Crisis? Or Path to Better?

A midlife crisis gets a bad rap, but maybe it’s actually a good thing. Maybe it can be this positive change in your life. I found this article that I love because it feels like we’re on the same page. It’s titled  Midlife Crisis for Women: How it Makes you a better person. It was written by Evelyn Marinoff who is a wellness advocate and writes about the psychology behind confidence, happiness and well-being. Sounds like a dream job! In this article, she asked the question,

“Just because something is a decades old stereotype, does it make it true today?”

I love that because when you think about a midlife crisis, you think about buying the Corvette. You think about having sex with someone younger or being very reckless. Like essentially throwing away everything that you’ve done and kind of starting over. She brings up this happiness dip. A bunch of studies show this dip of happiness described as “U Shape”. It usually happens around age 46 and then starts to increase again, but it is unclear why this is the case. Evelyn believes a midlife crisis is not actually biological, but rather cultural, and there are real benefits. She calls it a midlife transformation.

I love that. To change it from a crisis to transformation. Sounds so much more opportunistic! A couple of things that she talks in the article:

  • It’s a great time to do a life audit. To really think about what worked and what hasn’t and how to use your strengths better in the future.

This really reminds me of the Strengths Finder test I’ve taken a couple times. The whole idea is to not focus on the things that you’re not good at but focus on your strengths. Then figure out how you can use those strengths to improve your life, improve your work relationships etc. Potentially also how to build a team, if this is a work situation, with people that have strengths that compliment your weaknesses making the team strong. I’m 100% on board with that. At the end of the day, none of us are perfect. We’re human. We have strengths and weaknesses just like everybody else. So, figuring out how to use your strengths to benefit yourself is critical and she believes this is a time when you can do that.

  • Let go of the past. Leave the past where it belongs because it is not doing you any good. Maybe it is time for a mental cleanse.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? I just imagine my mind as this attic in my Great Grandmother’s house. It was terrifying to go into because you never knew what you were going to find. The light wasn’t fully working so there would be shadows and you couldn’t tell what was in the dark corners. But then you turn on the light and realize it is not that scary. Maybe that’s what a midlife crisis really is. It is that opportunity to think about it as a mental cleanse. Cleaning out your attic. Putting aside things you don’t need. Sell them in the garage sale; they’re taking up space and that space could be better served for you as you move forward.

  • Change course. Appreciate time more. Have a Now or Never moment.

In No Corvette for me, I talked about this this podcast as my Now or Never moment and I want to push you to think about what is your Now or Never moment? What is something that you wish you could have done or maybe you’ve been thinking about, but you just keep putting off? What if you use your midlife crisis as an opportunity to say, “You know what? It’s now or never and why not get started today?” What is that for you?

  • Learn proper self-care. Treat yourself better. Give yourself appreciation.

I will tell you what, whether it is a midlife crisis or COVID, boy has this been top of mind in the last year! In the past I put so much effort into my relationships, into work, into really thinking about how everything around me needs to be good. And I sometimes forgot about myself. I don’t even have kids and I would imagine if you do, it is even more true because you’re constantly putting others before yourself. At some point, whether you’re going through midlife crisis, or you’re just going through a global pandemic that’s affecting all of us, there’s a part of you that thinks I need to take care of myself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you really can’t be there for other people. You cannot show up and really support others. I 100% believe that and if that’s a midlife crisis then I mean God bless. That is exactly what we need. We all need to really learn a little bit more proper self-care.

  • Make a lifestyle change through new habits. Stop thinking about it as a New Year’s resolution and make it a lifestyle change.

I love a New Year’s resolution. I’m a really goal-oriented person so I’m constantly thinking about what I can better and what I can change.  So New Year’s resolutions are right up my alley. The whole “New year, New you” in marketing is kind of annoying. It sounds so superficial right? But I love that time of year because it really is a refresh. A time to think about what you want to accomplish for this year, and I can really get behind that. But there’s so much data around how people will start their New Year’s resolutions and then like three weeks in, they just fall off and they forget about it.

It reminds me of when we did the Whole30 diet a few years ago.  We really just tried it because our stomachs were bothering us, not as a weight-loss thing. We were eating healthy, but we felt bloated all the time and didn’t understand why. If you’re not familiar with Whole30, it’s essentially an elimination diet that you cut out things that would bother people for 30 days and then you slowly add back in. The hardest one is probably alcohol. I love me some wine, so it’s really hard to not drink wine for a month. But the rest are things like dairy, gluten, grains and sugar. Sugar is a huge one which I will say the first time we did it I was shocked at how much sugar was in things that it really did not belong. Like my salsa does not require sugar nor does my tomato sauce.

