#4: The Power in a Mid-Life Crisis

What if the “midlife crisis” is not a crisis but a blessing in disguise? What can it tell us? Can this be an invitation to look inwards?

Rani and Suraj explore this interesting subject in this episode. They reflect their own experience of being part of that age demographic and how they try to make sense of it.

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Transcript of episode #4

Rani 0:00
What if midlife crisis is not a crisis but a blessing in disguise? Can this be an invitation to look inwards?

Hi, it’s Rani here. Welcome back to our podcast. Thank you for listening.

Suraj 0:47
Hi, this is Suraj. Thank you for listening and welcome back. I can’t believe it. We are in the fourth episode of our podcast!

Rani 0:53
How exciting is that? You are saying as if we have done 400

Suraj 0:56
Are we supposed to get a badge or something?

Rani 1:01
And we know that people have been listening right? They’ve been kind enough to leave a few reviews. Do you want to just read us a couple?

Suraj 1:09
Yes, I’ve selected a couple. So this one says “Great concept of how we need to look within ourselves for our well being, rather than chasing what is being marketed.” So this one is from neeraj_sports. Thank you neeraj_sports. Thank you. That’s very kind. There’s another great one. “Great podcast, Rani and Suraj. You are both brilliant in the podcast, very refreshing and light, almost feels like one is sitting in a meadow on a sunny day watching time goes by slowly. I like the playfulness around a very important topic. Doesn’t feel overbearing or coming from a higher gradient”. Oh, that’s lovely. And that’s from TemujinBorte.

Rani 1:52
Thank you so much.

Suraj 1:53
Thank you, and we’ll read some more in our next episode as well. Great. So, we’ve got a very interesting topic today,

Rani 2:01
Yes, it’s about midlife crisis. And I think we both fall in that category right?

Suraj 2:08
What life? what crisis? What midlife?

Rani 2:10
So Suraj, what is a midlife crisis? Is there a definition?

Suraj 2:16
This is what I’ve got from Wikipedia. Shall I read it up?

Rani 2:19
Yes, please.

Suraj 2:21
It says a midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence in middle-aged individuals typically 45 to 55 years old. Yeah, I fit in there. That’s right bang in the centre, isn’t it? The phenomenon is described as a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly lack of accomplishments in life.

Rani 2:44
Whoo. So that’s the definition, right? I never actually checked it, until now.

Right. I’m beginning to feel incompetent now actually 🙂

How I see it – there are two aspects to this crisis. One is the physiological side of ageing and also the psychological side. And this is what I can relate to. At one stage. I remember, when I was young, I used to think – “That’s it! I’m so young, so much is possible in my life”. I used to have big dreams and just like anyone, right? I thought I would never grow old. And then I hit the 20s. And it was like, “Wow, 20”. Still very young, right? And then you hit the 30s. It’s a big number, but it’s still like “Yeah, we’re going strong and this is great”. And then you hit the 40s. And then you come to the mid-40s, you start to cross the mid-40s, then you start to feel it actually. You have lived quite a big chunk of your life. And then you also start noticing grey hairs like the pop in here in there. Initially, my tendency was to take them out. And then once the grew at a rate that you can’t take them out anymore. You acknowledge that they are here to stay.

Suraj 4:03
You just accept and prepare to go along with it, with all the changes.

Rani 4:07

Suraj 4:08
yeah. I mean, is it our conditioning though? Are we conditioned to feel once we hit a certain age in our life? The body, of course, gives us those signals. Right? Your hairs are turning grey. Your skin is changing, you get, wrinkles. And it says, well, buddy, you’ve reached the peak of your life now. And it’s time to start packing up. Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound that depressing.

Rani 4:38
The fact is that we are both middle-aged, right? And I wouldn’t say we suffer from crisis or anything, but this is something that we need to acknowledge. Going back to the physiological changes for females like myself, we also know there is hormonal change and the menopausal change people go through, I haven’t reached there yet, but I know that it will be coming soon. And there is something about honouring that and also knowing that that’s part of the system design and we can’t bypass it. So that’s there, but also because of the hormonal changes, our moods do go up and down. That’s something to acknowledge. Alongside all these physiological changes that happen in the body, we are not as fit as we used to be. I mean, we can still do all the training, go to the gym and exercise, but we know that in terms of our body’s fitness and body’s endurance, there is a difference. We start to ask questions that maybe we do not ask when we are young, and we are just going about in life as if we can live forever. When we come to middle age, we start to ponder a bit more.

