Crisis management, for midlife adults


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Results are obvious. After doing extensive research on my mindset over the last few months, I can claim I’m in the middle of a midlife crisis. The 40+ crisis. The one that undermines you and want to reboot everything, from your life and family to your work and even friends. You keep waking up in the morning, tired and unhappy to get to work. You don’t see the point of working, of living. And you contemplate your past successes, saying to yourself you don’t even know what led you there.

After several months of this bad treatment, I started reacting. I do have a nice job, a nice position in a place I love, in a rich and enjoyable environment, with a team of colleagues that are nice and helpful, with lots of great project and leading ideas. I have a nice family, nice children, a nice house, and I am healthy. I have volunteer engagements that I like, some prestigious, most useful for the community and citizens. So, I should be happy. Very happy. But for no apparent reasons, I am not. Thus, this crisis.

When it started, I wasn’t sure what was happening. Then when I saw all those symptoms aggregating, I knew I was in a sort of turmoil, a sort of crisis. Research on the web helped me find articles about this « crise de la quarantaine », that makes middle-aged people of both sexes lives untasteful and boring, whatever they were accomplishing. The more I read articles on it, the more obvious it was: I was rebooting.

As I’m still enduring this, I am not able to give any advice yet how to manage it. But thankfully I am aware of what is occurring to me, and that it is a crisis, so that can me managed and handled or mitigated. I am not desperate, as I have plenty of energy and ideas about how to move forward, but this needs decisions and thoughtful ideas. Thus, my last talk at Insomni’hack, mainly about this. Thus, my willingness to relocate for a new job in 1 or 2 years. Maybe. Or not. If the crisis is over.

I wonder if many people endure this too. I should ask our HR department about statistics and how they handle it. It may prove interesting.

Meanwhile, my sincere apologies to my family and relatives, my co-workers, colleagues and employer, and all people counting on me for different tasks. I’ll have to manage that quickly.

Here are some symptoms you can experience during a midlife crisis:

Symptoms of Midlife Crisis

The following is a list of symptoms that illustrate how defining a midlife crisis is truly relative to the person experiencing the changes.

  1. Looking into the mirror and you no longer recognize yourself.
  2. Desiring to quit a good job.
  3. Unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy.
  4. Changing or investigating new religions, churches or new age philosophy.
  5. Change of habits. Activities which used to bring pleasure now are boring. Unable to complete or concentrate on tasks which used to be easy.
  6. It feels good to get hurt.
  7. Wanting to run away from everything.
  8. A desire to get into physical shape.
  9. Irritability or unexpected anger.
  10. Change in allergies.
  11. Desire for physical -Free Flowing- movement (Running, Biking, Dance, Fast red sports cars, Sky diving, etc).
  12. Exploring new musical tastes.
  13. Sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument.
  14. Sudden interest in drawing, painting, writing books or poetry.
  15. Shifting sleep patterns (Typically to less).
  16. Thinking about death, wondering about the nature of death.
  17. Changes to the balance of vitamins you take. Or taking dietary supplements for the purposes of extending life.
  18. Extreme changes to what you eat.
  19. Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good.
  20. Hair changes. (Natural changes in thickness, luster, color or Assisted changes in dying hair suddenly or shaving your head bald)
  21. A desire to surround yourself with different settings.
  22. Hanging out with a different generation as their energy and ideas stimulate you.
  23. Restarting things, which you dropped 20 years earlier.
  24. Upset at where society is going. Experience a desire to change the world for the better.
  25. Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
  26. Leaving (Mentally or Physically) family or feeling trapped in current family relationships.
  27. A desire to teach others or become a healer.
  28. Desiring a simple life.
  29. Excessively looking back to one’s childhood.
  30. Playing again just to play!
  31. Keep re-asking yourself: “Where am I going with my life?”
  32. Getting fixated on new “wonder” solutions to problems.
  33. Recently experiencing something extremely stressful. Stress can trigger a Midlife transformation. Some examples include: Changing Jobs, Divorce, Death of someone close, Chemical/Toxic exposure upon the body or experiencing a major illness.
  34. Doing things that get you into trouble when it surprises everyone as being out of character.
  35. Someone unexpectedly exclaims: “You are going through a midlife crisis!”

 

I do have some of those symptoms. Not so many, but some. Including new glasses I need to wear to read… it’s the first time and even the Wikipedia on midlife crisis quotes this example!

What’s next? I’ll probably write a bit on this issue, later, and how I plan to solve it. There are many people in my exact same situation, so there are solutions !

 

If you happen to have, or have been in a similar turmoil, I’d be interested in your feedback, too.

