By "something"...I mean God.
(For the sake of avoiding a theological argument, let's expand that into "a higher power", or something that is MORE/bigger than you. After all, if you don't have all the answers, who does? Someone? Something?
I'm in a conversation with a good friend. She mentions there is just one thing missing in her life. She's 40. This is about the time we take stock of haves and have-nots.
She says, "I don't have a significant other and I don't want to be alone. I have a good job, my own place, a satisfying hobby, my dog, a new car, and friends."
I'm thinking to myself, her inventory list is short if she's only missing one more item! As some of us have figured out, a significant other doesn't exactly solve problems- not in the way she's hoping. It can create additional ones. Am I right?!
What my friend is missing is meaning, God, or connection to a higher power.
I'm in my 40's too, and a lot of people my age are in crisis, dropping to their knees, but not to pray. Stranded in the middle of their life with a big hole, wondering what now?
I know what you're thinking. It's a midlife crisis, but it's actually a spiritual crisis.
They're searching for meaning, for governance, for purpose. It is because money, material, professional, and relationship expectations are being measured at 40 something. Beyond that, what is there?
Am I where I want to be in life?
Do I have a good job?
Do I have the job I always wanted?
Am I single, married, divorced?
Am I making good money?
Do I have a nice car or house?
Am I well-traveled?
Do people love me?
Am I in good health?
Even If you answer 'yes' or 'no' to these questions, you'll suffer the midlife crisis without connection.
Do you believe in God...or something?
If you stand next to the ocean (my favorite feeling) and you reach your arms out in front of you, what do they touch? Physically? Nothing! But the feeling is there. You hear the waves come crashing in. The ocean surrounds you. You are completely aware of it's presence. That feeling of being small standing next to something so powerful, much bigger than us. Immeasurable.
I watched my dad successfully fulfill all of the typical middle age requirements/the complete checklist (minus spiritual fulfillment) and he took off in a sports car with a younger woman, leaving my mom and I behind.
He created a crisis because he measured life by all the typical standards. He was not a man of faith- a self proclaimed atheist.
My mom is a woman of faith, and eventually she found meaning in the tragedy of 18 years of marriage down the drain, due to my dad's "midlife crisis"?
My definition: The midlife spiritual crisis is being deeply, restlessly, or vaguely, unhappy whether having accumulated the list of expectations by a certain age, or having not accumulated all of them.
It doesn't really matter, or mean anything, if you have wealth, health, and relationships.
They are wonderful, but not internally gratifying. People still have to work at being grateful for these things.
This crisis exists in people I love, and I am sad to see it.
I watch them squirm a little with relentless thoughts of...'I need a better job. That would fulfill me.' 'I wish I were married'. 'I should travel more.' 'I need a hobby'. Distractions.
You can add ALL those things to your to-do list and you will still be off-course.
It boils down to, 'Why'? I was just telling a friend, it's my favorite question!!!! I went to school for psychology because I wanted to know WHY people do the things they do. It was a beautiful search because it taught me forgiveness. Human nature is infinitely flawed. But if we are flawed, that must mean something is perfect. God.
You won't find a satisfying answer to "why" unless you dig deeper than theories in psychology. Higher power, interconnectedness, God, and at least a spiritual glimmer of hope, connect you to the answers you start seeking midlife. It's a belief in a universe of meaning and hope. It is often the "more" we are searching for. You don't have to chase it to find it. If you believe in God, you know that he calls us to be more, not less ourselves.
We're always in a process of becoming found.
Faith is an ongoing endeavor. Some people believe and are still lost. They don't practice their faith.
'Why' is intimidating. I remember asking why I got a chronic illness. That question made me unhappy. Why would anyone who ate healthily and worked out 6 days a week, get ill?
I have since found meaning in it...only from asking why.
I spend time in reflection often. Sometimes it's quiet time. Self-hypnosis meditations. Prayer. I look for meaning. Find purpose. Discover goals. Find answers...and even contentment in unanswered questions. I find that the people who avoid or busily fill up this quieted-mind time are avoiding the big question, WHY?
Don't ask yourself what you are missing. Ask yourself WHY you are missing.