation that they can’t look beyond it and towards something that will allow them to live a better life.
Why is that?
So I’ve also started wondering what it is that allows you to make the decision to move forward. Is it something that some people have and some don’t? Is it in your genes? Is it something you have to learn?
And the more I thought about it, the more it seems to me it all comes down to enthusiasm.
We’re all born with a fire that drives us. We use it to satisfy our curiosity. We use it to experience life in all sorts of directions.
And then we start conforming to please people. Our parents want something. Our friends want something. Our teachers want something. Our society wants something. And we learn to conform to fit in and please those around us.
For some, they conform so much they lose the fire entirely. The light literally burns out and the rest of their lives are spent doing things just to please others. They have no concept they could and can actually be happy doing something all for them.
For others, the fire dulls to just a few embers. Its still there, ready to rage into life. But only if they have the right circumstances in place to help light the fire all over again.
And that’s where I think midlife crisis’s come into play.
If they come at the right time in your life, they can literally change the way you think, act, and look at life. Yes, I know, there really is never a GREAT time for a midlife crisis.
But in my case, when I lost my father, it made me look at everything I was doing and where I wanted to go from that point on. I couldn’t change the situation. But I could change the way I responded to it. I could blame the system, continuing to think that life was unfair. Or I could learn from what he went through and blaze my own trails for the future.
I chose the latter. And it’s made all the difference.
But what made me choose that over the other?
Ultimately it came down to the fire. I’ve always had a lot on my bucket list. I’ve always had more things I want to do then ever would be humanly possible. Its who I am. So when I looked at my life at that point, I knew I didn’t want to end up in the same situation without having accomplished some of the things on that list.
The fire began to rage. My passion began to grow. By zeal for life shined through. My enthusiasm skyrocketed.
And I made the choice to put my passion over all else, and see it through to the end.
That’s the one thing that holds people back.
They forget their fire.
They forget their passions.
They lose their zeal for life.
To have enthusiasm day in and day out, you have to be doing something you love to do. If you want to be a stay at home mom, you have to approach it as the best job in the world. If you want to start a business, you have to create something you would love doing 24 hours of the day.
No matter what it is, if you can work at it all day long, dream about it, live it and breathe it, it’s a passion. It’s your fire. And it will give you your own zeal for life.
Maybe you haven’t felt that fire in a long time. Maybe you forgot about the passion you held in your heart years ago.
That doesn’t mean its not still there.
You just need something to snap you awake, fan the flames, and get that fire rolling again.
Don’t wait for something drastic to happen – you’re already there. Dig deep down and find your fire.
Then do something to fan the embers. Do some real soul searching to make your plans for the future.
It’s there. I know it is. You just have to find it.