Attention, Whiners (That Would Be Me)

Midlife Crisis Alert.

The day before yesterday, I had a weird day of self-pitying confusion. I was chalking it up to just general tiredness after a busy day, writing deep self-exploratory memoir material in a beautiful tropical setting that contrasted vastly with my frame of mind.

However, this morning a link to an article about this precise issue for Midlifers popped up in my Facebook feed from #KripaluCenterforYoga&Health- including quotes from #MariaSirois and #TheHarvardBusinessReview. Nowww I get it!

You would think that I, as a recent student of Maria’s wonderful Kripalu program Rejuvenate & Reclaim Life after 40, would especially be aware of this, but no- I forgot. Every thing in the article’s reference material precisely described what I experienced.

From Hannes Schwandt, The Harvard Business Review:

“Paradoxically, those who objectively have the least reason to complain (e.g. if they have a desirable job) often suffer most. They feel ungrateful and disappointed with themselves particularly because their discontent seems so unjustified – which creates a potentially vicious circle.”

I thought I was being whiny. Whiny is not what I’m about. I’m here alone so there was only one person in whom I confided my confusion.

Yes, I’m a lot old for a Midlife Crisis. That’s what I thought, but if you envision the “100 Good Years” of Ayurveda, I could very well be at the bottom of the U.

The U: In youth, 20s, 30s, we go merrily along. Then we can hit the bottom of this visual “U” in our 40s, 50s (or 60s, in my case). After hitting bottom, in our 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, we gain insight and rise up again.

Janet Arnold-Grych:

“In our youth, we are filled with fire and expectation. In midlife, we begin to become aware of a balance sheet we’ve constructed that tallies effort and outcome, anticipation and realization. In many cases, we feel we’ve come up short somehow in what we’ve done or who we’ve become. Even if we stand in a very good place, things can somehow seem flawed. Add to that our increasing awareness of the ticking of time, and we might find ourselves wading in dis-ease, exhaustion, or befuddlement.”

 Yeah. That’s where I was the other day.

Maria Sirois, Kripalu:

“You don’t want to deny what’s happening because, in some ways, it’s part of normal human development,” says Maria. “You might not even have language for this burgeoning transition and that’s okay. Explore it the way a young child might—get really interested in it.”

“Get really interested in it.” YES! I was really trying to figure out the “why” of it.

I confess. Two days ago I was even saying: Maybe I should just chuck this whole writing thing. WTF! I love writing!

From the Kripalu article:

Harvard Business Review labels midlife malaise a natural state; Maria terms it a wake-up moment. ‘Yes, it can be scary,’ she says, ‘but it can also be tremendously exciting when we recognize that we do have options in terms of reshaping our lives.’ You might naturally bob up from that midlife murkiness without paying it too much attention, but taking the time to thoughtfully explore both the downward slope and rising terrain will give you clarity as you move into the next exciting phase—whatever that might be.”

For more insight, I suggest that you explore the articles below. There’s some very beneficial content for anyone at the bottom of the U.
I’m on my way up.

Links to the referenced content:
Janet Arnold Grych for Kripalu The Midlife Roller Coaster
Hannes Schwandt, The Harvard Business Review, Why So Many of Us Are Experiencing a Midlife Crisis
Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic, The Real Roots of the Midlife Crisis

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