Is it a Mid-Life Crisis or Something Else?

Isn’t it fun getting older?  Once you start to figure out where you are going in life, some people label a person as having a mid-life crisis.  Oh well…  A person might think it is something bad.  It doesn’t have to be!

According to a number of websites, a mid-life crisis in men usually lasts from three to twelve years.  The average age of onset is forty-six years old.  I about sh** when reading that because having been born in late 1965 that makes me…  well…  that age…. for a little while longer.

Some of the classic signs of a mid-life crisis are depression, worry about physical appearance (standing in front of a mirror, covering bald spots, trying to wear younger looking clothes, etc.), buying expensive things like sports cars, and entering into sexual relationships with younger people. 

It sure sounds like a person in a mid-life crisis with those symptoms is doing everything he/she can do to try and cling to youth.  I’m sure we all know of one or more people who have exhibited such behaviors such as the guy with the salt-and-pepper hair who buys a red convertible and runs off with the babysitter, etc. 

So what triggers such a “crisis”?  There are a number of common factors.  These can include a period of unemployment / underemployment, particularly involving a career path change.  Another classic scenario involves losses such as the death of a close loved one or the maturation of children (a.k.a. “leaving the nest”).  Physical changes (falling apart) due to aging can also add to the situation. 

Some of that makes sense in this case…  The career path took a huge traumatic detour a few years back.  The emotions were further taxed when Mom died about two years ago.  The health situation was deteriorating rapidly at that point.  Apparently, I hit rock bottom but things were too hectic to know it.  There were too many problems to deal with to worry about getting old.  That might have been  been the beginning of the so called “mid-life crisis”.

It was fun to go back and look at blog notes from that period.  There is an old post dated 10/03/2010 which referred to the “Awakening” experienced in the summer of 2010.  It is the only reference to that event.  While sleeping many hours per day (due to health problems) I recall dreaming repeatedly, almost like being given a mental blueprint of how life should go in the future with respect to buying a van, fixing it up, and camping in it.  Friends and family thought I was nuts back then as I tried to explain crapping in a bucket and bathing with a plant sprayer to save money.  One can’t blame them!

Here it is nearly two years later and I’m faced with the question of whether or not there is a mid-life crisis underway.  Even though the signs and stressors are there so are wonderful, exciting, life changing events coming at a near daily pace.  The health situation is better than it has been for a decade.  I’m much happier and have traveled and seen more of Iowa in 2011 and 2012 than in the last thirty years.  How can a person call it a crisis?

Let’s just call the last two years a “Mid-Life Awakening”.

I hope everyone who is in their forties can experience something as wonderful and exciting as the last couple years of transition have been in what used to be a boring life.  Each day just gets better and better… despite plantar fasciitis and rotator cuff issues.  It’s all about a person’s outlook.  To hell with the receding hairline.  🙂

Thanks for visiting!


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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