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Mid-life crisis? crisis, transformation or damned good fun?

Mid-life crisis - how to recognise if you are there!

crisis, transformation or damned good fun?

Picture this…. It’s a sunny balmy day, the hubster and I have decided to go out for a pub lunch in leafy Surrey. Should we go in his car or mine? Decision made we jump in his car, roll back the roof and with huge grins on our faces rev the engine loudly and roar out of our road feeling like teenagers!
Driving from LA to Morro Bay!
Deffo' a mid life crisis car!

 Was our behavior a manifestation of a mid-life crisis? Well predictably we don’t think so………. we just think we are hurtling down the road in a sporty car because we have reached an age when we can finally afford to have a car “just for fun”. We decided that a mid-life crisis is nothing more than envy from the “young people!”.

The phrase mid-life crisis, (MLC), got me thinking. A term normally referring to men it seems that women are being recognized as going through this funny stage of life too. Certainly according my younger child! Maybe they are right. I do have a penchant for Converse, high heels and my well-worn faux leather jacket, not to mention still loving going to see my favourite bands!

So if said child is right in their assertion how would such a crisis manifest itself in a woman and are they in fact correct, Marj, yes that is their nickname for me, is going through a MLC!

My first thoughts are that women really do go through a very real change from their 40s onwards with the menopause. It is a real bona fide “change of life”. Of course as we are peri-menopausal and later menopausal we experience a whole host of other potential MLC triggers. If we have had children, we are now facing the empty nest syndrome and in a culture where youth and beauty are intrinsically linked to success it is no wonder many women will lose their equilibrium for a while! I know I definitely did experience deep sadness when the children left home. I spent months trying to work out what my purpose was.

You might be questioning what you have achieved in life or what you fancy doing with your life that brings a lot more purpose. I know I have become much more vocal about causes I care about and I had to let out my inner creativity instead of ignoring it as it screamed aloud inside me. I too no longer crave “things” for the sake of having things”. I just want a simpler life.

Suddenly I have found myself needing to be “great” or “worthwhile”. This is huge burden to carry and I know I am not the only woman who feels like this. Somehow we have to work out and believe that actually just by being a woman we are inherently “great”.

Reflecting on my changes in behavior have got me wondering whether in fact this period is a crisis or in fact a changing time where I am re-establishing my identity. I am still a mother but my role has changed. I am still ambitious, but for different things. I am still me. The core of me is not in crisis, it’s just tinkering around the edges!

For many of us we are transforming. We are careering out of a long emotional train tunnel finding ourselves feeling different, looking to create a legacy.

But do we all go through this? Arguably a mid-life crisis is often money driven. You know, the sports car, the new clothes, the Botox (or not!). Could this mean that actually MLC is constructed by the middle classes?  Maybe not….

It seems that MLC is not exclusive to humans. Warwick University carried out extensive research led by Professor Oswald with over 500 orangutans. The research showed that apes do in fact suffer the same low at the same period in their life. The good news is that like humans’ things do pick up again. Professor Oswald states that the findings of the research do suggest that it is unlikely that the traditional triggers such as displeasure with our careers or having a little more money in the bank at last, probably don’t cause MLC. There may be a small effect from some aspects of life but they aren’t as impactful as we first thought. He also believes that they can rule out the menopause as a cause of MLC.

 So we are back at square one and perhaps MLC is more to do with the realization that we have probably already lived more years than we have left and in that case we better make those coming years count? In the meantime, as I mull over it all, I will still be found careering down country lanes with Mr. S at a speed that would make Jenson Button green with envy as my bleached blonde hair flies behind me like a peroxided kite with a copy of the Iliad in the foot well and tunes banging out through the stereo! Catch me if you can!

Does any of this ring true with you? Are you reading this as you get ready for a night out on the tiles? I would love to know I am not alone. Please do leave your comments below.

Janie S x
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