What is the difference between a midlife pivot vs a midlife crisis?
Are you headed for a midlife crisis? Imagine you are driving home after a long day at work and the gerbil wheel in your mind is spinning at full speed:
- Is that chicken in the back of the fridge still okay?
- Maybe I can get some thank you cards out tonight
- I need to clean out the refrigerator
- My mother would be appalled by my refrigerator
- I want a new house
- Damn, my head hurts
- What goes with chicken?
- I should stop by and see my mother
- Why doesn’t my brother go check on her?
- Nobody even sends thank you notes anymore
- I promise myself, tomorrow I will talk to my admin Bethany about her cleavage
- We should move to San Francisco
- I should divorce my mother
- Will Jim want to have sex tonight?
- I hate my job
- Maybe I could sneak away for a massage tomorrow?
- I’m such a slob
- Third quarter report due Wednesday, no massage
- I hate my job
- I need to shave my legs
- I bet Bethany shaves everything
- Jim can have sex with Bethany, I wouldn’t even care
- San Francisco is so expensive
- Damn, I missed my exit!
Missed the exit, big surprise.
So, at this point, let’s see what the midlife crisis looks like. You’ve just realized that the exit is behind you. You foolishly slam on the brakes, and each and every one of the cars that crash into you represent one of those fleeting thoughts, plus the other thousands of negative thoughts about the poor choices you’ve made in your life that got you here.
That is a midlife crisis. Think loud sirens, emergency personnel, ICU and life support. There is no thinking about getting to a better place, you are in a traumatic injury state and at the same time suffering from the public embarrassment of slamming on the brakes and hurting so many other people. To recover you will need to ask for forgiveness, commit to try to undo some of the damage and pain you’ve caused others and claw your way back to your life.
In this Midlife Crisis response, your version of “slamming of the brakes” may have been having an affair, hastily getting divorced, embracing an addiction with unbridled enthusiasm, quitting a job, or getting a boob job and taking your show on the road in a Mazda Miata.
In a Midlife Pivot, you realize that you’ve missed your metaphoric exit and take it as a straight-up sign that you need to address the gerbil wheel, you signal your intent to get in the slower right lane, take the next exit uncertain of where it will lead you and figure out a new route home. Nobody gets hurt.