When we hear the term “midlife crisis” we always tend to think about a middle aged man leaving his wife and family for a hot young blonde and a red sports car, right? Well, more and more people are starting to realize that a midlife crisis can affect you at varying ages. You can experience a midlife crisis at 30, and it can be quite the shock – especially when you didn’t know this type of thing could happen at this age!
I actually work with a lot of people who are struggling with midlife crises, and their profiles vary quite a bit. The feelings associated with this period can really turn everything upside down and make a person feel extremely lost and confused, so I wanted to write this article today to go over the signs of a midlife crisis at 30, but I also wanted to provide you with some tips and tools that can help you to get to the other side of this period without your life having to suffer too much.
It’s not as uncommon as one might think, and if you’re looking for some tools to help you navigate through this challenging period in the best way possible, you’ve come to the right place!
What is it like to experience a midlife crisis at 30?
I’ve been working with one of my clients, Arthur, for a while now. He came to me because he felt that he was experiencing midlife crisis at 30 symptoms and he was worried about the impact it was having on his life.
He has a background in architecture and has been working in interior design since he finished school. He’s made good money, he was in a serious relationship with a girl from Brazil for a few years, and everything seemed like it was going well… Until he started to feel this form of an internal crisis begin to rumble in the back of his mind.
With time, he started to feel anxious, stuck and overwhelmed all at once, and the first major change he did was to break up with his girlfriend. He thought that perhaps the relationship was the problem and that he would begin to feel better after he did that. Well, he didn’t, and as more time went on, he started to feel panic at the thought of his job. He wasn’t sure if he had made the right career choice and he was starting to feel that he needed to get away before it was too late. He quit his job and started to isolate himself from his friends because he felt like he was so unhappy that he’d be terrible company.
He tried dating a few girls and going on a few trips, but nothing seemed to ease his mind. That’s when he came to me ask said, “Adrian, I’ve completely turned my life upside down, I think I’ve left the love of my life, and I’m scared that I’ve screwed up my career, and I don’t even know what I want or need to change. Am I having a midlife – or I guess quarter life crisis? Can you tell me what to do if you have a midlife crisis at 30?”
I recognized in him something that I’ve seen so many times before. He was showing all the signs of a midlife crisis at the age of 30, but he didn’t know what to do to get to the other side of it. So I started working with him and shared some of the same tips and tools with him that I’m going to be sharing with you momentarily.
But first, let’s take a look at the signs of a midlife crisis in men and women.
Midlife crisis at 30: What are the symptoms?
For most people dealing with a midlife crisis, it’s accompanied by a sense of panic, and it is not unusual for people to experience a crisis in their late 20s/early 30s. This is the period when we are expected to have it all figured out and to have the rest of our lives all set up. It’s a lot of pressure to place on a person’s shoulders, so it’s no wonder that so many people are struggling with these crises today!
There are actually six stages to a midlife crisis, even at 30.
As you saw with my client Arthur, he was in the stage of shock, where it seems like everything was wrong and everything had fallen apart. When you’re in this stage, it usually feels like you just can’t believe this is happening, especially when everything seemed like it was going so well before. How did you end up here? Did you make the wrong choices?
Then you start to protect yourself against these types of thoughts by going into a period of denial. “Everything is totally fine, there’s nothing wrong and there’s nothing to worry about. I’ve made the right choices and I’m going to continue on doing what I’ve been doing.”
It’s typically then followed by a period of frustration because you’ve worked so hard and yet you’re still feeling deeply dissatisfied and stressed out by your life. It usually then turns into depression, insecurity and replay, which is a period during which you think back on happier times and start to feel nostalgic, or feel regrets for not having done things differently. Once you’ve gotten to the other side of the midlife crisis at 30, you’ll start to feel a sense of acceptance.
Now, the better idea you have of the actually symptoms of a midlife crisis at 30, the easier it will be to put things into perspective and approach the situation in the best way possible.
