Aging and Recovery: Turning a Mid-Life Crisis into Opportunity
Mid-Life Crisis Factors
Mid-life presents a unique set of challenges and circumstances. Children leaving the nest and growing unhappiness with a career are common. Also, since the culture of the United States values youthfulness, many in mid-life are unhappy with their aging appearances. All of these factors contribute to what’s commonly known as a mid-life crisis. Recovering from substance abuse can complicate this time of life even further.
You can rise above a mid-life crisis with a truthful self-evaluation, a bit of reinvention and developing realistic expectations.
Many of us dream of being in a different place than where we are right now. Maybe it’s a different city, a bigger (or smaller) house or having a different job. We are ever-shifting, but it’s important to understand that if you’re unhappy right now, it can actually hinder you from getting where you want to be.
Put your energy into re-inventing yourself instead. You’re in recovery, so you’ve already re-invented yourself into a person who prioritizes sobriety. More re-invention will take some hard work, but if it helps in reaching your goals, it will be worth it. Make a plan with a set of reachable milestones and work on one step at a time. Reward yourself at each step to increase your motivation to keep going.
Before you can reinvent yourself, you’ll need to know who you are right now. Being in recovery helps with this as well. You’ve gone through counseling sessions where you’ve explored and understood your strengths, weaknesses, passions and your own story. Armed with this understanding, you can take a realistic look at the world, and match yourself up to opportunities.
A mid-life crisis may be a time of intense emotions, but self-evaluation helps avoid much of the negativity.
Evaluate the following if you feel overwhelmed:
- Work on recognizing and identifying your anxiety.
- Spot the signs that a crisis may be coming.
- Prevent problems with a careful and thoughtful exploration of your options.
- Share your experiences with friends and family.
- Talk to your counselor or group about your feelings.
A Mid-Life Crisis Will Pass
Research studies show that as we pass through mid-life, life satisfaction follows a U-shaped curve. As we near our forties, anxiety, fear, and frustration are common, but as we near our fifties and sixties, there’s more acceptance toward aging, and we eventually bounce back. For some, bouncing back comes from making dramatic life changes. For others, it’s adjustments that happen gradually and naturally as time passes. For most, it’s a shift in expectations and discovering ways to enjoy life as it is.
Easy answers don’t exist, for the most part, so don’t become discouraged. Using the suggestions made here, it’s more likely you’ll move through mid-life and into the next phase with renewed vitality and strength.