A mid-life crisis

Abby Crawford

It’s terminology that’s been floating around since the ‘80s and conjures up images of sports cars, gold chains and mistresses – men who have “lost” who they are in a desperate bid to cling to their youth.

For women it was more hopelessly represented as a time of self-judgement worrying about signs of aging, and losing their self-identity as their children move out, a time of depression and sadness.

And while many emotions may be felt, all through our lives, that have us reviewing our life achievements, auditing our wish list against the reality of our situations and questioning if we are living our “best lives”, I don’t think that’s to do with an age. In fact, I think it’s healthy to constantly review our choices, and change direction as needed throughout our entire lives. Positive approaches to what may be overlooked when other priorities are in play, can really bring the balance back. Let’s face it, there is a lot to juggle in life.

But the negative approach, or perhaps a better description is the condescending dismissal, of a midlife crisis belongs in the past. I am approaching a “zero” birthday and couldn’t be more excited. First up, there are many wonderful and incredible people who have sadly not made it as far as I have along this timeline of life. So, I’m just downright grateful that I have. But secondly, what isn’t there to celebrate?

Often, the hardest yards of child-raising are done. Of course, you’ll always be a parent and your heart literally does beat in your offspring so the love and protective instincts never leave – but it is a hell of a lot easier when there are no more school report cards, no more weekend sport, no more being taxi that really does free up your life. I understand that perhaps there is a sense of loss, of a role of “mothering” being over … but seriously, hallelujah! How good is it to know you’ve given them everything, and will continue to love and support – but from the sidelines!

So, this brings me to the crisis bit … I totally get wanting a sports car. I mean I have been driving a “mum” van for years. And now, I want a BIG change. (Actually, I want a Winnebago but that’s another story). And I get wanting to change your look – I thought I would age “gracefully”, let grey hairs naturally merge and the “laugh lines” deepen to show a life well lived. Turns out, nope, I don’t. I really don’t. And now that I am approaching this big birthday, I want to look the fittest and best I’ve been in my life. So, I’m going to the gym for the first time in 20-plus years. And who knows, I might even go on a date again sometime.

Midlife crisis? I think not. You see, the thing is, I’ve never felt more like me. I know who I am, I speak from my heart, I am proud of my achievements and I regret very little. So, I am walking fearlessly into the next part of my life, and I have big plans. It’s a time to be excited, and to really go for what you want in your life. It’s a time when, yes, I might be less “needed” by my child but that is right, and proper, and natural. And it brings an enormous opportunity to be myself again, to live my life my way. And I just can’t wait. If this is a mid-life crisis? Then I encourage everyone to have one! Personally, I call it next level living. Go on, be the true you that you want to be.

With love, and sadly no sports car,

Abby x •

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