Existential crisis at 30: Anxiety over the direction and quality of your life
When I’m working with people who are struggling with an existential crisis, whether it’s a 40 year old woman, a 30 year old man, or a 75 year old, the theme is a panicked feeling. There is no specific “mid life crisis age”. It’s the moment someone begins to feel trapped by their choices. But this is especially heightened for someone around the age of 30, who is just really beginning their adult life.
They can start to feel an overwhelming desire to change the direction of your life – whether that’s professionally speaking, personally speaking, geographically speaking, or all of the above. It’s a period of anxiety, doubt and disappointment around your career, relationship or finances. As you’re reading this, if you’re experiencing a midlife crisis at 30, you might want to quit the commitment, job or relationship that makes you feel trapped and start completely anew.
It’s also rooted in various fears. For example, a person who is having a quarter life or mid life crisis might experience a fear of getting old, a fear of missing out on dreams, a fear of death, and even a fear of loss of swagger! When a person feels like their youth is slipping away, they begin to flirt with a crisis.
The pressure of goals when you’re having a quarter life crisis
For many people in this situation, they end up falling into a midlife crisis at 30 (or around the age of 30) because the weight of their goals becomes overwhelming. For some of them, children and work (or lack thereof!) can become two of the main causes of stress. There is also a fear of not having goals, or that the goals you’ve set for yourself are unrealistic and unattainable.
It shakes the foundation of the life you’ve been building for yourself, so it becomes very easy to experience existential crises at 30. Fortunately, these feelings aren’t going to last forever and there are definitely things that you can do that will help you move out of this period.
Male and female midlife crisis at 30: Here’s what to do
When you are struggling with a midlife crisis at age 30, you’re going to feel like you need to redefine your values and the life you’ve been creating for yourself. It can last anywhere from three years to ten years, so it’s important to realize that you are in control of the situation and can make changes.
The key to getting to the other side of this is slowly starting to rebuild a life that is more aligned with your new values, interests and aspirations. That is why it’s so important to take some time to define what these things are.
You can start by going back and trying to understand why you made certain commitments and choices. Once you define the root of your actions, you can start to redefine goals and live out your newfound values without fighting the transformation.
If you are able to embrace these changes, it can become an incredible period of your life that paves the way to unparalleled happiness. It’s just important to keep in mind that these actions and changes will impact those around you, so be mindful of your loved ones. Be aware of how your decisions are impacting the ones you love, and be open with them with what you’re experiencing and going through.
A really helpful tool is to make a conscious effort to limit sudden, impulsive, big life changing decisions. It might feel like you want to make sizable changes in the moment because you’re willing to do anything to stop feeling the way you are when you’re in a midlife crisis, but I encourage you to always bear in mind how the decisions of today affect tomorrow.
In addition to this, make sure you distinguish selfless behaviors from the selfish destructive ones.
With time, things will start to level out again and these tumultuous emotions will subside – especially if you work to go through this period gracefully and in an organized and clear-headed manner.
When the crisis begins to pass, you will start to feel less and less extreme. You’ll start to take accountability, and you’re going to start to feel a sense of sustained peace of mind and it will start to feel easier to live in the moment. You won’t feel like you need more in order to find happiness. Like I said, this period is not going to last forever so don’t panic!
Working through a midlife crisis at 30
As this article comes to a close, I wanted to remind you that we are here to help you every step of the way. If you feel like you would benefit from one on one guidance through this period, all you have to do is click here to reach out to me or a member of my team. Join the Happily Committed Project and learn how to transform your life and your relationship in a meaningful and dignified way.
At the moment, you might be feeling a period of anxiety over the direction and quality of your life, and you might be experiencing a strong desire to change the direction of your life. It could be an identity crisis or a fear of getting old or not reaching your goals. You might be feeling too much pressure from your responsibilities or lack thereof, and you might be feeling like you need to redefine your values.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to avoid making rash decisions and it’s crucial that you think about how today’s decisions will affect you and the ones you care about. It is possible to make it out of a midlife crisis period unscathed, you just need to keep your eyes open and make sure you get organized. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below and it would be our pleasure to respond to you.
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when you want to know how to survive a midlife crisis at 30