How to navigate midlife issues?

by: Kris Kirilova

Kris is a counselor & owner of Career Life Choices – a counseling practice in Arlington Heights, IL.

Do you find yourself grappling with stress and questioning major aspects of your life? Perhaps you’re wondering if this is a midlife crisis, a phase that can strike in your early 30s or later in your 40s and 50s. It’s a period marked by restlessness or unfulfillment, where past choices about your career, relationships, and even your place of residence come under scrutiny. This may be triggered by unexpected events like a layoff, relationship dissatisfaction, or inner boredom. The time for facing these issues head-on has arrived.

Reflecting on my own experience, I decided to make a career change, driven by a quest for more meaning and purpose in my life. Despite a successful career in Corporate America, a yearning for connection with others and the desire to have a positive impact led me through a period of confusion and soul searching.

As you embark on this journey, questioning your identity, direction, and unfulfilled dreams becomes inevitable. The external facade of success, with money and years of experience, may mask internal dissatisfaction. The goal shifts to creating a new version of yourself or fulfilling a long-held dream that has been on hold.

This process extends beyond work; it’s about reshaping your personal life too—crafting a better version of yourself with new interests and social connections. If you find yourself asking “what if” questions, consider these suggestions to uncover the real issues and reclaim your life:

1. Assess Dissatisfaction: Identify the root cause of your dissatisfaction—whether it’s related to work, relationships, or self-image. Reflect on unfulfilled dreams and regrets. Rather than agonizing over the situation, focus on forgiveness and actions that propel you forward.

2. Evaluate Desired Change: Understand the shifts within you that signal a desire for change. Communicate openly with your partner, seeking their support and understanding of your evolving needs. Negotiate how you can mutually support each other during this transformative phase.

3. Find Meaning and Satisfaction: Explore new directions that bring meaning and satisfaction. This could involve relocating, focusing on personal well-being, self-image, and increased self-confidence. Midlife is an opportunity to pursue creative talents, whether through a new hobby, entrepreneurship, a career change, or philanthropy.

4. Maintain a Positive Mindset: Challenge negative beliefs about aging that may limit your potential. Embrace the wisdom and maturity gained over the years as assets. Shift your mindset towards pursuing new dreams and creating what you’ve always wanted.

5. Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who believe in your journey. Embrace new experiences and connections as you open new doors. Seek role models and expand your network through platforms like LinkedIn or local meetups.

Ultimately, this midlife transition is an opportunity to redefine what a “good” life and success mean to you. Priorities and identities evolve over time, and it’s essential to shape the next chapter consciously. What story do you want the next page of your life to tell? How can you instigate positive change to bring more fulfillment into your midlife and beyond? The answers lie in your journey of self-discovery and growth.


PS: If you need support and guidance to find renewal and purpose, please check out the Women’s Midlife Circle.

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