Recently, it seems that people of my generation are starting to experience the infamous midlife crisis. From friends to YouTubers, it seems that this affliction affects people indiscriminately, regardless of level of success or stage in life. People a few years older than me down to people my age seem to be collectively unhappy with their lives and/or the direction they are headed. This hasn't hit me yet, and it remains to be seen whether I'm just not there yet, or whether I have a mindset that resists contracting it. These are the thoughts I want to share here.
We should first understand what we're dealing with here. It seems that a midlife crisis is a general term used to describe the mood of unhappiness with one's life as one reaches middle age, which itself is a nebulous boundary between becoming a young adult and retirement. As the definition is broad, so are the various causes and effects. Causes can range from alarm as one realizes the lack of progress one has made in his or her life as one ages to having prematurely reached one's life goal and the aimlessness that comes soon thereafter. Effects can also range from taking bigger and increasingly less reasonable risks to personality or lifestyle changes.
With each person's individual situation, my ideas may have different levels of applicability. However, I hope my ideas will benefit anyone who may be pondering self-destructive or self-sabotaging decisions, and be a deterrent against that.
Take a step back. When a hiker is in the middle of climbing a mountain and sees something discouraging, it may help to turn around and look at how far he or she has come. Sometimes, I'm encouraged when I do this. I see that I've had similarly hard challenges in the past as those I now face. Other times, I realize how enviable of a position I'm in. I see the struggles that not only I, but also my parents and grandparents had overcome to put me where I am now. And so, being encouraged, and feeling obligated, I won't just simply throw it all away.
Be thankful for what you have and not frustrated by what you don't have. When a person has things going well in 99% of his or her life but decides to kill himself or herself because of the 1% that isn't, I have a hard time sympathizing. When so many things are going well but one is still depressed, I attribute it to one word: greed. Greed isn't necessarily a bad thing. To raise one's standard of living, one has to want it. But, to be greedy, one also needs to be able to be patient and persistent. To be greedy without being able to manage one's emotions leaves one in a position where sometimes the most convenient option is to quit, and taking that path can be self-destructive or self-defeating.
Have realistic expectations, and don't confuse needs with wants, necessities with luxuries. While one may need a phone for communication, one doesn't need the latest iPhone every year. While one may need clothes to avoid being thrown in prison for indecent exposure, one doesn't need new and expensive clothes every few months. While one may need a car for transportation, one doesn't need a new luxury sedan every 2-3 years. As for Starbucks every day and the latest organic food fad, those are all luxuries. Those are things you get once you have all your necessities covered. I consider it strange that people now consider themselves living in poverty because they spend all their money on luxury items and consider them to be necessities.
One of my co-workers once told me to not jump out of the pot and into the fire. This saying has stayed with me. Just because I didn't get a raise, it doesn't mean I should quit my job and go from earning whatever I was earning to earning nothing and starting over. Just because I don't have enough money to buy my dream car, it doesn't mean I should not buy a cheaper car so that I can drive myself to work.
There are many solutions to the problems we face if we are willing to compromise and work at reaching a solution that will eventually lead us to our goals.