Midlife options

According to a study published in 2008 by the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College in the USA, the risk of depression peaks at the age of 44 yrs old.

And, as Carl Jung said: “[people] seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success or money, and remain unhappy .. even when they have attained what they were seeking.”

Finding that you start to doubt yourself and try to ‘rediscover’ your youth in mid-life is often described as a ‘crisis’. What have I achieved? What is there to look forward to?

For many, it’s a bit of a joke – and then embarrassing when you realise that’s exactly what’s happening to you, where you are. And then it’s not a joke, and it can become a cause of strife and depression.

But perhaps it’s absolutely normal for men and women to feel more vulnerable as the ego which has driven us successfully through the first half of life begins to step back and allow our undiscovered, more reflective, ‘Self’ to wake up.

And perhaps we should look at it as a natural and wonderful opportunity to learn, rebalance and grow to fulfill a wider and wiser role in society and for humanity.

For some, there may need to be medical support and counselling or therapy. But for most, life coaching can provide a supportive and confidential opportunity for you to welcome and explore this change, identify resources which can lead you through the storm and, indeed, harness its energy for the second half of your life.

Often it’s helpful to put ourselves in a new space to help us reconnect with our courage and passion. That space can be virtual – created for example in a coaching relationship – or a physical change of scenery, some walking or cycling for example, or a retreat.

It’s important to remember that you can make a choice to move on, accept what’s happening and learn from it, and develop and change, and probably be stronger in many ways.


to Steve (19/11/08)

I’m not so smug as to say ‘I told you so’ or had any real clue about timing, but one of the reasons why I’m not surprised about the ‘crash’ and the coming downturn is that Kondratiev’s ‘long term cycle’ has always struck a chord with me. It’s something to do with generations passing and the loss of a collective sense at an unconscious level. And it’s not just about money.

Anyone who is old enough to have had their key life values formed by the direct experience of the ’29 crash & ’30’s depression would now be in their 90’s, or older. Most are gone from us. And with them we lost that direct intelligence – a body of wisdom. The lessons and values which were picked up by the next generation were indirect, and the echoes into the following generation are much diluted. And so the same mistakes were made.

I was moved a few days ago by a photo on my friend Steve’s facebook page of his father’s arm. Steve cared very deeply for him. His arm still had a six-digit number tattooed on it, his number at Auschwitz. He survived, and now he has just died. One less direct survivor of this most terrible manifestation of the Holocaust.¬†And the body of wisdom, the collective intelligence about this horror, is that little bit smaller.

Humanity couldn’t make the same mistakes again, could it? How can we be different today, to make sure the next 10 years are different to those between 1929 and 1939?

Personally, I’m going to try and understand more about what happened in those years, as the more knowledge we have, the more we can be aware of how to be different. And I’m also going to try and notice more carefully how we all live with each other because I suspect the seeds of hatred are in the mundane. And I’m going to talk again with Steve, when he’s ready, and try to contribute to the maintenance of that unconscious collective intelligence.

"Anyone old enough to have had their key life values formed by the direct experience of the '29 crash & '30's depression would now be in their 90's, or older. "

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