mid-life, quarter-life, and other life crises…
from a dear friend of mine, amy carpenter- artist, writing, person of extraordinary measures.
admittedly, i am SO NOT into any of the astrology hooey cited below (which is very minimal), but barring that, much of this is on the mark and makes a lot of sense. humans are cyclical, the psyche is cyclical. humans get locked into conventions and comfort zones. it takes time/effort to break out, but it all seems to happen in very recognizable patterns.
this is pretty interesting for younger folks, too, not just the typical “mid-life crisis” types. i always thought i’d gone through a mid-life (quarter-life) crisis at 25.
another somewhat related item from another dear friend, a comment on relationships and why it seems many fail at the 10-12+ year mark (she has a ton experience as divorce lawyer has seen this pattern acutely): “it takes 5 years to get to know one another, it takes another 5 years for an issue/problem to develop, it takes another 5 to identify/address that problem.” her thought was that most couples bail on the third phase.
the below essay is unedited, pulled straight from a FB post.
Everyone in your late 30’s or early 40’s, read this.
This is a mash up of a few different things I read about this time period in your life. I’m not big on this sort of thing, but the authors made some good points and verified what I’ve been saying for 2 years: The 40’s are puberty for old age.
A TON of people in this age group have been messaging, emailing, calling and texting me with all kinds of life issues, all of which are addressed here. So read it. I’m not tagging anyone because these issues are personal. If you are going through tons of angst, a break-up, identity crisis, self-worth issues, or that feeling I have where I just want to run away screaming from mundane life, then yeah… read it. Note: Me posting this doesn’t mean I am not here to listen to your problems…. just sharing so you can think about this because so many of you are going through some very serious stuff… or just feeling that weird “40’s angst”.
Sixth 7 Year Generic Cycle - 35 to 42 years of age
This is a very analytical cycle. Life, by this stage, has generally settled into a predictable routine, which one may begin to question. If a person is truly settled with their life situation, they now have the opportunity to fine tune and perfect their methods or routines. They will become quite expert. If, on the other hand, a person feels their life is stagnating, going nowhere, they will become frustrated which can lead to all sorts of worries and aggravations. There is a tendency to be very fault finding with oneself and to accept any putting down type actions from other people. Any health problems at this stage are a sure sign of bottled up frustration or worry. This is a time to analyze what one has done so far in their life and what one wishes to do in the future. Does the past fit with future desires? If not, what has to be altered?
From the thirty-fifth to the forty-second year, depending upon one’s personality and what one’s circumstances allow, one begins to feel a new restlessness. In some degree a desire to share whatever one has gained through life with others comes to the surface. Thus we find many successful businessmen building libraries, or aiding colleges and the arts at this period in their life. What has been developed or realized can be taken to greater subtlety during this period. This is almost like unfolding something; perhaps similar to the way a flower unfolds a bud that has been developing in earlier phases of its growth.
This is when we reassess the results of what we are doing externally in our life. Our relationships, careers, habits and the ways we interact are all put under scrutiny and modified or changed. It’s a time of facing up to what does and what doesn’t satisfy us.
You may reach heights or realization and creativity not touched previously. The profound breakthrough of ones innate genius that emerges around this time will no doubt be expressed in some degree. However, whatever is attained or realized will be enlarged and synthesized in later periods.
Seventh 7 Year Generic Cycle - 42 to 49 years of age
This is a major turning point in life. This cycle is predominantly relationship based, which can work out in many different ways. By this stage of life one has reached their mid life crisis cycle which occurs generally at 40 years of age. This is established with Uranus becoming exactly opposite to the position it held at birth.
One becomes quite radical where their own desires and sense of self satisfaction is concerned. This quite changes one’s relationships in life. It can mean endings and new beginnings with relationships. It can be a complete changing of habit patterns within a relationship, which one feels is necessary for a much greater sense of personal self-satisfaction. One may begin to express how they really feel rather than conforming to what has been expected of them. One may venture into different directions, which will bring them into contact with either more people or different types of people. The strongest occurrence is a lack of concern about what other people think.
Without a doubt, this is the time in life where people learn what relationships are really all about. By the time a person reaches 50 years of age, they have a totally different perspective about relationships.
Relationships are not simply referring to love relationships - it is all sorts of people one needs to deal with in their life. Dealing with others is relating. By the time a person has journeyed through this period in their 40’s, they have learned to look more logically at the different needs involved in certain types of relationships.
