Second Step: As we re-evaluate where we are in life we must ask the following: Is this where I want to be in all of the above areas?
1: Identify what you feel is missing, weak or you want and/or need to change or improve.
2: Re-assess your skills, knowledge about your strengths and weaknesses and determine if you are satisfied with where you are in terms of job, avocation, hobbies, relationship, living situation, etc.
3: Recall those dreams or goals that you pushed back or repressed because other more important issues came up at the time. What are your past and current goals or dreams? List and prioritize them on paper.
4: Determine what you want to do with those unrealized goals and dreams. Do you want to pursue them further? Is it achievable financially? Do you have the time to devote to this goal? Do you have support to help you focus on learning or doing something different? Is it no longer an option because you don’t have the physical stamina or is illness getting in the way at this time? Or, is it no longer an interest of yours to pursue?
5. Once you have decided on what to do, make a plan and set an agenda on how to achieve the goals.
Third Step: Now you have to figure out what to do with these present day realizations. It is important to not rush through and make a decision. Options need to be identified, giving yourself time for thoughtful reflection and problem-solving as necessary, so don’t jump into a situation when you aren’t prepared for all possible scenarios.
Thoughts and Fears
People in this stage grapple with fluctuating thoughts and fears. Common thoughts might include the following: Am I ready to end this relationship? Am I ready to end this job? Am I fully prepared to start a new career path? What might I be giving up? What might I gain? How long will it take to achieve my goal?
Based on the level of self-awareness determines how people will adapt as they come to understand a bit more about their own purpose in life. This time period, varies per person, and may require outside support via therapy, vocational guidance and in-depth discussions with others.
As a therapist assisting people while they navigate this stage, one must be have a heightened awareness to focus on the client’s perspective and perception of themselves (whether realistic or not), what their wishes, needs, ability, skills and goals are at this time.
Understanding the client’s thought processes, ability to regulate their emotions, stability in their home life and environment, and common sense is essential in assisting someone to process this time period in their lives.
It is also important to critically evaluate the client’s support systems, stressors, precipitating issues, unresolved grief, anger, losses, regrets, etc.
Additionally, evaluating and scaling the levels of dissatisfaction, via the outline in SPIES, is key, to help frame the problem and guide toward a solution.
Therefore, mid-life is not a crisis, but a period of time that people use to look back to where they came from, where they are currently and what they want to accomplish for the next 10 years of their lives.
Many people in this age bracket look forward to giving to others with purpose and intention. People in mid-life are entering a new stage in life’s journey.
Happy couple photo available from Shutterstock