Erik Erikson believed that identity has its origins in adolescence.
While Identity may begin during middle and high school, it has its fruition as we move past forty or fifty. Why? After living a good part of life - career, relationships, perhaps children and marriage, success and failure – it is in midlife that we have an opportunity to confront and embrace who we really are.
Halfway – The Good and the Bad:
For some, midlife is presented with tumult and disruption, while for others, it is a time for introspection. No stereotype fits all. People come to therapy for many reasons in their forties and fifties, and confronting one's life choices are often a part of it. So, depression can bring someone to therapy as easily as anxiety, marital conflict or simply a sense of unfulfilled emptiness.
Marriage is enriched or confronted and careers are reevaluated, self-care accessed.
For men and women both, midlife carries power.
The word “Decide” comes from the Latin root “to cut’.
So, to make an incision is to cut in and to make a decision is to cut off. This makes intuitive sense. When we make decisions in youth–marriage, career, friends–we cut off other opportunities in order to have what we had wanted.
Now, in midlife, another voice often begins to call what Carl Jung labeled as the “unlived life.”
Midlife & Therapy:
1. First, the presenting problem needs to be addressed, whether it is a depression, a difficult marriage, anxiety or career/parenting issues. The second part of the treatment is about dealing with the midlife issue that fueled the original problem. Finally, the identity that requires attention needs to be understood and lived.
2. Midlife is about confronting your life. Not the life that you want to have or the life you wish you had, but the life that you do have. You are no longer a child trying to satisfy society or parents. It is now time to truly know who you are inside; your core values, your core self.
3. Once your identity is secure, and your core values are clear, then you can take things on. It can be a new career, or enlivening the one you have. It can be a new partner or enriching the relationship that you already have. Or, it can simply be gaining a better understanding of spirit or the wonder of living every day, deeply and with joy.
They say that youth is wasted on the young.
Yet, midlife has its own rewards when you have the courage to hear another part of yourself calling.
Florida Parenting Course: www.FamilyStabilizationCourse.com
Books on Kindle: The Intelligent Divorce (I & II)
Books on Amazon: The Intelligent Divorce (I & II)