Popular culture has provided many ideas about what a midlife crisis looks like.
The truth is that every midlife crisis is different and they do not occur on a schedule.
If you have been feeling especially frazzled and restless, you may be having an early midlife crisis.
Here are some of the signs that you’re going through an early midlife crisis.
1) You’re taking big risks
There’s nothing wrong with taking risks, in fact it can be a big power move.
But if you find that you’re taking quite big risks on the spur of the moment, it can often be a sign that you’re having a quarter life or early midlife crisis.
Risks that you wouldn’t have considered taking become run-of-the-mill, from adrenaline-pumping adventures to gambling to getting intimate with people you wouldn’t have imagined previously.
You’re kind of just winging it and it’s hard to put your finger on any specific reason why.
You just know this:
2) You feel a deep need for radical change
Something needs to change.
It might not even be where you live, your job, your partner or anything in your external life. It might be you that needs to change.
You just know that the old way of doing things feels stale, and that you’re not willing for your life to keep feeling like watching endless reruns.
You’re ready for new content, new experiences, brighter colors, surround sound. You want a change.
3) You’re restless and have a low-grade 24/7 anxiety
There’s a low-grade anxiety following you everywhere.
It feels almost like an itch you can’t scratch on your back or a constant erratic beep from a smoke alarm that’s not working properly.
This feeds into the need for change and the feeling that something isn’t quite right.
Something needs to give, and your anxiety is becoming a real issue in your day-to-day life.
4) You experience massive mood swings in a short time
Your mood swings have become epic, and people are more cautious around you.
You wake up one day feeling like a million bucks and the next day feeling like Enron.
You’re just not sure what’s wrong, but after ruling out things like bipolar disorder and psychiatric issues, the reality is that you’re left with fewer options.
You’re just not satisfied with yourself or your life right now and it’s driving you off the wall.
5) You’re willing to try things you never would have before
Your life has been guided by certain beliefs, customs and lines you won’t cross. Anybody who thinks they don’t have any just hasn’t come to a far enough line yet.
But these lines you won’t cross are starting to blur, and you find yourself willing to try new things in the heat of the moment:
- New substances that may or may not be legal
- New relationship formats and sexual experiences
- New ways of seeing the world spiritually or religiously
- New understandings of morality and ethics that you never would have imagined yourself buying into before.
You’re becoming someone new. Or maybe just expressing part of who you’ve always been behind the societal masks.
6) You’re experimenting with new styles and appearances
You’re dressing in ways you never would have imagined in the past and trying out styles and personas that friends and family don’t think of as “you.”
You may splurge on shopping trips, start buying things that have a totally different vibe, or trade in your vehicle for a completely unique ride.
Perhaps your brand new gray Toyota sedan gets traded in for a rough-around-the-edges 1997 Chevy truck and you go from hip hop to blasting country and wearing a cowboy hat and boots.
You’re not interested in living up to what people think you should be. You’re interested in being yourself, or at least the new self that you’re discovering.
7) You’re changing your routine and daily habits in big ways
What used to be your daily routine is starting to get a shakeup in many ways.
You may start jogging or working out before your workday starts, or begin drinking a lot and going to raves after work.
You take random trips on weekends to places you never would have used to be interested in and begin to hang out with all new people.
Your routine is getting switched up all the time and you barely even notice anymore. You just know that when you go about your usual routine you feel like a leaden weight inside you and you need to get up and stretch your legs.
8) You’re making major purchases on impulse and spending big
You find yourself buying things you didn’t even know you wanted.
One day you’re going to the office like usual and coming home to a TV dinner. The next day, you’ve decided to buy a surfboard and are out late trying to ride a wave and getting into a wild late-night party with a group of people you met on the beach.
Before you know it you’ve invested $10,000 on a hobby you’ve only done twice so far, and you’re also changing your whole wardrobe into a surfer vibe.
9) Your relationships are going through major evolutions or upheaval
The stereotype is that a mid-life crisis usually means having an affair or breakup.
This isn’t always the case, however, and it can be a little more subtle than that.
You may find that you stay with your current partner or stay single. But your feelings about your relationship or singlehood are changing.
If you are in a relationship it’s shifting in very real ways. You may be becoming more assertive, or withdrawing.
You may be tempted to break up, or realize your partner will have to change if you want to make this work.
10) You feel nostalgic for special times in the past
You find yourself thinking back to times in your childhood, adolescence or other phases of your life and they have you deeply nostalgic.
Where did those times go?
Something about who you were seems like it was more genuine or raw back then.
Who have you become now? Why do you feel so much less authentic?
You want to recover that feeling of being authentic and real that seems buried like gold treasure somewhere in the past.
11) Your friends and social circles are changing a lot
People you hit it off with before are fading from your life. You’re no longer very close with the same folks.
You may regard old friends with affection and still chat now and then, but the core of your relationship feels lackluster.
You’re relating to different types of people now and forming friendships in social circles you didn’t previously frequent.
For better or for worse, you’re becoming a new type of person.
12) You’re questioning your life choices and career
Your career may or may not be fully formed at this point, but either way you’re on the fence about it.
You’re considering a totally new path or making a U-turn.
You may have quit your job or be seriously thinking about walking in and giving your two weeks’ notice. It’s not just about being “unhappy” or “deserving more.”
It’s some instinct inside of you that says your job or career is keeping you stagnant, and your life choices as a whole need to be amped up a notch.
13) You’re thinking a lot about mortality and the shortness of life
You find yourself thinking about death quite a bit, and not in a “teenage phase” type of way.
The reality of mortality has sunk in. You may have lost friends or loved ones who forced the topic into your mind and heart even when you’d rather avoid it.
Along with a recognition of mortality is a dawning realization that life does matter and that you need to be true to yourself during the short time you have.
Who am I?
If you’re having an early mid-life crisis there’s a core question at the heart of it:
Who am I?
More deeply, the question also includes: Who do I want to be?
Every crisis has an opportunity inside it, depending what you do with it.
Although a mid-life crisis can be disruptive and disorienting, it can also be a great chance to become more self-aware and decide what’s most important to you in life and where you want to head in the future.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
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