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Dealing with Midlife Change

midlife career change

Dealing with Midlife Change

 

Benefits of the Midlife Checkup

Taking the time to assess how your life is going at midlife and plan for midlife change can result in benefits such as these:

 

-It can help you identify and intensify your inner strengths.

-You can find your own voice and express it your own way.

-You can accept your changing physical self.

-It is an opportunity to forgive those with whom you’ve been angry.

-It can help you find ways to reduce stress.

-You can learn to simplify your life.

-You can reenergize yourself in preparation for the second half of your life.

Typical Feelings

According to Rocking the Ages authors J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman (researchers at Yankelovich Partners) and authors like Gail Sheehy, people passing through middle age typically experience the following kinds of feelings.

 

Great Expectations: Midlife transition is a time when people are beginning to recognize their own limitations. It is not uncommon to be shocked and even saddened to discover that there are limits to life’s possibilities.

 

Regret: As people reach midlife, they must face up to the loss of some of their dreams and regret the mistakes they have made. It is not easy for anyone to face the person one will never be. The key here is to dig past the dreams into the deeper values and find new ways to live in accordance with those values in the present.

 

Loss: At midlife, everyone has to face the loss of beauty and youth, valued by our society. In her book, New Passages, author Gail Sheehy calls this experience “The Body Blues” or “The Vanity Crisis.”

 

Change: The midlife years can be a time of radical change for many people. This occurs as one evaluates where their life is currently vs. their deepest values. Many midlife crises become mid-life meltdowns, ­says Sheehy, because some people react to feelings of emptiness or disillusionment by destroying everything they have built. The key is to focus on your values and take steps to move in that direction. Midlife change can mean moving from obligation to satisfaction.

 

Reflection: For most people, life at age 45 or 50 doesn’t match the dreams they had at age 20 or 30. When people reach age 45 or 50 and are even slightly disappointed by their achievements and experiences, their feelings are likely to be compounded by a need for control. The tendency to reflect and explore can help one look for new possibilities for midlife change instead of being stuck with feelings of disappointment.

 

The Midlife Checkup

Use this to help you assess your life to date. The items on this list provide a framework for conducting your own midlife assessment. Add your own ideas that you think will help you reflect on your life’s direction.

 

1.     My most important accomplishments are…

2.     I am disappointed about…

3.     I would describe the person I turned out to be as…

4.     I want to change the following things about myself and my life…

5.     Things I want to do before I die…

6.     If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would…

7.     Things I have mastered…

8.     Things I want to keep…

9.     I want to keep these relationships…

10.  I want to let go of these relationships…

11.  I want to keep these possessions…

12.  I want to let go of these possessions…

13.  I want to have these experiences…

14.  I want to clean up these messes…

15.  I want to celebrate…

16.  I don’t ever again want to…

17.  My body is…

18.  My children are…

19.  My parents are…

20.  My spouse is…

21.  I want to remember…

22.  I want to forget…

23.  I must apologize to…

24.  I must seek an apology from…

25.  I am most proud of…

26.  I wish I could forget about…

27.  I wish I could do over…

28.  I wish I had never…

29.  I wish I had…

30.  Add your own items:_____________________________________________________________

Contact one of our counselors for help on Dealing with Midlife Change. Our therapists in Houston are available for face to face sessions as online therapy sessions in limited areas.

To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

 

Recommended Resources

 

Gaiam.com Natural & Organic - Solutions for a Healthy Lifestyle

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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