Midlife Dimensions

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The Battle

Midlife is designed by God to be the most remarkable time of our lives. It is a vital season of great change, challenge, and opportunity. In our modern world, midlife has become a major issue for most people because the life expectancy curve has changed so dramatically. Currently, the average American expects to live until age 79 or beyond. [1] To put this in perspective, the average male expected to live about 48 years in 1900 and about 67 years in 1960. [2] Today, we are at the peak of our lives when people in the past were winding down.  

Consequently, the most influential decade of people’s lives today is their fifties, and the second most significant decade is their sixties. This may be surprising to you but it does make sense. Our potential is greatest at these ages because we have enough life experience to recognize our areas of strength as well as areas of mediocrity. We have earning power that enables us to fund our pursuits. We have less personal responsibility as our children grow up and pursue their own lives and careers. If we lived in an innocent world, this would all be good news, but the reality is that we live in a tough, hostile, and challenging world where spiritual, social, and personal obstacles abound.

As a result, there is a significant battle that takes place as we approach our fifties. For most of us, it will kick into gear during our forties, while for some it may begin during our thirties. When the battle goes active, you will notice that:

  • You evaluate your life more often than you used to.
  • You become aware that your body does not respond or recover like it used to.
  • You long for others to be more sensitive toward you and to pay more attention to your needs.
  • You consider doing things you would never have considered ten years earlier. These can range from taking more personal days at work, to higher risk hobbies, to intense pursuit of goals that have been on hold, to new relationships that make you feel better about yourself.
  • You are looking for something even though you are having trouble defining it.

All of us will evaluate our lives during midlife, but for some the battle grows intense. In these cases:

  • Life’s circumstances often become overwhelming or confusing, and heartfelt disappointment can tempt an otherwise positive person to become negative, lethargic, and unproductive.
  • Deep social needs can drive us to make poor relationship choices that hurt the ones we love the most, and complicate our lives beyond what anyone thought was possible.
  • Developmental needs that have been ignored for years can take center stage and demand attention leading us to live in a way that does not match our actual age. Some of us may act older than we are, losing the motivation to tackle our best years, while others may act younger than we are, reverting to a teen-age approach of self-centeredness.

Any of the above life-changing needs can cause people involved in our lives great hurt as they watch us go through the midlife years. Some people might react to us in defensive ways to protect themselves, while others might try to get-even with (get back at) us.

Since midlife is really a battle for the most prominent years of our lives, it must be faced strategically as a developmental transition, a spiritual struggle, and a social milestone. People who have a planned direction tend to see midlife as a great time of opportunity, while those without a clear strategy tend to be surprised by the onslaught of these powerful needs.

Midlife Dimensions is here to help you:

  • Plan a strategy to make your midlife successful and invigorating, whether you haven’t yet begun midlife, are in the middle of midlife, or are suffering because of a loved one’s midlife stage.
  • Assist a loved one with a strategy to get through their midlife stage.
  • Find positive ways to meet your needs for spiritual, social, developmental, and relational growth.
  • Discover positive ways to respond to family members or friends who might be hurting you or those you love.

One thing is a for sure for all of us — we are all constantly changing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Life works best when we welcome and embrace the change, whether it seems good or bad at the time, and search for ways to keep growing. Our hope for you is that you find victory in the battle.

 

[1] http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states
[2] http://www.efmoody.com/estate/lifeexpectancy.html