Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like?


Since people have been telling me for years that I was “40 in a 4-14-24 year old body” I didn’t think turning 40 was going to be a big deal. I’ve kind of looked forward to it, embracing the idea of crossing a magic line where insecurity and fear and self-awareness issues would fall by the wayside.

I should have known there is no such thing as a magic line.

I find my mind drifting into these unproductive lines of thought like:

  • “Have I actually accomplished anything of value?”
  • “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
  • “What’s really important to me? What values define my life?”

Outside of those existential questions, I’m having even more pressing concerns:

  • “Do I look like one of those women who is trying to cling to her youth by dressing like a teenager, piercing her nose, and putting a white-blonde streak in her hair?”
  • “If I get a tattoo and trade in the Suburban for an Audi TT coupe, will everyone point at me and say, ‘Oh, she’s having a mid-life crisis,’ and if they do, why do I care?”
  • “Can I just do a total transformation and become, say, a granola-eating hippie type who goes barefoot and refuses to wear make-up?”
  • “Does my husband think I’m a total lunatic? Is he as weirded out by my almost-40 year old physique as I am?”

I wouldn’t call it a crisis, although I can certainly see how it could become one. Failing to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings as the cumulative product of cultural expectations, physical changes, and the stress brought on by dramatic, and rapid, shifts in family dynamics has the potential to run away with me.

After a month of unusual highs and lows, I’ve come to the conclusion that we, as a society, need to come up with a new way to go through mid-life. We need to embrace our ADULT years in healthy, productive and life-enhancing ways. (People actually do this all the time, we just don’t hear about it.)
It’s foolish to think a mid-life “crisis” is inevitable. It’s equally foolish (and naiive) to believe that there will be no changes required of us during that time frame.

Instead of falling into a pit of blues and blahs about the aging process, feeling sorry for myself because I’ve yet to accomplish all my dreams, goals, and desires (if I had, what would be the point of continuing?), I want to face this transition with an attitude of hope and a positive outlook.

Transition is never comfortable. It’s the absolute worst time of the whole labor and delivery process for most women. It’s also not the time to freak out, lose focus, or quit. Instead, you keep yourself fixed on the idea you’re almost to the good part! You’re just about ready to meet the little person you’ve conceived and carried and developed for all that time.

So, who’s the person about to be revealed in me? In my husband?

Who is about to be revealed in you?

We can have a “life crisis” at any age or during any major change – graduation, getting married, becoming a parent, losing a parent, changing jobs, changing a lifestyle, moving to a new community, etc. It’s up to us how we navigate the change.

We can make the transition with grace and allow ourselves to grow up into the person we were created and designed to be all along. Just think, the very best you imaginable is on the other side of that curtain. Aren’t you ready to get to know yourself? After all, you’ve been “in research and development” all this time. Let’s unveil the results!

Just for fun, some celebrities turning 40 this year include: Andre Agassi, Chris O’Donnell, Claudia Schiffer, Debbie Gibson, Ethan Hawke, Gabrielle Reece, Jason Lee, Jennifer Connelly, Joseph Fiennes, Kelly Ripa, Kirk Cameron, Kirk Franklin, Laura Boyle, Leah Remini, M. Shyamalan, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Martha Plimpton, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, Rachel Weisz, Rick Schroeder, Tina Fey, Uma Thurman, Will Arnett and Vince Vaughn. 

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7 thoughts on “Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh no! I'm only a year from 40. I often think about the same things you mentioned. What is and is not appropriate for a "lady" of my age. Aaack! :O)

  2. Anonymous says:

    forty.. try 50! one year away , those and new questions are showing up..only In stead of me, me is now we… when are we retiring, can we, will we have enough money…will we be here long enough to watch the grand children grow up? .The truth in the "crisis" is live for today, tommorrow isn't here yet, and yesterday is long gone… 40 is truly a wake up call… saying it is time to live, love, and laugh!

  3. Andrea says:

    AMEN, Sister! I will be 44 in June and I am just now embracing the person GOD created me to be.
    Hugs, andrea

  4. rev712 says:

    I say old is a state of mind so I'll probably be clinging to my youth as long as I live. It's either that or embrace "oldness." How old are we really in the light of eternity? We're already classic and well on our way to becoming a priceless antiques so it looks good to me. And good antiques only get better and especially when you're Gods masterpiece!

  5. patti says:

    Apparently my great-grandmother said all folks have mid-life crises–some during the teen years, some during the 20s–some at middle age–and that's the worst!

    Great article, Niki, especially the self-examination part.

  6. Niki Turner says:

    I love knowing I'm sharing this "boat" of sorts with such other wonderful ladies!

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