Helping men who feel something missing in their lives

The Disquiet in Men

Helping men who feel something missing in their lives

The male mid-life crisis – it’s no joke

I have been writing a bit about the male mid-life crisis (MLC) and how it’s seen as a joke in the media and in our culture. Underneath the joke is a pretty significant life event. In an article I wrote at LifeTwo.com, I said:

Jokes aside, the MLC is a hugely spiritual happening. Maybe the word “crisis” is the problem. It evokes the feeling of an emergency that was unplanned. Like a hurricane that comes out of no where and destroys the town.

I wonder if it really comes from nowhere. We all know about the stage of adolescence and it’s craziness. We joke about that as well – from a different perspective though – we have all been there. With the MLC, we do something different – we point our fingers at it like we know what it is but we haven’t done it. Really?

So what if it’s a real bona fide stage of development? A real passage in life?
Where did we get the idea that this stage in life is a crisis?

I think it’s because of how we are relating to it. The panic that something is wrong makes it a crisis. The idea we are doing something wrong, that life has gone wrong and that we are losing at life all make it a crisis.

There is another part to this. Running at the speed of light (life). Running. Moving too fast to feel. Running toward the dreams before it’s too late. Running from the clock ticking down and the body changing. Running to keep from having to think the new thoughts popping up at 3 am. Thoughts about losing loved ones and dying.

The wisdom from all the spiritual traditions and old wives have a lot to say here. “Live your life as if it’s the last”. “It’s a good day to die”. “Die before you die”. ” Smell the roses”. “Love fully”. “Laugh and dance”. Funny how they all sound trite, Hallmark-y and trivialized. But there is wisdom in here. They all say engage!

Engage the discomfort. See the fears. Go into the dark of this night. The archetypal long night of the soul. I think that is when the MLC arises – when we don’t heed that call.

Prologue: What to Remember When Waking

…You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents.
You were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be,
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you to grow
and spread its branches against a future sky?…

(c) 1990 David Whyte

What are your thoughts?

Do you see your own Disquiet as a significant event(s) in your life?

What urgency calls you?

[Click on the "leave a response" or "comment" link below to ask a question or leave a comment.]


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11 Responses to “The male mid-life crisis – it’s no joke”

  1. LifeTwo Says:

    The male mid life crisis is no joke…

    We have all seen the TV shows about it and laughed at the jokes. We have even seen it. The paunchy guy with little hair and thick glasses sitting behind the wheel of a BMW Z3 coup. The corvette that zips by you being driven by some nerdy looking guy…

  2. sean Says:

    It’s no joke. It is very difficult when you no longer have the emotinal capital to spend on being the person you wish you were.

  3. Dave Schoof Says:

    Sean you are so right. And when you are emotionally exhausted, its hard to see a way forward sometimes. I know I have then forced myself to take actions, make changes that didn’t help in the long run. I have learned the hard way that I first have to take some time and recharge, get healed up and get strong before I can make sense of what I need to do next. Thanks for posting and good luck on your journey. Stay around and let me know if this information helps.

  4. Michael Says:

    I know it’s no joke. I lived through it. After ten years of being with a woman who refused to touch me any longer, I found myself wondering just what the hell my 40′s were really going to offer. Another sexless, loveless, stagnant decade? Nope. I found myself leaving that situation almost in the third person. Next thing I knew I was in Montreal with a woman half my age, and I won’t lie… it was pretty damned nice. I’m now with a wonderful woman, my own age who actually makes me feel like I have something to offer.
    So I didn’t buy a red sports car and get hair plugs.. but who had more fun?

  5. Brad Says:

    This site is a godsend. The last year or so of my life has been a case study in “mid-life crisis”.

    On the surface my life is good — I’m well-known and respected in my profession, I’ve been in a strong relationship with a lovely woman for several years (after being divorced a long time ago), and I have two wonderful kids.

    Yet “disquiet” is exactly what haunts me these days. I enjoy my job less and less, and have lost interest in my old hobbies. I feel somehow adrift, as if there’s something “I should be doing”, but I just can’t figure out what that is.

