In 2022 I was happy, yet I lacked fulfillment in my life. I didn’t know why and I didn’t think that I was experiencing a midlife crisis. But, I knew I had a yearning to do something about it so I launched the Midlife Fulfilled podcast to feature men and women in midlife whose stories would inspire others to find fulfillment. In addition to the podcast, this blog is an outlet for me to express my thoughts and findings about midlife fulfillment in a long form narrative format.
In this blog post, I want to give you realistic insights into how to avoid a midlife crisis. If you’re riding a roller coaster navigating the challenges and opportunities of midlife, you’re not alone. I’ll begin by putting a definition to a midlife crisis.
What is a Midlife Crisis?
The internet is filled with many explanations of a midlife crisis. The following is a hybrid definition I’ve crafted as a mashup of other definitions with my slant sprinkled in. I believe this definition captures it well.
A midlife crisis is a psychological phenomenon that can be real or perceived. It generally occurs in men and women typically between the ages of 40 and 60. It can be a time of significant transition, wonder, doubt, excitement, frustration and introspection, where individuals can experience anxiety about their life choices, goals, achievements and their future.
Those who experience a midlife crisis tend to be impacted by stress. They may have experienced significant life events such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, a job loss, a relocation, unwanted weight gain, a loss of confidence or a sense of insecurity due to societal or workplace pressures.
According to an article published by The American Psychological Association, women may face more stress in midlife than their male counterparts due to the navigation of complex career and family issues in a way that affects some women more than men.
Can a Midlife Crisis Be Avoided?
As with many health related challenges, awareness is a great place to start. Being self aware of the things that cause stress in your life is a big step toward avoiding a midlife crisis. The following are eight things you can do to reduce the chance of experiencing a bonafide midlife crisis.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
One of the most important ways to avoid a midlife crisis is to take care of your physical health. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep can all contribute to your overall well-being and reduce your risk of developing depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
Find Meaning and Purpose
Another way to avoid a midlife crisis is to find meaning and purpose in your life. This could mean pursuing a hobby, volunteering, or finding a new career path that aligns with your values and passions. Finding purpose in your life may not come easily but it’s worth exploring.
Build Strong Relationships
Building strong relationships with family, friends, and colleagues can also help you avoid a midlife crisis. Social support can provide a sense of belonging and help you cope with stress and challenges. Also, mending broken relationships can have a healing affect on your life.
Embrace Change and Growth
As you navigate midlife seasons, it’s important to embrace change and growth. This could mean taking on new challenges, learning new skills, exploring new interests, and even considering a career change. By embracing change, you can create new opportunities and find new sources of fulfillment.
Keep the Faith
If you grew up in a faith-based family and you’ve drifted away, consider returning to your roots. If you believe in God, it can provide a strong sense of connection to the higher power that is ultimately in control. Having a strong foundation in your faith can enable you to give your stress to God so you don’t have to suffer with it.
Do Things That Make You Happy
Do you have a favorite sports team? Do you love walking along the beach at sunset? Do you love gardening? Do you love woodworking? Regardless of what you enjoy doing, do more of it if it makes you happy. Happiness can be momentary while we’re doing an activity that we enjoy. According to Northwestern Medicine happiness is good for your health. With improved health, you reduce the chance of experiencing a midlife crisis.
Consider Seeking Professional Help
If you’re struggling to navigate the stresses associated with midlife, don’t shy away from seeking professional help from a therapist. Credentialed therapists can provide support, guidance, and tools to help you manage your emotions, relationships, and goals in your current midlife season.
Listen to Podcasts focused on Midlife Health, Wellness and Fulfillment
You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that to reduce your chance of a midlife crisis, I recommend you listen to podcasts focused on midlife health and wellness. There are hundreds of podcasts pertaining to midlife. I’ve shortlisted ten podcasts that I listen to and suggest you consider adding to your podcast player. In no particular order, they are:
Midlife Fulfilled Podcast
Hosted by Bernie Borges (that’s me), my podcast features men and women from all walks of life sharing their fulfillment stories. Additionally “Maximum” episodes feature an expert that educates midlife men and women on a relevant topic pertaining to career or fitness or health or relationships or legacy.
Hard Won Wisdom Podcast
Hosts Fawn Germer and Michelle Brigman speak no-nonsense, “hard won wisdom” from inspiring guests as well as their solo episodes. This podcast is primarily aimed at women in midlife.
Midlife Career Rebel Podcast
Dr. Carol Parker Walsh is a Master Certified Coach who takes an unconventional approach to career and leadership development. She is the master career rebel! This podcast is primarily aimed at women in midlife.
Second Breaks Podcast
Host Lou Blaser reflects on her own experiences that led her to focus on helping others navigate the highs and lows of midlife. Lou interviews experts and she also solos with practical insights to offer you inspiration from her vast experience and wisdom. I was her guest on episode 196.
Second Act Success Podcast
Host Shannon Russel is a former television executive producer turned mom-entrepreneur and podcaster. Shannon interviews experts to guide you to a new career or start a business in your midlife. I was her guest on episode 68.
The Midlife Makeover Podcast
Host Wendy Valentine brings a ton of energy to each episode designed to provide motivation, inspiration and practical midlife transformation through interviews and solo episodes. Wendy frequently records her podcast live on Instagram too.
The Late Starter’s Club Podcast
Host Andrea Vahl features people who have successfully started a business, made a major career change, started creative endeavors, started competing as an athlete, or gone back to school…all in their 40’s, 50s or beyond. I was her guest on episode 19. Oh, and she is also a stand-up comedian!
The Midlife Male Podcast
Host Greg Scheinman delivers no BS advice to midlife men who seek to live better, happier, healthier and stronger. He features men who have an inspirational story or expertise that is valuable for men in midlife.
Personal Development Mastery
Host Dr. Agi Keramidas shares his own journey of personal development which has transformed his life. Now, his mission is to help men and women in midlife grow and take action toward a purposeful and fulfilling life. I was his guest on episode 298.
Success from Anywhere
Host Karen Mangia covers work, workforce, and workplace norms shaped by headlines like “The Great Resignation,” and series like “The Office” and “Silicon Valley.”
If You’re 80% Fulfilled You’re Doing Great
A midlife crisis can be a challenging and transformative experience. With the right mindset and tools, you can avoid a midlife crisis and find fulfillment in your personal and professional life. Key factors to avoiding a midlife crisis include your personal mix of these habits; take care of your physical health, find meaning and purpose, build strong relationships, embrace change and growth, seek professional help if needed, keep the faith, and listen to midlife-focused podcasts.
At the end of each podcast episode, I close it out with this: “if you’re 80% fulfilled, you’re doing great!” The meaning of this is that by the time we’re in a midlife season, our life is somewhat or very complicated. It’s not uncommon to feel that you lack something you desire. That’s why achieving 100% fulfillment is difficult for most of us. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not totally fulfilled. You’re not alone. I ran a survey in January 2022 and found that 78% of midlife respondents admitted to not being totally fulfilled.
I hope this blog post offers you practical ideas you can consider to cope with the stresses of midlife.
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