You look different and you feel different, but you're still not used to it. But rather than wishing you could turn back time, you can find new ways to move foward.
You have everything. You have a family, you have kids, and you have a comfortable life. And yet, you feel unhappy. You have all the things that your 20-year-old self dreamed of having and even though it seems like you should be fine, you're consumed by this feeling of total dissatisfaction, and you're just not able to put a finger on it. Could this be the much dreaded mid-life crisis setting in?
If you are going through any or many of the following, it could explain why you're feeling the way you do.
You went through your 20s thinking "there's plenty of time". You went through your 30s thinking "there's still time". After years of putting your needs on hold for your family and loved ones, you start thinking about all the things you thought you would do but never did. And you're left wondering if you will ever have the time to finally do everything that you hit 'pause' on.
As you grow older, you feel like you're leaving a part of you behind. You think that all the excitement of life is over, but that's because you were trained to think that you need to be young to have fun. Maybe you can't run up the stairs as fast as you could before, maybe you don't do spontaneous, silly things that your 20-year-old self would do. But it doesn't mean that your golden years are over. Your golden years are when you decide them to be.
Suddenly, you feel like your life has been reduced to chores, commitments, and keeping up with all your responsibilities. You feel like you're running on autopilot but you're worried about the consequences that might arise if you stop. As you keep up with your roles as a partner, parent, or sibling, you start searching for the silver lining that has something in store only for you.
"One of the wonderful things about youth is that you really think you have all the time in the world and the future is where all your dreams will come true," said Dr. Robi Ludwig, author of Your Best Age is Now, according to Woman's Day. But now it seems so daunting when you realize that the 'future' you always referred to when you were younger is actually here and now.
While you may have thought that sleep would be your escape from the feeling of dissatisfaction, you realize you were wrong there, too. Even as you lay down your head to rest, your mind starts swirling with questions about where your life is heading or is there any other milestone left in life to look forward to. It may take time to find that purpose but once you do, your life takes a whole new meaning.
You spend more time looking in the mirror, counting the wrinkles and gray hair that have been appearing. You might try out creams and treatments to hide them, but the truth is that your grays are strands of wisdom to be proud of. The moment you stop thinking of it as a crisis and more of a midlife-opportunity, things will turn around. "Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find yourself. Some call this a mid-life crisis; I call it the Heroine's Journey," Marcia Reynolds wrote for Psychology Today.
"What's next?" might be the question that's been haunting you. You might take some time to answer that question, but what's important to remember is that happiness has less to do with your age and more to do with how you look at your life. Don't be afraid of what might be up ahead; it's never too late to do the things you were always afraid of doing or you always said you would do later. After all, there is a chance of being pleasantly surprised when you're willing to push out of your comfort zone; you owe it to yourself to take the risk.