A midlife crisis is not an inevitable stage. In fact, it’s not something that most experience, but middle age is a time when it’s not uncommon to make some big changes in life. Below are a few you may want to consider.
This is the driver of all the other changes in these years. As you enter your 40s and 50s, you may find that for the first time in your life, you no longer feel you have all the time in the world to accomplish things. You may find that you don’t value the same things that you did a decade or two ago or that things you used to worry about just aren’t important to you any longer. It’s worthwhile to spend some time examining how your perspective has changed and how you can apply that to the years ahead.
This might be the biggest and most common midlife change, and it can happen for many different reasons. Some people find that their careers no longer suit them. Others may have been taking care of children and are ready to pursue something more demanding. Some might have never liked their job but never had the option previously to pursue what they really wanted to do. Many want to turn a hobby into a career and branch out into entrepreneurship. Whatever the case, this is an excellent time to shake up what you do for a living, even if involves going back to school to get a degree. You may be surprised to find several other adults in your age range doing something similar.
Middle-aged adults are often at the height of their earning power. This means you might want to take a big step like investing in real estate or perhaps just buying a vacation home for you and your family to use. You might want to step up your retirement contributions or get more serious about investing. However, this is also the age where you may find yourself with more financial obligations, particularly sending kids to college, caring for aging parents or both at the same time.
An option to help your kids pay for their education if you own your home is taking out a home equity line of credit. A HELOC can offer a way for you to remove the burden of debt that many young people face when they head off to college. Yet another source of financial change is the career change mentioned above. You might be trading in your current salary for substantially more or less money, which can require an adjustment either way.
Midlife is a time when people tend to reevaluate their lives, and relationships fall under scrutiny as well. This is not just about marriage or romantic partnerships; people may find their relationships with friends and family members changing as well. While this can be a difficult time, you may also find yourself renewing and deepening certain relationships, even those initially seemed very troubled when you first examined them. One big relationship change that can occur at this time is the transition to being the parent of adult children.
This is a great time to take up new hobbies. If you have kids who are moving out of the house, you or you and your partner might want to choose some new activities to pursue in the free time you suddenly find on your hands. Try to make this a fun and experimental process. Try out a few different things, through taking classes, volunteering, or joining community groups. Continuing to build new interests through middle age and beyond will help keep you engaged and active as you get older.