I can hear the whispers now
"She bought a Jeep..."
"Oh My -- now she's getting a tattoo..."
"She must be going through a midlife crisis..."
The words midlife crisis conjure up visions of little red sports cars and people doing outrageous and impractical things. A lot of attention was brought to light about this in the 1980's. Most people view it as a joke or a bad thing.
First off, for most people it's not a crisis. A crisis is a dangerous, unstable situation. Health experts agree a crisis is accompanied with serious depression.
Now, these same experts are looking at this midlife transition as a more normal part of life -- of growing as a healthy adult. It's not a bad thing -- it's growth as a person. Yale Psychologist Daniel Levinson's well regarded theory of adult development says that all adults go through a series of stages. The midlife transition is simply a normal transition to another stage of life.
We all should embrace this transition. We all should support each other through these transitions. It's not a joke and for some people it's a very hard road to walk especially alone when friends and family are not supportive.
Sometimes you hear the words my spouse isn't the same person I married. Well, I hope not. As humans we need to grow and change and become better people -- improve our lives. As we grow our goals and priorities change.
Men and women experience these transitions differently, just as working moms and stay at home moms. These midlife transitions can be enlightening for some and tough for others.
I'm a stay at home mom and gave up my career to raise my family. Now the time has come where they don't need me as much. No they are not going off to college but they are now at the age where they are self-reliant. My parenting role has changed. Now I ask myself "What now?" A lot of moms go through this stage of feeling like they've lost their identity. But I haven't lost my identity I found a great new opportunity to create a new one.
For the most part I have raised my children - I still have a lot left to do -- but their self-reliance has opened up time for me. I am able to rediscover some of those dreams and goals I tucked away 15 years ago. It also gives me the opportunity to create new dreams and goals for this next phase of my life.
So yes -- my days of spending hours at PTA meetings, volunteering as a room parent or planning family fun nights are over. It's my time now to explore new dreams and possibilities for myself and with my family.