I really hate the term mid-life crisis because it’s nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will hate your older years, when all that’s really happening is the completion of original goals.
As a kid or teenager, you probably planned out how you wanted you life to go. Maybe you wanted to build a family, maybe you wanted to achieve a certain salary level, or create a new business.
Whether your life followed that original plan, there was no one to tell you it would only take about 20 or 30 years to find out, leaving you with decades left to do other things.
So I guess the crisis comes when people have no idea what to do now, although for some, the future is not what is concerning, it’s the past. And these people bother me the most.
They are the ones who don’t want to do anything else now, preferring instead to fantasize about things from long ago and refusing opportunities to experience new things.
I can reference more than one person in my life who is satisfied to simply take up space and do nothing more.
I once asked a co-worker around my age if they had seen a recent movie. The response? “I don’t go to movies.” I asked others if they were looking forward to an event in town. They told me no, because they didn’t like being around people.
They have no idea that they suck the air out of any room they are in. How could I possibly carry on either of those conversations? Maybe that’s their point, not to. They simply want everyone to leave them to complain and age until they die. Problem is that could take awhile.
Why can’t we look toward the future with hope like we did when we were young? It seems when we reach a point in life where our knees ache or doctor’s visits come more often, we think life should be handled more delicately.
The result of that is the idea that where we came from is more important than where we’re going. No wonder some people are stuck in the past, since that’s where they left their dreams.
Regardless of the fact I have accomplished certain goals, am now from a different generation as those after me, and that I am within spitting distance of menopause, I still find excitement in things I have yet to achieve.
That’s why I got certified last year in animation, and took a job at an all news radio station this summer. Those are things I have never done before.
Maybe that is the simple key to a happy life: always having something to look forward to. If the items on your To-Do List in Life are all checked off by 40 or 50, create a new one.
Maybe then you’re guaranteed to avoid some ridiculous crisis halfway through your existence, when you really should be having fun.
Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter