persons at midlife

There’s no nice way to say it, is there? “middle aged” sounds medieval and “midlife” evokes “crisis”.

It’s an interesting time in life. Either you have basically accomplished what you set out to do in your 20’s, in which case there is room to consider what’s next … or you haven’t accomplished what you set out to do, which means dealing with disappointment, or perhaps needing to free yourself from being measured by the naive plans of your 20-year-old self. In either case there is room for a creative reworking of what’s important, and a lot of potential for freedom and growth.

I confess that as I’ve been around a little longer, people in their 40’s through their 60’s have gotten more interesting. This is not to put down the shiny promise of youth. But there is something to be said for knowing more and having perspective.

What brings people in to therapy in these decades is, of course, the usual roster of suspects — anxiety, depression, shame and guilt, difficulty working and getting along with people, dissatisfaction with relationships. The relationships are more serious and more involved. Some marriages lose their way, the children might not need you in the same way, the parents are growing older or passing on.

I’ve come to find plenty of opportunity and optimism in the work we can do. It’s a good time to renegotiate your contract with life.