|Can't read this? Read it below or click here to read the original article in StarBiz 25 May 2013|
(Another recommended article to share here. It is written by Carol Yip, co-organizer with Seniorsaloud of the 2-day "LIVE YOUR BEST YEARS" workshop. It addresses many of the concerns that baby boomers face.)
MANY times our wake-up call comes at midlife in the form of a meltdown. It is at midlife that we are brought to a situation where we need to change our behaviour, attitude, beliefs or even lifestyle.
It is a period when you feel lost or confused and it may be even your lowest. The cause can be anything from stagnation in personal development, career crisis, unhappy marriage, stressful relationship, issues with children to simply living without a purpose. Some struggle with age related problems ageing and menopause for women or andropause for men.
Or it could be grieving due to death of a loved one or parents or just fatigue from living day-to-day routine. Individuals experiencing a midlife dilemma are often searching for an uncertain dream or goal, feeling a deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished, desiring to achieve a feeling of youthfulness, needing to spend more time alone or with certain peers, wanting to start a business or to do something that he or she is passionate about, perhaps even humanitarian work. At times, midlife trials have a way of stripping us completely of pride, ego and financial comfort zone.
What is midlife after all?
Midlife is part of a person's phase of life. You may be in your 30s, 40s or even later, if you live long enough you could encounter it. Just as you did not avoid adolescence so you will not avoid your midlife, if it happens.
But really, we should all learn to embrace it. Midlife will transform you. You may not know what you want, but during midlife, you will have to navigate the good and bad.
This transition may not be easy. During midlife, some people find that they discover the true meaning in life. Some struggle with this period. Sometimes, different behaviours appear, such as abuse of alcohol and/or drugs, shopaholism, image makeovers or big ticket purchases. Some people think that it is a time to recapture lost youth. Yet others find that they sail through without difficulties.
Midlife and career
If you are feeling bored, frustrated and not motivated by your current career direction, chances are you are living your midlife crisis. You may have a vision of an ideal career that you think is more in line with your expectations of happiness and financial success. You also may feel that this other path will fulfil a life mission, making your life more meaningful for you.
You must have the right mindset to prepare for a career transition if you are thinking of a career change in your midlife. Otherwise, the transition can cause more emotional stress if you end up struggling daily in your new job and environment. You may end up job hopping, which is not good for your resume. Don't forget that you will need your employment income for financial support unless you have saved enough money or have assets that generate monthly income for your living expenses.
Leaving a job to search for true meaning in life without sufficient backup funds in place can lead to serious problems. Therefore, you must evaluate carefully to ensure that the career move is what you want and will meet your purpose. Think twice before you run away from your current career just because you are not happy with life in general.
Midlife and retirement
Midlife crisis can even happen during the retirement years. A recent article from Daily Express revealed a survey report that a third of people in the age group of 60s are undergoing a period of questioning the meaning of their lifes. In the same survey, they found that one third of men and women went through a period of “developmental crisis” in their 60s.
Psychologists said that it differed from a midlife crisis in which middle-aged people take stock of their career or life achievements. When asked what triggered their change in behaviour, the top responses were the death of a friend, family member or colleague, divorce and children growing up and leaving home.
In the same article, Dr Oliver Robinson from the University of Greenwich, who was behind the research, said that while some individuals responded with the expected disappointment, others people set new goals for themselves and learned to appreciate their surroundings more. He said it seemed that when loss-inducing events occur together or in close proximity in time, a person's capacity to cope in their 60s is overwhelmed and a later-life crisis is precipitated.
Unfortunately, it can be financially challenging if the desire to live the best years of retirement results in spending substantial sums on impulse purchases, expensive hobbies or marriage splits.
Be mentally and financially positive
If you're experiencing a midlife meltdown, be encouraged. Midlife meltdowns do have a positive side to them. You just need to be strong to ride through the turbulent situation with endurance, patience and a strong will to search for what you really, really want so that you're happy with your life.
Midlife trials can shape you into a stronger, wiser and better person. It is all in how you perceive it. You may want to talk to a counsellor to help guide you to find some answers.
While you are searching for answers, you still need to be mindful of your financial situation. Don't let your midlife crisis blues drain you financially. Watch out for your spending behaviour.
Spend wisely during this transition because you still need to cover your financial commitments such as housing and car loans, insurance policies, credit card payments, taxes and living expenses. You must also continue to save money for your emergency fund, investment and retirement account.
Healthy finances will contribute to a less stressful situation when you are in the process of searching for answers about meaning in life and happiness. So, the best advice as you live through your midlife is to pay attention to your personal finances and avoid getting into a financial crisis.