I went around thinking I didn’t eat a lot of sugar because I’m not really a sweets person, more a salty treat person. Then I went through my cabinets and was like holy shit! I eat a lot of sugar and I didn’t even know it! It was a big wake-up call. But anyway, you do this elimination diet and then when you start adding back stuff into your diet you realize what bothers you. I found out some fun facts about myself like apparently chickpeas, legumes and beans are not my friends. This really sucks because I love beans. I remember growing up and having Busch’s Baked Beans. Oh my God, my dad used to make hot dogs mixed in with Bush’s Baked Beans and I loved it! But I also liked hummus, which is healthy (unlike the baked beans). But when I eat hummus, within two bites after doing Whole30, I now realize that my body hates me and I can no longer eat chickpeas. Good to know!

When you start doing Whole30, it’s really overwhelming because they recommend you make everything yourself. I mean, I have shit to do. I can’t be sitting here making ketsup and sauces all the time. So instead, because I’m willing to pay for convenience, I started really just paying attention to what I was buying at the grocery store and reading labels. I found a ton I could buy that have no sugar added etc. It’s been three years since the first time we did Whole30 and I’ve continued using anything I’ve found at the store that is Whole30 approved in replace of the brands I used to buy. So it’s not just a 30 day challenge anymore, it’s more of a lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong, if I go to a restaurant, I’m gonna order whatever the hell I want and enjoy it. I’m not gonna be one of those people that can’t order off the menu because of a diet they decided for themselves. But at home, I really try to be as Whole30 as possible, probably 70% of the time. It’s pretty crazy considering my previous eating habits. I would challenge you to think about some things that you have for your New Year’s resolutions that you always break. Are there things that you can just slowly make part of your lifestyle that would make you feel better? Maybe your New Year’s resolutions are too hard and that’s why they’re impossible to stick? Maybe something as simple as going for a walk once a week or going to bed at 10:00 o’clock every night instead of staying up to watch Real Housewives? Whatever it is, how do you actually go from just making it a short-term goal to a life change?

  • Make your life count.

As as I’ve gotten older, I think about this more. As I’ve started thinking about family planning, it is kind of top of mind. What in this world am I OK with and what needs to change? What’s my role in that? I think people with kids probably really understand this because they’re also trying to raise little miniature humans to be the best humans and leave this legacy. I don’t know what my legacy is going to be yet but if we are blessed to become parents, one of the things that I love that going on is these books on how to talk to your kids about_____. They’re very serious topics like “How to talk to your kids about racism?” Or “How to talk to your kids about sexuality?” They are definitely things that are super important to talk about but they’re in a kid friendly way. It is a kind of guide to help parents have these difficult conversations which I just love because if the kid doesn’t hear from the parent you know they’re hearing it from somewhere. I feel like I’m really going to hit up those books if we have a kid. They’ll probably get sick of me and think I’m insane, but that’s OK. I feel like as a parent, it is your job.

If you don’t want to have kids though, that’s OK too. As a 38-year-old woman who has pretty much been told since I was in my late 20s that I better like get on it if I wanted to have kids, I am never going to be the one sitting here telling you “shame on you for not having or not wanting kids”. Making it a negative for women that decide that they don’t want to have kids is a huge pet peeve of mine. Shame on us. Who are we to say that a female should be required to have kids or there’s something wrong with her because she doesn’t want to have children? I know plenty of amazing women that, honestly, I wish they would procreate because they could bring other amazing humans into this world, but that is not my decision. That is not up to me and I actually think, as a female, it takes more guts to say out loud that you don’t want children than it does the other way around. People just expect that you do and if you are a female that doesn’t have kids and just wants to be the cool auntie for the rest of your life, then good for you for knowing what you want and not letting society tell you what you should do. You have nothing to feel guilty about.

If you take the kid part out of your legacy, then what is it going to be? I don’t know if I’ve figured out what mine is yet. I guess in my mind, I’m still holding on to that it might be the smaller human being, but I would also like to leave a legacy that doesn’t just involve raising another. Not that that isn’t important, it’s obviously the future of our world, but just that I could have my own legacy is something I’ve been thinking about as I get older.  I feel like I need to get on it if I’m going to do something. I would love to hear your thoughts on what your legacy may be to inspire me. In closing, we should look at this time not as a crisis, but as an opportunity to reassess, reflect and become an improved version of ourselves. Evelyn explains there are multiple benefits to this. Your mental health improves which I mean, that’s good! I don’t think any of us would disagree with that. You have stronger relationships, which who doesn’t want that? You’re more motivated and you take better care of yourself physically and mentally. Let’s be honest, we should have started doing that years ago. You feel more connected with others which at the time of COVID, I think we can all truly appreciate that more than ever. And one of my favorite reasons is you’re more grateful and more positive overall. That’s really what happiness is right? Being grateful for what you have and being positive about your life. Because if we keep waiting for what’s to come, we’re going to miss what’s here now.

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