Mid Life – Reclaiming the Losses
It is pretty much certain that after the defining stage of youth with its emphasis on building identity that there will need to be a correction. Youth is often a very social stage of development when one judges oneself against what one sees to be the norms of society. Youth is often focused externally as one needs to figure out how to navigate through the world. Inevitably there comes a time when the regular ways of doing things no longer work, or perhaps the way one has come to think about themselves is no longer accurate or complete enough. One begins to think that something is wrong with them because their way of doing things is supposed to work and yet problems remain. For a while, perhaps a decade or two, one continues to look around for answers in various places, ultimately either finding something that works (at least for a while) or despairing that there is no hope for them, perhaps even feeling that they have failed at life. Depression or anxiety may set in.
What is needed at this point in life is usually to do the opposite of what we’ve been doing. However, the resistance to this can be overwhelming. Navigating this transition is difficult. There are some good books about this, but for some reading is not enough. It is important to look inwardly at this time, to work on reclaiming what was lost in youth. The active processes in youth and young adulthood are geared to defining what one is and what one is not. Some of the parts of ourselves that have been denied or repressed in this way begin to come to the surface and become increasingly harder to ignore, like youthful desires that were never met – or even acknowledged. If we do not increase our awareness of what is happening we can find ourselves lost in an affair, or losing interest in things, or becoming depressed about the state of our career, or the unsatisfying nature of much of what we do. It is important during this time to learn about ourselves, about what is happening inside of us and to reconnect with what has been lost. By doing this we can feel hope again and live more fully and completely as ourselves.