Forget Mid-Life Crisis, What About a Mid-Year One?
Why it feels like you’ve achieved nothing (all year long).
I’m not at the age for a mid-life crisis, but I found an interesting parallel: how about a mid-year one?
I mean we start off a new year excited, hopeful about what is to come, somewhat anxious, eyes and ears sometimes dazed with bangers or fireworks. But if you’re anything like me, you make plans as well, whether vague or super-specific.
So what happens when it’s the middle of the year, and you realise that life has gotten in the way of your set goals?
Here are some parallels I found:
What’s a mid-life crisis?
Initially coined by the psychoanalyst Elliot Jacques, a midlife crisis is a critical phase in one’s life, usually around the ages of 35 to 65, which has the “character of change points”. In other words, there’s a desire for a transition from what was once known.
It’s also often characterised by biological modifications that come with ageing, such as weight gain, hair loss and a reduced libido.
But beyond this, it has a universal psychological undertone. It begs this question:
What have I done with the time given to me so far?
And in this specific instance, a mid-year crisis (yes, I’m calling it that) can feel similar.
I mean, what happened to my vision board?
With this comes a renewed sense of urgency and, for some, anxiety. And if your birthday falls into the latter part of the year, this can feed into the concept of birthday blues—imagine if it’s smack-dab in July!
Perhaps worse is when it feels like everyone else is zooming past, smashing their goals and hitting milestones. Yet you haven’t even started that YouTube channel you promised you finally would.
So what happens now?
Is it too late to do anything about it or do we wait till next year rolls around?
How to resolve
I suspect I don’t need to tell you the solution to this. It’s simple, really. Much simpler said than done anyway.
Sulk long enough and move on. Cut your losses. Celebrate what you did achieve so far. Re-evaluate (because maybe you don’t even want the same things you wanted on January 1st). Get down to work.
Five to six months is still a solid time to get things done.
According to developmental psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, a mid-life crisis boils down to two things: generativity versus stagnation.
It’s supposedly the seventh crisis we experience in our social development where we consider if we’re of value to the next generation and contributing to society—if not, perhaps we’re being stagnant in life.
Because of this, we decide to make changes to our health and diet, and engage in charity work, and resolve old or create new relationships, and do the work we actually want to be doing. You know, focus on what truly matters.
After all, time is of the essence.
While this philosophy of social development might be somewhat outdated and, of course, not as severe for a mid-year crisis, the overarching solutions are similar. I found this shared thread too compelling to pass up.
Because perhaps if we learn to handle the one well while treating ourselves with kindness and sensibility, the other will be easier to handle when/if it comes.
Now, about that vision board…
I actually thought one needed to be in their forties before they could be "diagnosed" with midlife crisis.