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A Much Needed Mid Life Crisis January 5, 2006

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

You canít fake it forever. Every part of you so deeply hidden, so franticly avoided, so fiercely ignored will emerge into the light of day for everyone to see. Maybe it comes during adolescence, or perhaps it comes out in marriage. Some have this experience when the kids arrive. However, a great many people experience it during mid life.

Ah yes, you can see him in your mind right now. Heís the stereotyipical 40-something, baseball cap-wearing, head-balding, convertbile-driving, gotee-sporting, Mount Kilaminjaro-climbing, affair-having, I-can-do-what-I-want-because-Iím-mad-as-hell-and-Iím-not-going-to-take-it-anymore male. Mid life sneaks up on this guy, possesses him like a demon, and makes him act out his latent teenager fantasies that have been festering since Jenny Sizemore dumped him in the 10th grade.

Mid life is a curious stage. With mid life comes deeper insight into age. With mid life comes the awareness of oneís own mortality. The knees crack, the back is sore, and there is a faint ringing in the ears. Hair that once grew on the head now grows on the ears; an unusual follicle migration has occured. People grow heavier, but not taller. They can remember 30 years ago, but not yesterday. The adolescent sprint has become a middle aged long-distance run. Words like arthritis and old suddenly mean something and can be applied to oneself. People in mid life start to wonder if there is enough time to do everything they want to get done. The road behind is longer than the road ahead. The kids (now bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter than they are) are ready to vacate the nest, or might even be gone. The choices of the past have narrowed the options for the future. Weeks fly by faster than single days used to and is it already 2006?

In short, with mid life comes the realization that everyone dies and you are closing in on it.

So, mid life comes in with its awareness and realization and drives people into a neo-adolescent pattern of crazed self-destruction. Or does it? Does the onset of mid life produce this apparent temporary insanity? Could it be that there was a pre-existing, ever-present, and ongoing insanity that has finally found an outlet for itself in mid life?

Rather than mid life causing this lunacy, maybe it only expopses it. Think about it. Mid life moves a person into undeniable truths about life, aging, and death. Can a shallow person maintain his ruse with such wisdom, depth, and meaning pressing itself into his aura? How long can a person trifle along in life and get away with it?

For the person of depth, on the other hand, mid life is a welcome stage. Rather than trying to be not old, these solid and grounded people embrace the opportunities that age brings with it. A generous and benevolent spirit grows within them, realzing that the self-indulgent and superficial life they were never comfortable with anyway was a waste of time, just like they always thought it ways. So, in response to the realization that the clock is ticking, they use their position and resources to pass on wisdom and values to the next generation.

What is really happening with these deep people is the same thing that happens with the shallow people Ė their true self is revealed. So, mid life is only a crisis for the people who have accumulated a pile of life experiences that have shaped their character into something regrettable. Mid life is a meaningful and eagerly anticipated transition for the people who have accumulated a pile of life experiences that have shaped their character into somehing honorable.

Like I said, you canít fake it forever. So, when the big reveal comes, make sure youíve lived a life you donít mind the world seeing.



1. DJG - January 5, 2006

This is so refreshing. I have commented to someone lately that turning 40 was very liberating for me. I realized I don’t have to do things to make people happy if I it is things I don’t want to do. I felt like I was old enough for people to take me seriously, but I didn’t have to take myself so seriously anymore. I mean, who really cares if I can still slalom on a water ski?

2. songbirdintl - January 5, 2006

Wow! This is great insight into aging! And I agree with DJG, it’s refreshing!

3. David U - January 5, 2006

I turned 50 this year Chris, so this resonates with me BIG TIME! Thanks for the wisdom and encouragement.

Keep em coming!

4. James - January 5, 2006

Great post, and very sound advice. You oughta be a counselor or something.

Seriously, I remember being in a men’s study not so long ago as a man who’d lived out his “crisis”, perhaps more publicly than even he’d realized, shared his spiritual struggles as he grappled with the realizations you speak of. His advice was quite similar to your own, and what struck me, was that he’d entered it as a weak man…weak husband, father, and Christian…but come out stronger in all the above. I think God uses the mid-life crises not just as a time of revelation, but of repentance and rededication (3 r’s unintentional). It’s one of those refining fire times of life (fourth r totally unintentional, too…is this a disease only ministers have?).

5. TL - January 5, 2006

You’re the greatest! I may have to link to this post!

6. Milton Stanley - January 5, 2006

Insightful and well said. I linked to your post at my blog today. Peace.

7. Fajita - January 5, 2006

Thanks for comments and links – love them links. Peace.

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