    So yes, it’s real all right.

  6. Dave Schoof Says:

    Michael – sounds like you came through it pretty intact and now have a life you want. Great!

    Brad – you really describe the Disquiet well. That undercurent is almost like ringing in your ears – somethime you don’t know it is really there and then all of a sudden it is al you “hear”. I hope you find the resources here helpful.

    Come back – lots of new services are coming up. And your comments and questions are always welcome. Feel free to contact me directly if that seems helpful as well.
    Good luck!

  7. Question The Mind Says:

    Are there really men in the world who are “up to good”?…

    Turn on any news channel and you’ll see that a lot of the stories focus on men who are up to no good (according to most people.) The stories focus around men who seem to have messed up in some way – by taking police on a high speed chase (there are a …

  8. Hugh Says:

    This article reminds me why my body and mind don’t bounce back as quickly as during earlier years. Keeping the mind alert and active seems so important, particularly when considering the option of atrophy and forgetfulness.

    Word play like crossword games and even bad puns may help. Just the other day, I found a boomerang in my closet and couldn’t remember how to use it.

    Then it came back to me .

  9. Dave Schoof Says:

    Challenging the brain is important. Studying a language, learning to play an instrument and the games you mentions are all good. I am learning how to type! What a challenge!

  10. Related article: Is a midlife crisis the same as the Diquiet? Says:
  11. David Says:

    Where to begin?
    “Thank you” to all of you who have added comments. I have turned to the internet for this very reason, to see if I was alone in this MLC “thing”.I can relate to much of the commentary. Michael says this thing about “almost in the third person”. I agree. I have taken drastic measures in my life in the last year or two, beginning with utilizing the internet to search for missing sexual love and thereby destroying my second marriage of 10 years. (By the way-it was a fruitless exploratory search-no sex was ever had!)I have felt disembodied in some of this stuff.I don’t get the thing about the “red sports car”. I have no interest in going any faster, I just want everything to SLOW DOWN! I feel that I have been in my own funk since my early 30′s and will turn 50 in January 09.It started early for me in my first marriage with a deceitful cocaine addicted first wife whom I had to divorce, and of course exhibited all the worst behavior but got custody of my children, thank you very much commonwealth of Massachusetts. Things began to turn ugly in my soul back then and disillusionment about my WHOLE life and for what purpose this living in mortality? A Father yet not allowed to be a Father, and on and on into my 40′s playing catch-up from the 1980′s, now in the 2000′s and still so far behind! I feel I am in the race of my life with so much to accomplish and so little time before death grabs me and leaves me looking like a failed wretch in the eyes of my children and 4 grand children. It is overwhelming,trying to keep a focus on daily tasks, somehow everything feels all tainted and not much more than heaping pile of stinking B.S.!

    I have struck out on my own now starting literally at ground zero in every way.My relationships with my adult children are all non communicative lately, because I frankly made it clear to them that I will not tolerate there retardation any longer in terms of substance abuse and general ignorant behavior.

    I have within myself said F.U. to the world more or less, and am focusing on getting through my own piles of B.S.

    I am so sick of the physical carpentry work I do each day. I have had severe back pain now for at least 2 years which is always there in some measure. Seeing the chiropractor is only a temporary relief, and I cringe at the $30.00 CO-PAY!

    For years,I have been telling some people in my life, that when I turn 50, I was going to disappear and write this book that seems really, is just and excuse to write and leave behind a record that I was here on earth and was impacted by my time here.A no holes barred account of life as I have observed it, good, bad, and ugly.

    I have taken up writing a blog, but that just seems ridiculous as no one but my Brother-in-law, has read any of it thus far.Lol!

    I wish everyone well with this ABSOLUTELY REAL and DIFFICULT passage.

    Women have been sticking by each other on so many fronts continuously, I would just like to see us men look out for each other and offer insights to each other as well.

    DP Morris

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