Age. What is that? I remember blowing past 40 without a blink. Even with 50 on the horizon I was in good shape and working too hard in perpetual pursuit of professional excellence. “What is this midlife crisis thing? It’s just a state of mind. It won’t happen to me.” Then…
50 came and I didn’t blow past it, I crashed into it! What happened? Why did I hit 50 so hard? It’s just a number! It took a lot of time and soul searching before it came to me; this is a midlife crisis! But I didn’t have the stereotypical symptoms! I mean, I’ve always wanted a Harley so that couldn’t be it.
I think my descent into midlife crisis began the last time I completely neglected my health. I’ve never been a health nut per se but I’ve always maintained between not bad and pretty good. By 50 I had slipped beneath not bad to not good. Not only was I heavier than ever, I noticed more aches and pains and they lasted longer. I’ve never enjoyed looking at pictures of myself but now I find it unbearable!
As my health deteriorated, I began to realize that my perpetual pursuit of professional excellence was no longer productive. In fact, it had actually become destructive, to my health and my relationships. And for what? At the risk of sounding immodest, I am really good at my job. I like that and I have no desire to pursue another. I admit that when I was younger I had a different take on it. Hello midlife, but I could change these things pretty quickly so, where’s the crisis?
I suppose I was on the ropes then the knockout blow came when I began to wonder what I had accomplished in life. BANG! Midlife crisis! Oh man! One minute I’m dancing around the ring of life and the next, I’m on the mat. Gotta get up! Beat the count! I’m not ready to give up!
It is said that admitting your problem is the first step to recovery. So, two months ago I joined a gym. I haven’t lost any weight yet but I know I’ve displaced some. And, I’m proud to say, I just emerged from what I call “the eating season” (Halloween to New Year) without gaining any. Now, I’ve got to begin losing weight and I will. I’ll be at the gym shortly after finishing this post.
Career? Nah. As I said, I like my job and I’m really good at it. This year when the time comes for me to submit my plan for growth and development, rather than struggle with it I’ll just say that I plan to continue working hard and doing a great job. (Why is that not good enough for employers anymore?)
So I’m up off the mat now but I’m not gonna win this thing until I can answer that question; what have I accomplished in life? Being able to answer this question is the key to emerging from – or even better, avoiding – the midlife crisis. It took too long but it did finally come to me. The answer is so simple it’s beautiful. It is in fact the very meaning of life. Are you ready for it? Here it comes… Make this world a better place with you in it. That’s it! That’s all you have to do and fortunately there are literally infinite ways for each of us to do this.
For anyone truly unsure of how or where to begin, I recommend you start with a simple, seemingly unremarkable, random act of kindness. You’ll figure it out on your own from there. Now excuse me please while I go make this world a better place…