Why midlife crises happen: what went wrong for the Sandwich Generation
You don’t need to be middle-aged to have a midlife crisis, but it helps. It can happen as early as age 30, but now that we’re all living longer, ‘middle age’ often refers to 45-65 year-olds.
Middle age isn’t as much fun as we expected it to be. We’re old enough to know the things we shouldn’t do, but young enough to decide to do them anyway, and now we can’t blame anyone else when they go horribly wrong.
We think we’ve got life sussed, but somehow the goal-posts seem to keep moving. The more we learn, the less we know. We’re determined to live within our incomes, but somehow we keep borrowing more money. We’re surrounded by friends and family, but we’ve never felt more alone.
We’ve made a bit of progress with our careers, but perhaps not as much as we’d hoped, and now we’re worried about losing our jobs because at our age, we’d be unemployable. We know each other well enough to achieve great sex, but to be honest we’d rather have an ibuprofen and watch TV in bed.
The Sandwich Generation: what happened to freedom in middle age?
We’re the Sandwich Generation, trapped between two layers of needy family members – most of our kids are adults, but they still need help, and now our parents are starting to need looking after.
What happened to that exciting period of middle-aged freedom we expected? We had such plans for all that spare money and extra free time. Once the kids were off our hands, we were going to travel, write a novel, get a second home, build up a portfolio of shares, take up an expensive hobby… and now we have a horrible feeling we’ve missed the boat and there’s nothing left to look forward to any more.
No wonder so many of us have a crisis. The temptation to say “Stuff it – I’m out of here!” becomes so great we act on impulse without thinking, leaving homes, jobs and devastated families in our wake as we snatch for the liberated lifestyle we believe we deserve.
4 Top Tips for Surviving a Midlife Crisis:
- Take the time to think through EVERYTHING before you do ANYTHING.
- Decide what you want and make a plan to get it, instead of running away from what you don’t want.
- Put people’s feelings ahead of money. You can get some more money.
- Look for solutions that are fair to everyone – including YOURSELF.
Can a Midlife Crisis be good for you?
A midlife crisis can destroy our lives and ruin the happiness of the people who love us – but it doesn’t have to, if we handle it right.
A crisis is our brain’s way of saying, “Stop the world – I want to get off.” It’s a sign that change MUST happen – it’s no longer optional.
But things have changed all through our lives, and we’ve managed to adapt, even when the changes were bad.
We can get through this, too, and this time WE will choose how we want our lives to improve, and make those changes happen. We can come out stronger, happier and with our lives sorted out the way we want – ready to face the future.