Maybe it’s my age, or my friends’ ages, but I run into a lot of people that just feel “uneasy” about where they’re at in life. They can’t quite put their finger on what is bothering them: their lives are “good” and “complete” and yet they feel discontent about it.
There might be different flavors of it, but essentially, my friends, it’s a mid-life crisis.
I’m definitely in this camp. The whole “what is my purpose?” question is enough to send me into a full on anxiety attack. “I don’t know what my purpose is! I’ve tried to find it and I still don’t KNOW.”
I think I’ve been suffering a mid-life crisis for at least the past year, probably longer. Fumbling along, trying to make whatever it is in my soul that is not happy, happy and complete.
I’ve read books and blogs on happiness, habits, purpose, and fulfillment. I’ve tried to be more reflective. I’ve tried making lifestyle changes. I’ve tried ignoring it. And although I didn’t buy a sports car, I did buy a house in the woods, so…
It hasn’t gone away, but it has gotten better. Significantly better. And I think these tools are the reason why.
Tool 1: Meditation
I know, this meditation thing is all over the self-improvement arena and you’re probably sick of hearing it, but seriously, nothing can calm my shit down more than 10 minutes focused on my breath.
When you’re in mid-life crisis, you spend a lot of time feeling “off”, like you’re supposed to be doing something really important, but you don’t know what it is. It’s kind of like a perpetual state of that nightmare where you have to take a test you didn’t study for. Gah!
Meditation calms you by letting you get some distance from your thoughts. It’s like pulling in a friend that can point out where you’re not seeing things so clearly or where your inner-voice is needlessly leading you to Dramaland. Perspective like that is invaluable when you need to figure out what you need to do to feel better.
So, even if you’re sick of hearing about meditation or if you’re doubtful it will work for you or not, try it anyway. And, keep trying it because the practice of meditation is where “the magic” happens.
Tool 2: Journal
Get to know thyself, friend. You’re in mid-life crisis because your brain and heart are trying to tell you something.
Meditation will help you shut up. Journaling will help you listen.
Feeling bugged about something and can’t quite put your finger on it? Write it out. Want to start working on some goal to see if that helps? Journal it. Want to find your purpose? Journal it.
Writing things down helps crystallize your understanding of yourself, which is key when you’re trying to figure out what the hell you need. So give it a go.
And don’t put a bunch of rules and baggage around this. Just do it when you feel the urge. No more guilt about not journaling every night before bed. This is not that habit. This is about healing yourself and using this tool when you need it.
And don’t get hung up on what to journal with. Pen and paper. An app. Whatever. Just let it all out.
Tool 3: Playtime
Remember when you were a kid and you did whatever you loved doing as soon as you had time for it? Maybe it was a game you liked to play. Maybe it was coloring or jumping rope. Whatever it was, bring that back. Do it. Make time for it.
Adults suck at playing. We’re taught that we have so much to do and don’t have time to play. Bullshit.
I’ve learned that if I don’t make time for play, my inner-self, or whatever in the hell it is, gets all upset and tries to bring me down. If I’m playing, I’m happier.
Make time for it. Make it a priority.
No. These tools may help you with your crisis, but if you’re not taking care of your health, it all falls apart.
Your health is the most important tool in this kit, but I didn’t list it as one because we all know we’re supposed to take care of ourselves. I didn’t want to give you a tool you already have because you would feel cheated.
However, if you’re not getting the nutrients, sleep, and exercise you need, you’re not going to feel right and all the meditation in the world won’t help you. So take care of yourself and see if that crisis you’re in doesn’t improve.
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