I think that people reach their mid-life crisis (I’m pretty sure everyone has one) when they realize that time is going by so fast, they can’t keep up any more.
It’s like the moment when your child passes you by in a talent or skill. Weren’t you just teaching him how to sing a nursery rhyme, and now he’s performing in front of others? Weren’t you just showing her how to kick a ball, and now she’s winning soccer championships?
Around the same time, your child believes he or she is so much smarter than you. I don’t mean when you can no longer help them with their math homework. I mean your child’s perceived reality is that you can’t possible know all the right answers or give good advice and you are basically clueless to the real world.
While your child is dealing with a new identity crisis: Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want to do with my life?- you start to have one as well. You may have spent the last 12 to 15 years in the role of a parent- maybe in the same job or field as well. All of the sudden, you’re not sure what you want to do with your life either!
My children are not yet teenagers, but I find myself asking my oldest: “Why do you always have to argue? Why can’t you just do what you’re told?” I know that’s a silly question. And I know in my heart I want them to have a tendency to question. I don’t want them to take everything they learn in school as gospel. I want them to ask “Why?” and “How do we know?” Especially when half of what they learn is on the playground. I want them to be strong and think for themselves. As long as they clean up after themselves and do their homework!
As adults, I don’t think we can take anything for granted. We have a limited amount of time to be hands-on parents. We have a limited amount of time on earth! Are we asking questions that will keep our life’s journey on the best, most fulfilling path? Are we settling for a life based on the circumstances we’re given, or do we choose to make our own way?
A “crisis,” mid-life or otherwise, is not always a bad thing. It can be a crossroads. It can be a point of assessing your values and strengths, and determining to either persevere in the current path, or to find a new way. It is, however, a purposeful choice, to go forward in the direction we feel called.