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?
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Tags: Men's Roles, Podcasts, Resources, The Disquiet, Women & family, Working with change, lifetwo, midlife, midlife crisis