Experiencing burnout and the strong desire for change? You might be having a midlife crisis! Think you’re too young? Read on to discover the age for a midlife crisis, and why it could be earlier than you think.
I was in the same boat as you and it started a few years back at the ripe old age of 35.
I know, I know, it might seem a tad premature, but trust me, I was experiencing all the classic symptoms – work burnout, restlessness, and a strong desire to shake things up.
If you’re new here, welcome to Mom Meets Midlife! My name is Erin and I’m, as you probably guessed, a mom entering midlife.
In this post, I’ll spill the beans on what I discovered during my early midlife crisis journey.
So, What Is the Age for a Midlife Crisis?
You’ve probably already googled this question.
And like me, you probably kept seeing the same numbers pop up – 40-60.
But hey, there’s some good news – there’s a ten-year wiggle room on either side of that range. Phew, that’s a relief for those of us who haven’t quite hit the big 4-0 yet. I mean, I was starting to think I was losing my mind.
Turns out, after reading up on it, I realized that my concerns and the urge to change everything are perfectly normal midlife crisis symptoms.
I think in today’s world, with the intense pressures of living through a pandemic, and work-life balance getting more and more difficult, the midlife crisis age range is more realistically 35-65.
So, cheers to us for not being alone in this wild ride!
My Early Midlife “Crisis”
My midlife crisis started a few years ago.
I felt absolutely stuck in a demanding job that felt like it had very little room for growth. In fact, when I think about the state of public education in 5, 10, 15 years it makes my stomach turn into knots. The thought of it for 20 more years while trying to be a good mom and wife had me feeling short of breath whenever it crossed my mind.
I was coming home, totally exhausted and cranky, sending my kids off to watch the television so I could be left alone for at least an hour. We were eating out more than I care to admit because I had no energy to cook or even make a decision about dinner. Something absolutely had to change!
My brother, who was also a teacher, quit his job last year, moved to Colorado, and found his dream remote job in hospital recruiting. He was 32. Many of us start to see a world of possibility and realize that we don’t have to stick to the status quo. I don’t know who to give credit to for this quote, but I love it-
“You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.”
I came to the realization, as did my brother, that things don’t have to feel this bad. We have full control over our lives. I know sometimes circumstances make it difficult to make a change, but we also shouldn’t look at change as a bad thing.
We only get to do this life once, my friends!
As a result of these feelings of being “stuck” I decided to leave my career in public education in pursuit of part-time self-employment and passive income opportunities. I want to be more available for my families and have the space to explore my interests and things that bring me joy.
We all deserve that!
Can You Have a Midlife Crisis at 30?
I would argue yes.
When you are thirty, you’ve probably been in your current career for at least 5 years. Maybe you’ve even been in a long-term relationship for several years. Perhaps you’ve had a few children and you feel like you’ve lost your identity as an individual.
If you are feeling stuck and experiencing any of the signs I discuss further on in this post, it’s possible you’re in the middle of a midlife crisis. I mean, you’re a full-blown adult at this point with very real adult problems and challenges.
Call it a quarter-life crisis if you want. I don’t think it really matters. Either way, you will want to explore your feelings and develop healthy coping strategies.
What Causes a Midlife Crisis?
I have to admit, I hate the word crisis. It implies that your whole world is falling apart and in dire need of help. Prior to my own midlife experience, I pictured people having affairs, divorces, buying sports cars, and depression. In truth, I often pictured men.
It turns out, these types of severe crises are rarer than most people think. It is true, though, that midlife gives us new challenges that we all deal with differently. Those challenges can include:
- new health concerns
- financial worries
- planning for retirement
- balancing work and caregiving
- concerns about our parents
- marital challenges
I sometimes like to use the term “midlife funk” instead of “midlife crisis” because it has less of a negative stigma and severity tied to it. It reflects to true nature of the situation.
What Are the Signs of a Midlife Crisis and/or Funk?
Ok, so you’re going through one or more of these challenges, it could lead to midlife funk. How could it not?! Here are the signs to look for:
- feeling unfulfilled
- seeking change
- feeling a sense of urgency to complete life goals
- regret or nostalgia
- increased anxiety about the future
- increased impulsivity (be careful with this one!)
I think the tipping point from midlife funk to midlife crisis is all in how you cope. If you have healthy coping strategies, you can get through it and come out the other side a better person.
If you develop unhealthy coping strategies, you’re looking at reckless behavior and possibly substance abuse. Get the help you need!
Flip the Midlife Narrative
I would really like to change society’s perspective on what midlife is and how we define a “crisis.” We shouldn’t feel like making changes for our betterment is a result of a psychological issue or an impulsive decision or some bizarre attempt to regain our youth.
I LOVE that this article says that we should:
“consider midlife as a vibrant period with unprecedented opportunities and challenges.”Infurna FJ, Gerstorf D, Lachman ME. Midlife in the 2020s: Opportunities and challenges. Am Psychol. 2020 May-Jun
My vibrant midlife period has so far involved me getting my nose pierced (because HECK I always wanted to!), resigning from my career of 13 years, and deciding to stay at home with my youngest for a few years. I’m planning on increasing my real estate investments and seeking out new and exciting side hustles that speak to my interests. It feels a bit like the world is my oyster right now!
Are there people shocked by my decision? Of course! I’m doing something against the norm. I choose to believe that this is better for me and my family than risking further deterioration of my mental health and damaging relationships with my husband and children beyond repair.
So, whether you’re 30, 40, 50, or 60, it’s ok to go through some midlife funkiness. The age for a midlife crisis could be any time in our adulthood.
A lot happens in that timeframe. Having kids, kids busy with activities, kids going to college, preparing for retirement, relationship changes, health changes, holy moly!!!
If you’re having a true crisis, I hope you seek and find the help you need. Nobody deserves to be in mental anguish.
If you’re suddenly thinking about changing it up and making some big life improvements, GO YOU! I’m right there with you in spirit. And I promise to keep you posted on how I’m handling my “unprecedented opportunities and challenges.”
Here are some more posts I’ve written on the topic of midlife that I think you will find interesting:
- Early Midlife Crisis: Why It’s Normal and What to Do
- How to Deal with a Midlife Crisis
- Self-Care for Midlife Women
- Ways to Get Out of a Midlife Funk
I’m curious, if you think you are going through a “midlife crisis,” how old are you? What has it looked like for you? Let me know in the comments below.
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