 

Meanwhile, here are some interesting links

How to quit your life (and reboot): Priya Parker at TEDxUHasselt

Midlife crisis (Wilipedia)

Signs of a Midlife Crisis

3 Comments »

Bruno Kerouanton on avril 17th 2016 in General

3 Responses to “Crisis management, for midlife adults”

  1. scar responded on 21 Avr 2016 at 10:54 #

    An interesting post 🙂

    You mention the word « nice » a lot. I wonder whether that has anything to do with it – whether there’s a stage after settling down at which « nice » isn’t enough?

    I was talking to another friend about something similar recently. Both of us quit our old jobs and are now doing exactly what we’d dreamed of doing for ages. And both of us are currently not in crises (as far as I know, anyway!). But we’ve each noticed a sort of slowing down of excitement.

    The first time she was interviewed in a major magazine in her industry, she celebrated. Now it’s become a regular thing that magazines want to interview her, and a while ago she found herself thinking « Ugh, another magazine interview? » and just thinking of it as an item to tick off from her to-do list.

    I’ve had a similar thing in my industry, too. I thought back to the first time I performed a certain task, and how exciting it was, because it was new. Now it’s just become a function of my to-do list. I still enjoy the task, along with the rest of my job, but the feeling of – excitement? luxury? intrigue? – has gone away. Currently that’s fine by me, I’m happy just being content in what I’m doing day to day. But I can see how after a few years I might feel like it’s too comfortable and not exciting/interesting enough.

    Although from a psychological wellness perspective, I can see why it might have to be the case that we’re not constantly excited by the things we’re doing. That would get exhausting!

    Sorry for writing a blog post in your comments section 😉

  2. Bruno responded on 27 Avr 2016 at 11:37 #

    Thank you for your comment/post, and sorry for the delay of my answer.

    I do agree on your thoughts. We are always more excited for new things, for things we dream of doing, for things we do for the first time. And after a while it becomes less and less interesting, probably. Sure, that happens and as you conclude, that is normal, otherwise we would always behave in excentric ways and get exhausted quite fast.

    We’ll see what happens next. I don’t have any answer yet. Cycling through some passions/hobbies helps prevent the boredom, ie from maths to reverse-engineering, to coding on C64, to physics, then litterature, to electronics, and Ham radio, then political science, then forensics, then pentesting, then music, and so on. That’s the way I usually work, switching from a hobby to another one after several weeks/months, and I’ve got the habit of doing the full circle in approx 1 to 1.5 years. So I’ve done it quite at lot of time, and I enjoy this, since it prevents me to get bored, and helps me learn and improve my skills. The main issue is that this is easily applicable to hobbies, but not to family or professional environment. So I still need to find the right formula, and understand its consequences, to see if it fits on me.
    Anyway, thanks for your note.

  3. anomail responded on 02 Juin 2016 at 16:33 #

    X Looking into the mirror and you no longer recognize yourself.
    X Desiring to quit a good job.
    X Unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy.
    Changing or investigating new religions, churches or new age philosophy.
    X Change of habits. Activities which used to bring pleasure now are boring. Unable to complete or concentrate on tasks which used to be easy.
    It feels good to get hurt.
    ~ Wanting to run away from everything.
    ~ A desire to get into physical shape.
    X Irritability or unexpected anger.
    Change in allergies.
    ~ Desire for physical -Free Flowing- movement (Running, Biking, Dance, Fast red sports cars, Sky diving, etc).
    Exploring new musical tastes.
    X Sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument.
    Sudden interest in drawing, painting, writing books or poetry.
    X Shifting sleep patterns (Typically to less).
    X Thinking about death, wondering about the nature of death.
    Changes to the balance of vitamins you take. Or taking dietary supplements for the purposes of extending life.
    Extreme changes to what you eat.
    Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good.
    Hair changes. (Natural changes in thickness, luster, color or Assisted changes in dying hair suddenly or shaving your head bald)
    A desire to surround yourself with different settings.
    ~ Hanging out with a different generation as their energy and ideas stimulate you.
    ~ Restarting things, which you dropped 20 years earlier.
    X Upset at where society is going. Experience a desire to change the world for the better.
    ~ Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
    X Leaving (Mentally or Physically) family or feeling trapped in current family relationships.
    X A desire to teach others or become a healer.
    X Desiring a simple life.
    X Excessively looking back to one’s childhood.
    Playing again just to play!
    X Keep re-asking yourself: “Where am I going with my life?”
    Getting fixated on new “wonder” solutions to problems.
    Recently experiencing something extremely stressful. Stress can trigger a Midlife transformation. Some examples include: Changing Jobs, Divorce, Death of someone close, Chemical/Toxic exposure upon the body or experiencing a major illness.
    Doing things that get you into trouble when it surprises everyone as being out of character.
    Someone unexpectedly exclaims: “You are going through a midlife crisis!”

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