Now that I’ve had a few years to settle into my so-called midlife, I have some bones to pick.
There are those two words…so common to the boomer generation…that stick in my craw. (Okay, that expression should be struck, too.)
I’ll admit there are some words that deserve to live together eternally. Like “King” and “Queen;” “Odds” and “Ends;” “Bread” and “Water.”
“Wrinkles” and “Botox.”
But seriously, why do these two words – “Midlife” and “Crisis” – have to travel hand-in-hand? Do you mean to tell me that nearly 79 million of us (that’s how many baby boomers are gracing the earth in our country at the moment) are making major life changes because of a crisis?
If you ask me, those two words are a volatile pair that shouldn’t be together, just like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, or Bonnie and Clyde.
“Midlife Crisis” even has a place in Webster’s Dictionary
After reaching for my nearby magnifying glass, I read: “A period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized esp. by a strong desire for change.”
“Change” is one thing. It’s necessary for growth, it keeps things moving. Because if we didn’t have change – and things stayed stagnant – well, how boring would life be?
And “desire?” I like that word, too. It means we are alive, we have passion, longings, aspirations.
But here’s where I cringe: “Turmoil.”
Why this word?
Does change have to be fueled by turmoil? Or is this only when it refers to changes made in midlife?
I know plenty of people who have made changes around midlife (myself included). And why not?
It’s a time of reflection, of having lived long enough to be able to look back upon our mistakes/desires unfulfilled/dreams – and make them happen now.
It’s also a time when we’re most likely to be open to change. The distraction of raising children might be behind us. Feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy have finally dissipated enough to give us forward momentum.
Experience has paved the way for us to read our inner compass and head in the right direction (or even a different one).
Fear takes a backseat to desire, perhaps fueled by knowing that it’s now or never.
The actual change that comes about is usually a positive step toward something better, or at the very least, a step to self-discovery that we might never have experienced before.
So I hereby propose a change to the dictionary.
Why not say… “Midlife Change.”
Or “Midlife Alteration.”
Or even “Midlife Modification.”
Those words fit together much better, don’t you think? Kind of like “love” and “marriage.”
What kinds of changes has midlife brought about in you?
Have you made any changes – or might you be contemplating any major changes – that have never occurred to you before now?
(Photo credit: Photos.com)