Midlife crisis hits in 30s

When
we hear the term “midlife crisis”, many of us associate it with people, usually
men, somewhere between the ages of 40 and 60, and the term often conjures up
images of fast cars, young women, drastic changes in personal style, and
dramatic changes in behaviour, to name just a few. 

But
what about the crises experienced by those between the ages of 30 and 35?

A new definition

 

It
cannot be a “quarter life crisis”, as this term generally applies to those in
their 20s, who are finishing school and entering the “real world” with all its
associated stresses.  Some have referred
to this difficult period as a “thrisis”, but what exactly does this mean? 

According
to www.definition-of.com, a “thrisis” is: “A 30-something crisis. Personal
emotional turmoil caused by intense discontentment and boredom with one’s life;
often resulting from one’s career. Despite having achieved career goals and the
appearance of success, a “thrisis” sufferer feels trapped in a void of
meaninglessness.

Many
people experience periods of time, generally every 10 years or so, when they
self-reflect, and take inventory of their lives now, where they would like to
be, and where they thought they would be by this point in life.  For many in their early to mid-30s, this age
is a flash point in both their personal and professional lives.

In
their book, Midlife Crisis at 30, authors Lia Macko and Kerry Rubin note that
at around the age of 30, “[t]he lives women are living feel out of sync with
the lives they thought they’d be living”, and that it is a time when major
decisions about marriage, motherhood, and career are all coinciding, leaving
some women with feelings of emptiness and a lack of purpose.

It’s
not just women who experience the stress and confusion of “thrises” though.

For
some men, many of life’s stressors tend to converge at this time. When one
reaches their 30s, they may feel harried by their attempts to balance work and
family, and many may begin to doubt some of the decisions they have made, both
personally and professionally. 

In
the face of the ageing process, which often goes unnoticed prior to this, some
may question whether there is still time to achieve their dreams, or if “this
is it”.  No matter what your personal scenario,
the important thing to remember is that this type of questioning is a natural
part of life.

Signs of a “thrisis” 

A
common element is a feeling of dissatisfaction with what may appear to be a perfect
life to others; i.e recently having a 30-something birthday, being
professionally successful, happy at home, but nonetheless feeling a sense of
emptiness. 

Kasey
Edwards, author of “30 Something and Over It”, writes that although everyone’s
symptoms are different, a “thrisis” “isn’t about regret but about looking
forward and thinking, ‘I don’t want the next 30 years to look like this.’”

According
to Tom Preston, something to try is to ask yourself the “Trilogy Questions”:

What
do I want?

For
this exercise, try to think outside of the box. Really think about what you
want, even if it seems wild or unobtainable, such as becoming a professional
actor or athlete. 

How
can I get it?

Consider
how your goal can be met within your current financial commitments without
compromising the value or unmet need in question.  For example, contacting a local amateur
dramatic society still represents the spirit of the challenge, but is an
initial step that is realistic and obtainable.

When
will I do what?

The
answer to this question requires that you build a time-line around the actions
listed as answers to “How”

Whether
one is experiencing a “thrisis”, or any feelings indicating that they want
something more or different out of life, it is important to recognise and acknowledge
these feelings and to take action of some kind. 
Simply reminding ourselves that we are being proactive can help us to
feel better. 

For
those who think it may be helpful to talk through such feelings, an appointment
with an EAP counsellor is only a phone call away.

For
more information on this topic, or to schedule a confidential appointment,
contact The Employee Assistance Programme, at 949-9559 or visit our website, at
www.eap.ky.

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