Our society has a whole lot of prescribed roles for us during the first part of our lives. For example, as children we go to school, maybe to university afterward, or instead we might jump right into the work force, later we usually find ourselves in relationships, and perhaps have children, and that’s more or less where the ‘program’ we’ve been taught to follow ends – and fairly abruptly.
So finding yourself at midlife may feel like being in a foreign land without any useful instructions about how to negotiate it. Whereas society had no problem ‘ordering’ the first part of our lives, it appears to be mute about the middle years, and it somehow abandons us to figure it out on our own.
That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, since it allows for a lot more creativity and options than was permitted previously, but this stage of life can also bring with it many feelings of insecurity, and loss (of roles, for example: children may have left the nest, marriages may have ended, parents may be sick or have passed away, jobs may have ended, and so on), and fear, including of aging, of loss of health and vitality, of financial concerns, and even disappointment about where you’re finding yourself at this stage of your life; you may feel you’ve somehow not succeeded in the ways you’d hoped you would have by now.
So midlife is often associated with a lot of complex and mixed emotions, and sometimes it’s helpful to deal with them with someone who can be an objective guide as you walk through the transition into this new phase of your life. You may also need help identifying answers to the inevitable (and often fear-provoking) question: “What now??”
I may be able to help you with this mixed bag of emotions and questions because I’m not only an experienced therapist who has worked with many midlife clients over the years, I’m also a midlife woman myself, and have been faced with many of the same dilemmas and questions that most of us face at this particular juncture in life.
In the process of figuring out how to answer your many ‘midlife’ questions, I can offer you some creative ways to investigate the possibilities that perhaps you haven’t considered before. And, moreover, I can offer you the kind of support you may want or need as you test out some of these new ways of looking at your future, and all that it might encompass.
Let me know the kinds of issues that you’re dealing with at this phase of your life, and I’ll let you know how I might be able to help.
“I always thought that women who talked about their ‘midlife’ crises were somewhat unstable, that is, until I hit the age of 47 and didn’t know what to do with my life. My kids didn’t need me the way they had when they were younger and more dependent, my husband was still enjoying his work, and I found myself alone, and then finally very depressed. I reached out for help, and Suzanne took my hand and didn’t let go until I was able to figure out how to move forward. I haven’t figured it all out yet, maybe never will, but I now I have ways of thinking about this time of my life that brings me joy, creativity, and even some adventure! Thanks, Suzanne, for sharing your own experience, and for helping me find my own!” A.N.
“Okay, like the stereotypical man, I bought the ‘midlife crisis car’, and did some other stupid things, but nothing helped me feel more positive about getting older, so I decided to do something I’ve never done before: go to counselling. Suzanne became my therapist – and she wasn’t always easy on me! – but she helped me identify ways to make my life more meaningful at this ‘mid’ stage. As a result of the counselling I had with her, my relationships are better, I enjoy the work I do more than ever, and I’m now looking inward for the peace that I’d always looked for outside of myself. And, I’ll never be a counselling cynic again!” C.P.
“I’m so grateful to Suzanne for showing me that life at this stage can be great, and that I don’t need to grieve that I’m no longer my younger self’ I’m young in spirit instead. Life is good, and I’m now full of excitement about the many possible experiences that I have yet to have. Thank you kindly, Suzanne!” M.M.