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How to avoid a mid-life crisis

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Mid-life, from about the mid-30s to the mid-60s, is a time of transition and can become a crisis if it is not understood and handled wisely.

- Educate yourself about the normal changes that will occur in your body and mind during the middle years. Care for yourself with proper attitude, nutrition and exercise.- Focus on the new opportunities that mid-life provides with less demands on your time. Find a new hobby and share it with someone you love.

- Think about the past but resist the tendency to mourn or fantasize about the things that "could have been." Writing your life history is an excellent and productive way to reminisce about your past and preserve memories to share with your posterity.

- Be of service to others who will seek your advice, wisdom and strength.

"Youth is wasted on the young," but middle age need not be wasted on the confused and discouraged. It can be enjoyed by the educated, optimistic and wise. - Beth Sano, Bountiful, Utah

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What we did:

Read the sciptures

I am 51 years old, and I have considered myself to be middle-age for more than 20 years. Here are some simple suggestions to avoid the mid-life crisis.

- Get and stay physically fit. It is too easy to lay around and list excuses for not engaging in physical fitness. Simply adjust your priorities and make time for it.

- Read the scriptures daily. We greatly benefit from regular spiritual nourishment; it is a wonderful protection for us.

- Accept callings and fulfill them diligently. When we are actively engaged in good work and associating with good people, we don't have time to consider self-indulgences. It's trite but true that "idleness is the devil's workshop."

- Be actively engaged with your children. As we enjoy doing things with them, we realize how precious they are to us and that we would never want to do anything that would cause them to lose trust in us.

- Never let your guard down. Remember, this mid-life era lasts for 40 years. - Herbert D. Wright, Zanesville, Ohio

Serve others

Mid-life is a time for reflection on the past and for determining to make the future one of satisfaction and joy. This comes through a commitment of service to self, Church and community. It also includes the acceptance of health problems and a commitment to strengthen family and friends.

The individual lost in a life of service and secure in acceptance of one's self escapes the dread of the so-called mid-life crisis, and life continues (or can start) to be a joyful experience. - Esther J. Wallace, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Alma's invitation

Remember as Alma invites (Alma 5:14, 26) ". . . Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? . . . If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"

You can bring meaning to your life by following this spiritual invitation. - Jeannette and Collins Meek, Calgary, Alberta

Expand mind

Do something you have been putting off. It was my dream to obtain a bachelor's degree when I was 18. Unfortunately I left college. At the age of 38, I went back to college part-time, and four years later I am gradually working toward a degree. It keeps me learning and growing. It provides self-esteem in working towards a long-desired goal, eliminates the depression of having wasted all those years since high school, and doesn't allow me time to sit around the house feeling sorry for myself.

Even if you are not working toward a degree, taking classes through a local adult education program, a college, or an institute of religion, is a great way to expand your mind. It is amazing what a difference it makes. - Kathy Lynn Doan, Salt Lake City, Utah

Maintain enthusiasm

Remorse for what we did not accomplish in prior years or fear of what we may not be able to accomplish in the years to come can consume us with paralyzing uncertainties or frantic, misguided efforts. Neither are productive.

I have chosen to:

- Never loose my sense of humor.

- Maintain the same enthusiasm I've always had as a father, Church member, and computer programmer.

- Remember the wisdom and good judgment that has gotten me this far. - Austin Amundsen, Salt Lake City, Utah

Simple beauty of exercise

As a nurse practitioner and health educator, I have seen an almost magic "agent" help me and others through mid-life smoothly. This agent helps control blood pressure and weight, keeps joints mobile, reduces cancer risks and brightens mental health. This agent is exercise.

The simple beauty of exercise is that it can be taken in many forms such as walking, gardening, swimming, hiking or jogging. - Linda Leeper, Salt Lake City, Utah

Set goals

Right after my first child was born, my mother gave me some advice. "Get out of the house some times, and you will be a better mother." I took her advice.

I attended Relief Society classes and learned new skills. I read more than just novels. If the subject was totally new I would read a junior book and then, with a base of knowledge, read the adult book. Public Broadcasting Service also added to my learning in the early years.

Later I added night classes from the community college or attended craft classes.

I purchased the college manuals for the scriptures and studied them and other religious materials.

As the children grew, volunteer service became possible. I worked with the Cub Scouts, 4-H, and the Red Cross, and at the county fair and schools.

When my mid-life crisis came I looked back on how much had been added to my life through learning and service and although I have many things that I did not do, there were many things that I did do. Then I made a list of goals to accomplish during the next years of my life. - JoAnn Bair, Ephrata, Wash.

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How to checklist:

1 Focus on new opportunities, don't dwell on past; continue learning.

2 Serve others; determine to make the future one of joy.

3 Read scriptures daily; accept

callings, fulfill them diligently; be engaged in good works.

4 Get proper nutrition, exercise; set goals.

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WRITE TO US:

Nov. 8 "How to help your marriage grow while you're in college."

Nov. 15 "How to encourage children and young people to be physically active."

Nov. 22 "How to help your children get along."

Nov. 29 "How to enlarge your social circle, make new friends as a single member of the Church."

Dec. 6 "How to feel, spread the spirit of Christmas when you live alone."

Dec. 13 "How to find strength and be a positive influence when you're only member in family."

Dec. 20 "How to make Christ the center of Christmas traditions."

Dec. 27 "How to develop qualities of discipleship"

- Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to get out of a rut in your career," "How to help yourself or loved one overcome an abusive nature," "How to be prepared to share the gospel and answer questions," "How to fortify your homes against evil." "How to build a strong work ethic in children."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: forum@desnews.com. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.