For most people, the ages of 35 to 50 represent the middle parts of their lives, and they often come with a unique set of challenges and reflections. Sometimes, this can lead to a midlife crisis, as individuals feel compelled to evaluate their journey so far, reassess their goals and priorities, and seek out new ways of achieving personal fulfilment.
But rather than viewing it as a crisis, it is a good idea to consider this phase as an opportunity for rejuvenation and self-discovery. To help you do this, we’ll explore ten positive and proactive ways you can shake up this particular phase of your life.
If you find yourself currently standing at a crossroads, looking to reignite the spark within, we hope they will help you turn this transitional period into a time of self-growth, empowerment and renewed vitality.
Reevaluate Your Goals and Priorities
During this midlife period, it is only natural to reassess your life, goals and priorities, so take the time to reflect on your achievements, dreams and aspirations.
You should consider what truly matters to you and whether the current path you are on aligns with your values. Doing this can help you identify areas where you may want to make changes or set new goals.
Essentially, this introspective process is a wonderful opportunity to align your life with your authentic self and gain new intention and purpose. Therefore, try to determine what genuinely brings you joy, fulfilment, and a sense of accomplishment.
Explore New Hobbies and Passions
One of the best ways to inject vibrancy and fulfilment into one’s life is to embrace new hobbies and passions. Whether that be something creative like photography or writing a book, learning a new skill like playing a musical instrument or fixing cars or a project such as growing fruit and vegetables or upcycling furniture, your midlife phase provides the opportunity to rediscover or develop new talents.
Activities such as these provide you with something of ‘your own’ that represents a departure from the monotony of the day-to-day responsibilities you have as a parent, husband or wife and employer/employee. As well as bringing you joy, they can also kickstart a process of self-discovery and reinvention.
Reignite Your Curiosity and Learn Continuously
It is never too late to learn something new, even when you approach your twilight years – but especially during the middle years of your life. Indeed, research has suggested that the functionality of your brain peaks when you are 40, so it is as good a time as any to reignite the flame of curiosity.
Whether you do this by enrolling in Master’s degree courses such as Computer Science or Human Resources at UNSW, attending workshops or simply reading books or watching YouTube tutorials about a subject you are interested in is entirely up to you. However, the greater commitment you have to learn. the more it will nourish you cerebrally.
Evaluate Your Health and Well-being
Once you hit your late thirties and early forties, the chances are you’ll start to feel a few aches and pains. This is your body’s way of telling you it is time to prioritise your health.
The best way to do this is to reassess your lifestyle choices and commit to healthy habits that contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These may include, ensuring you get regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet and getting between 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night as a minimum.
At the end of the day, the healthier you are the happier you will be, as your energy will be concentrated more on doing things that bring you fulfilment and not be diluted by feeling unwell.
Expand Your Social Network
As you get older, particularly if you are married with children or have a demanding job that involves working long hours, you tend to have less time to spend with your friends. This can have a debilitating effect on your mental health, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
At the same time, you might have people in your life who are overly negative and toxic and constantly bring your mood down. For this reason, you should cut them out of your life and try to replace them with individuals who will not only enrich your social lives but also provide emotional support when you need it.
Schedule time for date night with your partner, spend quality time with your children and regularly catch up with old friends and family whose company you enjoy. It is also never too late to make new connections with like-minded individuals by partaking in activities or joining online communities based on your interests.
Change Jobs or Careers
Long gone are the days when you had a job for life. Indeed, from the age of 20, until you retire at 65, you can have four completely different careers for a 10+ year period if you wanted to. So, if you’re feeling unfulfilled in your present employment role, it might be worth exploring new avenues.
This might involve updating your skill set, LinkedIn profile and resume to enhance your suitability for other jobs. You could also seek help from a career counsellor or try to find a mentor to help you navigate your way through this change.
If you are looking for a new role, it is important to establish what type of remit you want to take on. Additionally, you should be clear on the type of work/life balance you are after and take into account commute times and working hours. All of which are crucial to finding fulfilment in your career.
Sometimes, you need to get lost to find yourself, and one of the best ways to do this is to travel. Many people – especially if they are single or childless – take career breaks, using the time to visit new places and broaden their horizons.
Travel can offer an excellent opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone (or increase it) and experience new cultures. It can also open your mind to new cuisines, and help you gain a broader perspective of the world.
It doesn’t matter where you go, whether that be domestic destinations or overseas; travel provides a break from the humdrum of daily life and offers fresh perspectives, and inspiration on the world in which we live.
Practice Mindfulness and Self-Reflection
The middle years of your life is an ideal time to start incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, or journaling into your daily routine. As the demands of career and personal life continue to evolve, mindfulness is a terrific way to stay grounded, cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness and remain present and fully engaged in the current moment.
Moreover, by taking time for regular introspection, it allows you to understand your thoughts and emotions, which in turn enable you to live a more intentional and fulfilling life, with greater emotional resilience and an overall sense of inner peace.
Financial Planning and Security
Among other things, midlife provides an opportune time to reassess your financial situation and plan for the future. In particular, if you haven’t done so already, it is a good idea to start setting yourself up for retirement through investment, like buying property or shares or topping up your superannuation, and paying off debts.
If necessary, consult with a financial advisor to establish your wealth accumulation strategy. It is also worth creating an emergency fund to provide you with a financial buffer and peace of mind in the event of redundancy, long-term illness, or an inability to work.
Ultimately, this strategic move is a simple step you can make towards a worry-free and fulfilling latter part of your life.
Get Help from an Expert
Even for the most resilient of people, some of the challenges of the middle years of your life, such as raising children, maintaining your relationship or coping with work stresses can be overwhelming. However, rather than struggling alone, you should call upon the services of experts who will provide guidance, support and tools to process your thoughts and emotions more effectively to deal with your issues.
It is important to see getting help from therapists, life coaches, or career counsellors as not being a sign of weakness, but rather the first step towards greater self-discovery and increased personal development. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved and two heads are usually better than one.
Far from being something to begrudge, the middle years of your life are there to be embraced. However, while we’ve highlighted ten tips and strategies that can help you become a more rounded and grounded individual, at the end of the day, the way you approach your life boils down to one thing – your mindset.
Ultimately, the more open you are to personal growth and positive change, the more fulfilling and enjoyable your remaining years on earth will be. So, instead of seeing the glass as half full or half empty, just remember it is completely refillable.