Midlife Calling?

What does it mean: midlife?

We tend to think of it as the time after the age of forty when we begin to realize that life is not forever. Our children are growing up, our reproductive clock is ticking louder and suddenly we become aware that there are certain things we can no longer do – or are no longer expected to know: “Mum, your idea is old news; everybody who uses the internet knew that already.”

Men may not have the noise of their reproductive clock alarming them but they tend to have other hang-ups, like still being able to perform in bed.

Of course, there is no proof that I am past the halfway point of my life just because I’m in my fifties – if I live to 120, I may still be almost a decade short of my midlife.

On the other hand, my midlife may have come and gone. How would I know?

Some people refer to midlife as the period when a crisis causes them to reassess what is important – the midlife crisis, which usually expresses either mentally or physically: Some of use are suddenly confronted with a medical condition that needs immediate attention; others suddenly find themselves experiencing emotional  problems, such as anxiety and depression.

In reality, it is never either physical or mental but a combination of both.

My own crisis came with high blood pressure. After fifty or so years of never having any medical problems, I was convinced that I was healthy and would forever be so, so I ignored all the symptoms: the scales were wrong and the shortness of breath was just my age. Consequently, it took months of feeling increasingly ill before I actually walked into a doctor’s office.

The doctor was quick to say that some people are simply prone to getting high blood pressure at a certain age and I’d have to take medication for the rest of my life or I could be dead tomorrow.

Of course, it wasn’t my age that caused the high blood pressure; it was the accumulation of twenty or so years of keeping my emotions locked inside. Like so many women who want another child, I had been going between hope and disappointed month after month but kept the desire and the pain inside.

The day after I went to see the doctor and was told it was a blood pressure problem, I woke up suddenly knowing what the answer was: I had to open the taps; I was literally drowning in the emotions that had no way out.

This insight was later confirmed when I read Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life.

So I ignored the doctor’s threat, sought the help of a homeopath, an aroma-therapist and a reflexologist, and made some changes to my lifestyle. But most of all I shed all the tears that had been bottled up – privately, since I am still an introvert – and now my blood pressure is back to normal.

Some times it takes a crisis to wake up to what is happening under the surface; to understand that the body and the mind are intimately connected and that our beliefs direct what we experience; that “midlife” may be just a social construct we have grown up to expect.

What if midlife is not meant to be a crisis but a calling?

Midlife may have been calling me; it was alerting me to the need to make some changes to my life; to explore new possibilities and maybe to forget old regrets and explore a new future – I am now a hypnotherapist.

We talk about “a calling” when we mean a vocation; something in life you are meant to do because it is a natural drive and you can’t stop it.

Like so many people, I never got to follow my natural talent when I was young. Being a writer was not considered a job that brought food on the table and going to university was only for the rich, the smart and the eccentric. The word “philosophy” did not get used in our house, so it never even occurred to me that I could get a degree studying it, and despite having written stories since I learned how to write and spending the bulk of my teenaged years at home behind a type writer, the idea of getting published had never crossed my mind.

It took until midlife for me to actually seriously try to get the stories that were by then taking over all of my cupboard space published.

So, I am now living my ‘calling’. I am publishing my   philosophical contemplations in fiction and non-fiction and thereby doing what my nature intended me to do. It helped, of course, that I started to understand what this calling was and personality type theory gave me that understanding.

My advice for anybody struggling with a midlife crisis is to stop fighting with the world and learn to respect and enjoy who you are meant to be.

Don’t call it a midlife crisis; turn it into something positive, something constructive. Consider it a message from your inner self that tells you it is time to pay attention; time to make a change to the focus of your life.

You don’t need to wait for a health crisis. Each of us have  our dominant functions that are super developed and direct what our natural talents are, but even those who have been lucky enough to have lived according to their natural talents may choose to change their focus and have a go at those activities that belong to their weaker functions. For Ns that may mean exploring one’s artistic possibilities or try a hand at DIY, music or a new sport. If you don’t have to make a living with it, it can be a wonderful hobby. For Ss, this may be the time to try something a bit more theoretical; start studying something that always interested you.

In general, midlife is a time to reconsider, rekindle and refocus, but most of all to enjoy. After all, you may have another half a century to go.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: