Turning 40 in 2008 seemed like any other annoying increase in age. I spent several weeks prior to that September 15th date dreading this milestone and not really understanding why. I shut down any attempts or talks of celebration. Now that I am approaching 42 I have allowed myself to think differently about this point of time in my life. I want to explore how changing the social context of the so-called ‘midlife crisis’ in my own life is liberating and necessary. I’m sure it would have been nice to have a blow out party with lots of alcohol and a barrage of ‘old’ jokes thrown in for good measure. And that would have been typical.

The midlife crisis (first identified by Carl Jung) has been touted, loathed and made fun of over the years. Stereotypes abound in our media and other public discussions. Men turn 40 and buy a motorcycle or fast car. Women turn 40 and are ready to slit their wrists. What I’ve observed is that there is an agreement. At 40 you realize that you are literally half-way through your existence on the planet Earth. You may ask yourself, “So what do I know thus far?” “What have I accomplished?” “What’s left for me to do?” The average life span of a U.S. citizen is 78 years. So I’ve got a good 36 years left to go. For the next 36 years I am going to ask those questions. Not only will I ask those questions but I will take responsibility and answer them.

As I take stock I am amazed! I am going to acknowledge me. The perfectly imperfect me. I am going to question this silliness we call a crisis. I realize that this is a priceless time in my life.