We have a number of different turning points in life where we could feel like we are in crisis.
What is often believed to be crisis is really just a crossroads that brings us into a space of transition. This is because it brings with it a whole treasure trove of new opportunities if we have enough awareness to see them.
During my coaching studies, a few years ago now, I was made aware of five crisis points. I prefer to call them, transition points.
18 -22 years
This is the period of time we are finding our role in life. It is the stage when we are leaving our parents and trying to make our own way in the world.
Even though it is an exciting time, it can feel like crisis because breaking the parental ties can be a challenge. There can sometimes be a fear that we won’t make it in the world alone. The fear can cause us to hold ourselves back.
This is where we are shaping our own dream. We sometimes seek out mentors outside of the family. It’s a time when we decide to commit or roam free.
There can often be a fear of making the wrong decision or think that whatever we decide we can’t change later. This can cause us to not make a decision at all and become stuck.
In this period we might start to question our earlier choices. We might decide to change our job or change our relationship. There can often be a feeling of discontent that we are not moving forward fast enough.
Many of us change our career in our early 30’s, have a family or start a new business.
This is the beginning of what is often called the midlife crisis, although I don’t like that description at all. It can be the most empowering transitional period of our lives.
This stage in life we can often lose a sense of who we are and feel like we want to “find” ourselves. It’s a time when we want to get clear on who we are and what we want. Both women and men can go through this.
Revitalisation is the theme for this period of life and it’s where anything we haven’t yet dealt with comes up and stares us in the face. Some of us can feel abandoned after our kids leave home.
In this phase we have an opportunity to get clear on our identity, what’s important to us and what we want. This brings more joy and happiness, but too often we get stuck in the mayhem and confusion.
I believe this last transition phase can be the most challenging because we can also have the feeling that time is running out. We might have regrets and wish we had made different choices in the past.
Add to that losing elderly parents, death of a partner or relationships ending and we can really feel a sense of loss.
For women there is also the menopausal transition to deal with. The physical symptoms of hormonal imbalance can cause us to lose sleep, lack energy and look different. Not to mention the mental and emotional symptoms of feeling like you want to bash someone or just want to sit down and cry.
It can be changed
It doesn’t sound like a pretty package and it’s easy to see why so many of us get stuck in this phase. Many of us lose our mojo, feel confused and lack vitality and it’s quite normal. But it can be changed.
Last year I experienced one of the most difficult times of my life when I lost my father. He was my last parent to pass and with him went my foundations and my identity, as I knew it back then.
It took me quite some time to come out the other side. And now I am emerging I am embracing life in a new way and I feel it is my purpose to share how I came through.
Personally I would describe this stage as the most enlightening and empowering time of life. There is absolute unlimited potential when we have the right resources and tools to support us.
Dissolve the crisis by giving yourself a break
It’s okay to feel sad or angry and it’s so important to allow those feelings to flow. If we hold on and try to push the emotions down then it will cause us to feel even more confused. So give yourself a break.
By being kind to yourself and allowing space to feel your feelings you will eventually let go of the emotion. This will clear your mind and heart so you are able to begin seeing a way forward.
Create a special space to explore
We all have a place that brings us peace. For me it’s always been under a tree on my favourite beach. For others it’s in the forest, in the mountains or the back yard. It’s different for everyone.
Being in nature always seems to clear our minds and relax our hearts. And it is in this space that we can begin to explore.
Make your journal your best friend
It’s wonderful to have close friends when we are in crisis and it’s certainly helpful to hear our own voice as we share. But if we are easily influenced by our friend’s opinions it can sometimes cause us to go off track.
Reaching out to our friends is essential if we are really struggling, feel in darkness, trauma or are depressed. And I do urge you to do that.
When exploring though, it helps to make our journal our own best friend. This way we can really dig down deep to find who we really are and what we want.
A good coach can also support you in this exploration process.
Energy practices can transmute crisis into transition
Energy practices such as meditation, Yoga and TaiChi help us to release anxiety and stress. This is because these practices change our brainwaves.
Stress and anxiety are fear-based responses and caused by being too much in our head. When we practice meditation, Yoga or TaiChi etc we bring our mind back to our body.
This raises our brainwaves and slows our mind down. As we feel calmer we find clarity. We also create space to hear our intuition. By doing this we start to notice that our inner guidance system really wants to give us that direction we seek.
The essential bottom line
It is vital for us to have patience during any crisis or transition point. The more we try to rush this process the further we push clarity away.
Time is just an illusion and we have more left than we realize. Even at the age of 50 many of us have 25 to 30 happy years to live. Some of us even more than that!
Take it easy and create space to really explore what you want. You can’t make a wrong decision. The twists and turns of any decision are what allow us to live a joyful and fulfilled life.
If you would like even more helpful insights and practices to help you through the middle life phase you will love the upcoming online summit Women Reinventing MidLife. Make sure you register here