Midlife is a normal developmental life stage. It is essentially positive and has the specific goal of facilitating the process of becoming a “whole” person.
Saying it is normal means that it cannot be avoided. Live long enough you will encounter it. As you did not avoid adolescence so you will not avoid midlife. Midlife may be denied but not escaped.
It may be that you did not enjoy adolescence and would not want to return to it.
Adolescence was meant to transform you from a child to an adult. It was not meant to be fun. Midlife is also intends to transform you. You may not enjoy midlife. Midlife is trying to take you some place positive. It is trying to guide you to psychological and spiritual wholeness. At midlife you are only half way to that goal. More growth is needed but you may have become comfortably stuck where you are.
Good News and Bad News
The midlife experience provides an opening to psychological and spiritual growth that allows and empowers a giving back to others and the community. This is the good news.
The bad news is that you cannot take this journey without a certain amount of suffering. To suffer means to live through or to allow. You must suffer the loss, change, and letting go of much of what you bring into midlife.
The Second Identity Crisis
In life we have two major identity crises. The first, occurring in adolescence, is to establish an identity. You must get a sense of who you are. The second identity crisis is at midlife when you must give up who you think you are so you can become who you were meant to be.
This transition is not easy and is greatly resisted. Midlife is ultimately about the search for true meaning in life. Whenever we ask about meaning we have asked a spiritual question. Midlife is an opportunity for an awakening into a deeper spirituality.
While midlife gives the opportunity to enliven life many people think that it is a time to recapture lost youth. This is a common but a great misunderstanding. Information is needed to properly take the midlife journey. But, will knowledge do any good?
Does Knowledge Help?
Does it do any good to tell adolescents about adolescence? Do they listen? Will it do any good to tell those who are approaching midlife about it? Will they listen? I believe the answer is, “Yes.” By this age people have had much life experience and are more conscious and aware. They are also asking that essential question, “What does it all mean?”