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Hi I'm Jane Fendelman for About.com. Today we're talking about midlife crisis, so what is a midlife crisis?

What Causes a Midlife Crisis?

There's the classic cliche, the guy gets a red sports car, people can get very depressed, they can become very enraged, people that are normally passive and quiet, you can see them with an outburst of anger, you can see them go and do something really wild.

When a person has not followed their calling, their life's calling, people live a life that was not the life they were meant to live and they're living out the should's, should's that either were given to them by their parents or their teachers or their older siblings or their religion, and when people are doing what they think they "should" do, eventually they'll crash into a huge brick wall and then they start doing all kinds of crazy stuff. That's what causes a midlife crisis.

How Does a Midlife Crisis Start?

When you're having a midlife crisis, you usually start on a downward spiral and your life starts spinning out of control. Hopefully then you'll realize it and find your true path. Sometimes you don't and you hit rock bottom, hopefully sooner than later, and when you hit rock bottom then you start looking around your life thinking "what is it that's out of joint here? What do I need to look at? What do I need to change? What was I born to do?"

What Life Events Trigger a Midlife Crisis?

Things that can trigger a midlife crisis are things like your children moving out and going off to college and getting married, and there's that empty nest syndrome. You look around your life and realize "what the heck am I doing? I've been a mom for all these years and nothing else." Sometimes seeing a friend going through their midlife crisis and changing their life for the better can trigger it.

Sometimes just time, just doing time in that box that you've been living in, the box of approval. We live in this box with this need for approval, and that's very stifling and suffocating. We do eventually outgrow that. Also, a spiritual awakening or an epiphany experience can really lead you to a midlife crisis.

Think of a Midlife Crisis as a Good Thing

But we want to think of a midlife crisis as a good thing not a bad thing, it has a bad rap in our culture. And, in the Chinese language, everything is made out of picture words, everything written with pictures, and the word for "crisis is made out of two words, one is the word for danger, and the other is the word for opportunity. So, it is dangerous, because it's a death of the old you, the old life, and it is an opportunity for you to live your true life's calling.

How Do You Get Out of a Midlife Crisis?

How to get out of a midlife crisis? You really need to listen to your gut. You don't have to be a spiritual person to be able to follow your heart or follow your soul. You just need to really pay attention to what makes you happy.

So, look at your midlife crisis as, you're a caterpillar, you're in a very tight cocoon, you're squeezing out, it's a little uncomfortable, you are to spread your wings, you're going to fly.

Thanks for watching, to learn more visit us on the web at About.com.
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