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Lucile is 48 years old. She has been married to her husband since they were both 23, and have two teen sons who are both very close to graduating high school and moving onto college, as well as an adult daughter who has already flown the nest. Lucile never landed her dream job, but she does have a professional career in a field she loves, is always looking for avenues that allow her to self-educate further, and is involved in several charities she is passionate about. She and her husband are financially comfortable and live in a nice area.
Sounds great, right? Yet, something's nagging at her. Badly.
"I do enjoy my job, but it no longer provides a real challenge. I love my kids, but now that they're past the stage where they consume all their parents' energy, and I'm due to be an empty nester in the near future, I'm feeling lost. I have plenty of things to occupy my time, but few truly deep friends. I'm bored, tired, and demotivated. That's not something someone in my position is expected to say, and I don't want to come across as a whinger, but it's true."
What Is A Midlife Crisis?
The "midlife crisis" has been a familiar concept in popular western culture since the 1980s, but more recently, some people have doubted whether it exists at all. One study found, for instance, that while 23 percent of those they investigated reported experiencing a midlife crisis, further investigations revealed that of those, only eight percent had crises that truly turned out to be related to the aging process. Not every feeling of dissatisfaction that happens to occur during middle age, generally considered to be the period of time between age 45 and 64, is caused by that phase of life, particularly.
It's also possible to make a distinction between so-called "midlife stressors" and a true "midlife crisis". Midlife stressors are, here, life factors that cause those experiencing them to feel extremely stressed or burned out, which happen to occur in middle age, but could have happened at any age, really.
Lucile's story will certainly be something many can relate to, and in her case, the term "midlife crisis" appears to apply perfectly. Her feelings are caused by the stage of life she is now in. During her youth, she aspired to achieve her hopes and dreams, and then flexibly changed gears when she had kids. This limited her career in ways she wasn't able to fully comprehend at the time, but now that her children are nearly ready to fly the nest, she's reflecting on the sacrifices she made and on whether they were worth it. Rather than looking forward, Lucile is now at a stage where she is old and experienced enough to spend time looking back, as well — and wondering what would have been different, had she made different choices.
Lucile, quite simply, is at the point of asking herself: "Is this all?" And she doesn't want this to be all.
Yup. A true midlife crisis. As one phase of life draws to a close, she's left existentially confused.