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Mid-life crisis and the tools to survive it

Author: Graeme Orr

There comes a time when we feel that there are more days behind us than in front. With this dawning realisation we seem to take stock of our lives. Have we lived a good life? Did we do all right? Is all right enough?

Counselling in Glasgow, I know that this is a huge hurdle that predominantly men but increasingly women feel that they have to get over. For many it is the sense of legacy, will they leave the sweet smell of success behind them? Will I be remembered for my achievements? Others think more of the disappointments, I look back and wish I had spent more time with my kids, I see now that I should have travelled more when I was younger. For a few it is about hearing the Grim Reaper knocking at the door, and worrying that a life of drinking, eating and cigarettes is about to catch up with them.

Often we try to recapture that earlier part of our lives. We long to own a sports car with the throaty sounding exhaust. We like to see ourselves looking younger with our young friends. But somehow none of it seems to satisfy.

So how do you swallow this bitter pill of becoming older, how do you survive and deal with the emotional changes that are going on for you. Using my experience, counselling in Glasgow, I show you the 5 golden rules that will lift you over the hurdle.

Don't presume that every change in your body is a terminal disease
It is important to look after yourself and important that you see a doctor if you feel that something is amiss. However, we can see for ourselves that our bodies change as we get older with hair growing in places it never did before or odd lumps and wrinkles appearing. However, going to the doctor every few days with a new symptom is unlikely to be popular and searching for a disease on Wikipedia is the wrong way to get a diagnosis. Give it a few days as you would with a cold, if the concern continues then see about it.

Don't obsess about work
I'm 40 and I'm not on the board yet! In the current economic climate having and keeping a job sounds like a huge task, all of those young fitter people, snapping at your heels. Try to remember they have still to task your greatest asset experience. Focus on getting what you want from a job, listen to your own needs. Perhaps it's just the pay check at the end of the month, so you can enjoy seeing and playing with your family. Don't focus on becoming the CEO, it isn't likely to happen and anything else will be a disappointment.

Enjoy your friends and family more
I remember my father surprise me enormously when presented with his first grandchild. He became a different person more relaxed, enjoying watching each moment pass, savouring the difference. He stopped obsessing about unimportant things (promotion at work) and focused on what mattered most (family).

Celebrate what you have not what you have lost
Losing your youth and expanding at the waist, can be a process like grief. Perhaps it's a good time to re-connect with your partner of friends. Perhaps you have drifted apart and as you move into this new phase of your life there is an opportunity to reconnect. What the caterpillar sees as an ending the rest of us see something beautiful.

If you need it ask for help
Don't hide your emotions, don't run away. This can be a difficult time as you struggle to come to terms with the changes that you are ringing in your life. Perhaps you see a partner or friend who you can approach to listen to your fears and hope and support you. As someone counselling in Glasgow I know that many turn to professional counsellors. Whichever path you choose sharing those feelings will help you to hear the opportunities that are still to be had in your life.

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About the Author
Graeme is a counsellor and writer living and working in Glasgow, UK He is the director of Considerate Counselling ( With over 20 years experience in Management and Senior management and 10 years in counselling and coaching, he has dealt and helped people with a huge number of probems in that time.
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