How to overcome midlife issues, and reclaim your life

Written by Kris Kirilova

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

You’re feeling stressed out about major areas of your life, and you wonder – Is this a midlife crisis? For some it may come in their early 30’s, and for others it may be in their 40’s and 50’s. You may begin to question past choices about your career, relationships, or place where you live. This might come as an unexpected layoff, relationship dissatisfaction, or inner boredom.  You can no longer postpone facing the issues.

When I decided to make a career change, it was all about finding more meaning and purpose in my life. Even though I had a good career in Corporate America, I longed for a connection with others, and being able to have an impact on other people.  It was a period of confusion and soul searching.

So you begin to question: Who am I? Where am I going? What do I long for? On the outside, you may look successful – having the money and years of experience but feeling miserable on the inside. Your goal becomes to create a new YOU or fulfill a dream that has been on hold for some time.

I discovered, this is not just about work. It is about your personal life too – creating a better version of yourself with new interests and social connections.  So, if you are asking many what if’s, take a look at my suggestions to uncover the real issues, and reclaim your life:

1.Assess what is causing your dissatisfaction. Is this about your work, relationship, or self-image? What do you think you should have done by this time? What do you desire to have more of in your life? People tend to have regrets about unfulfilled dreams or lost time. You can continue to agonize about your situation or find ways to quiet the noise. Forgive yourself, and focus on things that move you forward.

2.Evaluate what has shifted in you that you desire a change? Who do you want to be? Is your partner on your side?  Does he understand your concerns, and the changes happening in you?  If you have his support – you already have an advantage.  If not, you need to have an open communication about your needs, and negotiate how you will support each other.

3.Where do you find meaning and satisfaction? At midlife, you may desire to take on a new direction – move across the country, focus more on yourself, your health, self-image and feeling more confident. Life is not just about accomplishments, and running for the next promotion. May be you have a creative talent that has been on hold. So, how can you add something fulfilling? It could be a new hobby, running your own business, a new job, or giving to others.

4.Maintain a positive mindset. Your happiness depends on how you see yourself and the world… not just what’s going on around you. Some people feel as they grow older, they have fewer options, and they limit themselves.  There is a negative connotation assigned to getting old.  Challenge that belief because it limits your potential. Most people would not give up the wisdom and maturity gained through the years.  Use this turning point to pursue a new dream or create something you’ve always wanted.

5.Find a support network. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Some people may exit your life as your interests and direction shift. As you open new doors, be prepared for new experiences and connections to enter your life. Seek contacts who could be good role models, and join new groups via LinkedIn or meetups.

Most importantly you want to re-define what “good” life and success mean to you. With time our priorities and identities evolve.  What do you want the next page to say about you? How can you create some positive change to give you more fulfillment at midlife & beyond?

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