The popular picture of the midlife crisis is the man in his 40’s or 50’s who’s lost his job, his wife or his health. He’s dyed his hair, bought a Porsche and is dating a much younger woman. We feel sorry for him, maybe in the same way we would feel sorry for an active alcoholic, a mentally ill person or anyone who is out of touch with reality.

Losing your job or your partner, having major health issues or just the general feeling of existential ennui can be terrible and even traumatic, but they are not necessarily unique to midlife. The midlife crisis has a flavor all its own. It kicks in with the realization that you’ve crossed the halfway point of your life and are on the downward slope. To make it worse, you may discover that the things most important to you — your relationships, your career, your purpose in life — have begun fraying around the edges if you haven’t put in the effort to sustain them.

I want to emphasize the relational aspect of this. The way through is going to be getting more connected to yourself and to other people.

~Dr. Keith Witt

We negotiate one transformation after another during our lifetimes, beginning with birth and extending into old age and finally death. How we learn to handle them is what shapes us as people and fashions our fate. “The difference between a crisis that makes us stronger or one that makes us weaker and diminishes us is how we resolve it,” says Dr. Keith.

In the podcast, Jeff and Dr. Keith discuss:

  • The history of the midlife crisis, from Freud and Jung to our current integral understanding that takes into account adult development
  • The feelings of loneliness and separation that can characterize this time for people, and how healing it will need to be accomplished in relationship
  • The resolution of the crisis at a mature age is likely not quantitative (doing more of this or less of that) but instead will require a qualitative shift, a shift in consciousness
  • How to get the support you need to cultivate resilience and find out how you can be of better service to the world

Find more episodes of The Shrink & The Pundit here.

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