I grew up believing in the curse of the midlife crisis. I witnessed many people go through difficult times in their 40s and 50s and lose their families and homes. It scared me.
Hollywood’s cliché portrayal of the midlife crisis added to my fears. Movie portrayals of people consumed with self-doubt and unfulfilled dreams — hence the sports car, new lover, hairpiece, facelift, etc. — left a terrible impression on me. I dreaded these years.
I believed in the curse of the midlife crisis until I entered midlife.
Daily I find myself thinking how great life is for me right now. At 47, I can say that I am where I always wanted to be. I’m happy where I am as a woman, wife, mom, daughter, and professional. I feel younger and more energetic now than I did in my 30s, and I did not take any drastic measures. I simply understand my role in this world a little better now.
When I turned 45, it dawned on me that I may be exactly at the halfway point of my life (if genes serve me right, I may live to be 90), but that didn’t hamper my mood. I’m excited to be where I am and look forward to my second half. After nearly five decades in this world, I’ve been through a lot. I have had many ups and downs, enjoyed life’s glorious moments, and now I feel stronger, more confident, and more grateful than ever.
This got me thinking: Is this midlife crisis phenomenon and all the assumptions that go with middle age even real? Does our culture’s obsession with youth play a role in it? Perhaps it’s not about a midlife crisis but rather bouts of unhappiness that we all experience regardless of age? Is it just a negative viewpoint that causes a person to look around and think, Is this all?
It’s time to change the conversation.
I understand now that the term “midlife crisis” is exaggerated and ridiculous. Yes, I get that we have less time on this earth, but that’s exactly why we should be grateful for all the experiences we have had.
I understand now that the term “midlife crisis” is exaggerated and ridiculous. Yes, I get that we have less time on this earth, but that’s exactly why we should be grateful for all the experiences we have had, both positive and negative, and not dwell on what was or wasn’t. There is a huge discrepancy in what I’m told and hear about getting older and how I really feel.
Having worked in advertising for 20 years, I clearly see how media plays a role in this by placing so much value on youth and appearance. Society at large has a belief that our value as women has already peaked and that we are on the decline. That could not be further from the truth.
Over the years, I have talked with many women, asking are we really past our prime? Are 40- and 50-something women really having all these midlife uncertainties and issues? Their answers left me astonished and inspired.
The women I’ve spoken with are not going through a midlife crisis, but rather a midlife transformation.
Our experiences have strengthened our souls. We have picked ourselves up countless times. We love and know when to let go. We venture outside our comfort zone. We find comfort in solitude. We’re creative, we’re influencers, we’re doers, we push ourselves and our families, and we dream big.
Though we are going through transitions and adjustments, we continue on this journey of self-discovery, boldly facing the challenges that lay ahead. While changes, both internally and externally are bound to happen, we need to stop labeling them as a “midlife crisis.” Forget all about that nonsense — you could be 20 or 30 and be in midlife and not even know it.
Wherever you are in life, these are the days you have. Make the most of them. Don’t call them a crisis.
Cynthia Correa lives in Los Angeles. She is the founder of Rocking Over 40.