Suraj 5:59
I can agree to that, from my own experience. I think reflecting back I can remember, once I hit a certain age, perhaps not exactly midlife but getting into midlife, you have this real existential questions almost on you. You begin to ask, “Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? What have I achieved”, or “I haven’t got much time left, what will be my legacy?” I guess that puts pressure in many different ways and in individual-specific ways that can be quite stressful.

Rani 6:34
Yeah. And then you might have achieved a lot of goals and there might still be this lack of satisfaction. But alongside all this, you also see that the people you tend to look up to such as your parents or your relatives and you see them ageing faster, not in the real sense. You see them growing older and also you see people die. Then you tell yourself that maybe it’s only a matter of time before I also die and what will happen? And then panic starts kicking in and then we have this fear of dying and fear of leaving behind everything we have accomplished, and so on and so forth.

Suraj 7:14
That obviously begs the question. So is this a real psychological crisis? Or is this a crisis of our making in terms of how we are conditioned to see old age or the phenomenon of getting older. And of course, life gives us all these signals when we see people moving away from our life, either, through illness or dying and people going their separate ways. You see there is that sense of movement in life, the play of life if you like. How do we make peace with them?

Rani 7:44
I think it’s a great question, isn’t it? This body, this form that we have got is definitely a time body, meaning that there will be changes at some stage. It does get fragile and we need to look after it and care for it There are some important aspects like sleep and nutrition and making sure we have enough of those and rest. But the other thing is also to look at this time as an opportunity to go inwards. It’s hard to express in words, isn’t it? But to start looking inwards and this is why I said right at the beginning that rather than this being a crisis, could this be a blessing in disguise for us to just start looking inwards?

Suraj 8:27
More like a wake-up call, really, for all of us.

Rani 8:30
If we haven’t woken up already.

Suraj 8:32
So many of us are caught up for the best part of our lives, being conditioned to live life a certain way. And when this existential crisis of midlife hits, that’s the moment you flounder because you haven’t had sight of all of those real truths, to find what doesn’t change, what is timeless, not bound by all kind of boundaries our conditioning had created in terms of our human existence and human experience

Rani 9:01
That’s beautiful. I think also by the time we hit our mid-40s, or we get into midlife, we also realise that the materials that we might have been seeking so far, that we might have been chasing, that there’s a limitation to it. And we might have pursued something in the hope that achieving that material or that goals or success would bring us peace and contentment. And by this time, we seem to realise that that’s a trick of the mind that that’s an illusion. And so I really see this as an opportunity to get quiet or consider what’s really important in life. And of course, not saying that we should not achieve what we want to achieve. That’s always there, that external purpose is there, but the more it’s aligned with us going inwards, the more we will find that this is actually not a crisis. This is an opportunity – its a transition to another phase of life that we can embrace and grow in abundance

Suraj 10:06
The crisis is the crisis of the personal mind, isn’t it?

Rani 10:09

Suraj 10:10
So important to recognise that it’s all the talk of the body-mind and not to follow that line of thought, and to recognise that that’s part of the bigger existence. That’s all happening within consciousness and our higher self itself.

Rani 10:25
That’s a really lovely way of putting it. I haven’t got anything else to say. All I would say is that when we have a deeper understanding and knowing and we go inwards, life will present challenges or we will face challenges, including this so-called challenge of a midlife crisis, but we’ll also find that this is made up just like everything else. And when we see it, we can just laugh at it and we can make it okay, and then get on with life and just enjoy. So we have come to the end of this podcast and we hope this was interesting for you. We tried to bring in a new perception, a new way of looking at this so-called crisis and inviting you to see something for yourself that you might not have seen before.

Suraj 11:15
So thank you again for joining us in this episode, which was our fourth episode, and we look forward to bringing you some more interesting discussions, interviews along the way. The show notes will be available on our podcast homepage, which is https://listeningintowellbeing.com. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Rani 11:31
Thank you so much for listening.