The Central Theme of Midlife

The central theme of midlife is time – time lived and time left.  Midlife is not an age (not 40 or 50) but a stage in life when you begin to think, “I have fewer years left to go than the years I have already lived.”  It is the beginning of acknowledging our personal mortality.  Because midlife is a stage, it happens to different people at different years, depending on prior events.

At midlife, time becomes more important than ever before.  We ask, “What have I done with the time I have lived?” and, “What do I want to do with the time I have left to me?”  You can understand that once you ask these questions, the answers become quite important and may lead you to take action. The action is usually doing something that you have wanted but have not yet been able to do.  You may decide to travel to places you always wanted to visit, to leave a job that is crushing you, to risk a new relationship, to reclaim a creative pursuit, to end draining a friendship, to spend more (or less) time with certain people in your life and, of course, to buy a red sports car. These actions and others have a central theme: this is my only life and it is finite. Some folks have a big reaction to these thoughts about time and others have no reaction at all.

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