Midlife Dimensions

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Beyond the Brink, Star Beacon Newspaper

Interview with Jim Conway Ph.D., by Carl E. Feather, Star Beacon Newspaper
Jim Conway has good news for men in midlife crisis: "I've been through it and I've worked with thousands of men who have been through it, " said the author of "Men in Midlife Crisis" and president of Midlife Dimensions. "There are very, very few men who get stuck and just sort of stay there. Most men progress on and most are better, stronger and healthier for it."

Indeed, while midlife brings the end of youth, it signals the beginning of the longest period of our lives, notes Craig Nathanson, a California Web designer who developed "Coach Nate's Corner" (craignathanson.com) for those in midlife transition.
Jim Mens Seminar
"Midlife adults can start to learn new methods not necessarily to change their life, but the way they experience their lives," he notes on his Web page. "This can lead to new choices for making midlife a process for self-empowerment and not a journey to the unknown."


"Coming out of it, you feel more in control and more focused on what you should be doing," Conway said. "You begin to have that sense of having it together again."



Conw
ay said a midlife crisis provides a man with the opportunity to reassess his journey and make changes for the home stretch.

"It's go
od to let the crisis prod you to start the process of evaluation," he said.
Book What Color Is Your Parachute? 2009
Conway recommends that men who are struggling with midlife career questions purchase a copy of "What Color is Your Parachute" by Richard Nelson Bolles. Although it takes a substantial investment of time and thought, the exercises in the book can help midlife job seekers find a new direction or affirm their present one.

"His whole thrust is understanding who you are, what your strengths are and how to go with those strengths when you go to get a
job," Conway said.

Conway said a midlife crisis can help a man focus his energies on one or two really important projects, "A 25-year-old will do everything and hope something will help," he said. "A 45-year-old knows what will help and what is a waste of time."

Nathanson recommends that the midlifer learn to go with his intuitions and invest some time defining his values.

"It is critical to look at your values and make sure that 90 percent or more of what you do each day aligns with those values," he said. Nathanson said if that's not happening, it is time to make some changes in your life and get a new focus.

Finding focus is one sign that you're emerging from the crisis and are on track for a better second half of your adult life.
Man Daydreaming of Girl Friend Car and House

"Coming out of it, you feel more in control and more focused on what you should be doing," Conway said. "You begin to have that sense of having it together again."

Optimism returns, as does the feeling that life has become more manageable, added Conway.

"Coming into the crisis, you think aging is bad," he said. "Now, you see that aging has given me powerful tools I didn't have when I was a 25-year-old."

  


"The struggle was within me, not outside," he said. "A lot of men think if they just change their car, job or wife, that will take care of it. It's not external, it's internal."



Survival stories

Zeb Bradford Long, author, pastor and executive director of Presbyterian and Reformed Renewal Ministries International, said he made it through his four-year-long midlife crisis by finding two Christian brothers and submitting to their brutal accountability. "I realized I could not do it by myself," he said.

Long said he came to the realization that although it appeared as if external factors were causing his crisis, the real problem was within himself. Ultimately, it would be up to him to fix what was wrong.

"The struggle was within me, not outside," he said. "A lot of men think if they just change their car, job or wife, that will take care of it. It's not external, it's internal."

Long said although his midlife crisis was a time of traveling through a spiritual wilderness, he did not forget God. But he said God took on a different role in his crisis.

"It was not the love of God, but the fear of God that held me," he said. Long said that fear of the consequences kept him from stepping across the line of midlife temptations.

While emerging from the crisis is a process for some men, in Long's case it was lifted as quickly as it fell.

"I woke up four years later and it was gone," he said. "I found myself wonderfully in control of my marriage, my work."

Long calls midlife crisis "a great, positive thing." "You realize you don't want to live the way you have been living the next half of your life and you make positive changes."

Couples who are facing midlife issues can find many resources from Midlife Dimensions. Book titles written by Conway and his late wife Sally include "Maximize Your Midlife," "Pure Pleasure," "Traits of a Lasting Marriage," "When a Mate Wants Out," "Men In Midlife Crisis," and "Your Husband's Midlife Crisis."

The authors of "The Dance-Away Lover" (Morrow) identify three cycles in most marriages: falling in love, falling out of love, and falling back in love. Conway said the last cycle doesn't happen as easily as falling in love the first time, but can be the most rewarding. Five things are needed to accomplish it:

1. Time. Midlifers are stressed for time and privacy. Couples have to make time for each other.
2. Commitment. Both partners must want the marriage to work.
3. Forgiveness. Conway notes that we are obligated to forgive each other.
4. Support. Marriage partners mu
st learn how to carry each other's load.
5. Love. To love someone, you must know them, Conway writes. Get to know your spouse again; put the emphasis on the relationship.

Conway said midlife men need to "hang in there and keep working. It's like the alcoholic in AA, take it one day at a time and keep working the steps. Focus on the areas that need to change: career, marriage, relationships, God. It's like the 12 steps. If you keep working the steps, you are going to get healthier."

He notes that one Jim on Catamaranof the most basic things a midlife man can do to improve his outlook and take care of that aging body is to start exercising.

"It's healthy for a guy to start working out and lose weight," he said. "It can help heal the depression."

And he shares th
is final bit of advice, the second half of which should not be read by the wife.

"Don't waste this time!" Conway added. "Do all the growing you can and learn all, you can. And make sure you get a motorcycle or a sailboat out of this."


Conway / Farrel Articles ~    Reprint by permission only,  ©2011

Midlife Dimensions ~ www.Midlife.com

  

The Conways and Farrels are international speakers and popular authors.

Midlife Dimensions is a ministry founded by the Conways and continued by the Farrels.