Midlife crisis

Coping with the Midlife "Flat Spot"

Barbara Moses, a career planning advisor and author of several books, says that, in our first stage of life, we make our way in the world, concerned with financial issues, seeking status, trying to achieve a certain position in society. However, at mid-life, many people drift into a disengagement from their career pursuits, boredom, and low grade depression. Things that previously excited them have lost their meaning, they feel stuck, they can't imagine what's next in their lives. This can be particularly difficult when facing retirement.

Barbara says that retirement planning is a time for a meaningful self-assessment, to evaluate who you are, what you care about, and what you like do. This process will often reveal what should happen next in your life.

Barbara emphasizes that retirement involves a psychological change; becoming more internally driven. It doesn't happen overnight.

She describes a "portfolio" approach as an option for the second stage of life; developing a number of different part-time activities which satisfy various personal needs; i.e. one activity for earning income, another for artistic expression, another for community activity, etc.


Different genders = different attitudes at mid-life

Barbara has guided thousands of people through structured questionnaires to help them understand their own motivations, values, and preferences.

Analysing the data from these questionnaires, she has found that men and women face very different issues at midlife.

Unless they are in an unbearable situation, mid-life men continue to "do, act and achieve", they don't ask themselves "Am I happy?". At this stage, men are saying "Leave me alone, let me do my own thing, don't bug me."

Women, on the other hand, have experienced more changes in their lives by this stage, and they tend to be more reflective. They are concerned about doing work that is in tune with their values, and want to leave a mark of their own. The women are saying "I want to be connected and challenged."