Before this period in life there tends to be a presumption that a relationship will provide a certain outcome. Once this cycle is finished the individual should be furnished with the knowledge that nothing should be presumed. Because there is this strong individual sense that this is who and what I am, the same logic is generally applied (or should be) to others one is dealing with. This leads to greater consideration of any adjustments that would need to be made or any factors that need to be overlooked to enable the relationship to by and large run harmoniously. In other words, by the time a person has completed this 7 year cycle they have normally come to the realization that there are certain things about themselves they will not compromise. If there is any consideration of entering a new relationship at this stage or in the future, they should realize that any other person, from 50 years of age onwards, will also feel the same way about themselves. Virtually, what you see is what you get. This provides a more realistic basis for ascertaining the true possibility of success of the relationship.
Within this 7th Generic Cycle occurs the first repeat of another significant Generic Cycle of the planet Saturn - this is the puberty cycle. The first time this occurs is between 14 and 15 years of age. The second time is between 44 and 45 years of age. This return of the puberty cycle, which is encompassing all the life experiences in between, places one in a situation of sorting out feelings and relationship issues they didn’t quite get on top of when so young. It is quite common for a person’s first love to enter their life again, giving them the opportunity to view that person in a more realistic light. Even if this does not occur one is often challenged with issues that have a basis that go back to this period of time in their life - namely 14 to 21 years of age (in the 3rd Generic Cycle of Uranus). The interesting thing is that at both stages, then and now, there is an underlying rebellion taking place. A greater degree of subtlety is generally present now but this will be largely dependent upon the degree of maturity developed.
What frequently occurs in between the Mid Life Crisis Cycle at 40 years and the repeat of the Puberty Cycle at 45 years is for a long-term marriage or relationship to suddenly break down and a new more exciting one to instantly take its place. This 5-year period is a very risky time to do such things. Better to wait until one is over 45 years of age (for reasons in the above paragraph) before settling down in a new relationship. A different perspective begins to emerge from 45 years of age.
There can also be a strong desire to leave a marriage or long-term relationship and become independent of it. How this will impact financially can have a strong bearing on the realistic possibility of being able to do it. Tied in with this can be generally one person’s lack of ability to be able to support themselves financially, should this path be taken. As a result one can come to the realization, for the first time in their life, that relationships are interwoven with many factors that don’t allow a clear cut division to take place. To avoid complete frustration and a continuous sense of being trapped, one needs to find ways of developing their sense of individuality within the situation. It requires a change of perspective where the relationship is concerned. Part of this can be developing more equality. Generally not an easy thing to do but can be done by utilizing the sense of rebellion in a positive, yet subtle way, by no longer accepting situations that give a sense of inferiority.
42-49 years old
In the next cycle from forty-two until forty-nine a major change usually takes place. It is as if one takes all of one’s life experience up till this age and begins to digest it, and extract from it new ideals and a new direction in life. There is often tremendous unrest in this period and that following it. The unlived aspects of life cry out to be recognised and allowed. The desire to make a mark in life if it has not already been achieved presses for action here.
At this point it appears to many of us that we have reached the mid point of our life and from here on there will be a decline. Even if this is not so it is often felt very strongly and acted upon in one way of another. People change partners, life directions, and even attempt major personal changes, although these latter may have begun in the last cycle.
Also, the emotional age and the maturing of love may at last show signs of an unconditional love. If this is not appearing in small degree, it might be one is still locked in earlier ages. Strangely, many of us maintain the emotional age of a child right into mature years, feeling all the fear of abandonment, jealousy and possessiveness of our childhood. Many divorces and new directions appear around this period.
In these years we move from old stereotypical roles with a new found confidence in our individuality. We are prepared to please our self, rather than society and gain a real understanding of our uniqueness, accompanied by a sense of urgency to express our true self before it gets too late.
Many women – men too of course – gain their sense of value as a person from their ‘attractiveness’. Losing whatever it is that makes them sexually desirable and socially popular – or fearing that they are losing it – will lead to a significant change in their way of life and their feelings about themselves. This is what makes the dreamer call for her husband. This is what produces the feeling of isolation and terror. A woman needs reassurance and love at this point in her life. She may behave indecisively and deflect the advances of her man through a lack of self-esteem.
Fortunately the human personality is resilient. Even though we are reared to identify ourselves with what our body looks like, what it can do, what sex it is, what age it is, and how others react to it, we CAN grow to mature independence without constant reassurance.