|I am entering my 40s? Do you have any advice on how not to have a mid-life crisis?|
It may not be possible to not have a mid-life crisis. It represents a rite of passage that we need to enact. It’s an important stop on our hero’s journey. Here are symptoms many experience when a mid-life crisis looms: • Mood swings • Depression and anxiety • Obsession with one’s looks • Substance abuse • Feeling stuck in a rut • Thoughts of death or dying• Impulsiveness • Desire to relive one’s youth • Existential angstAccording to yoga, when we are about 36, our pituitary begins secreting in a new way whereby we become acutely aware of our mortality. Before that, we suspect that we are immortal. Most react to this turn of the corner with no small bit of alarm, and lacking spiritual values, look back (in an attempt to recapture their youth) rather than forward. The stereotypic response, literal or metaphoric, is to buy a sports car and date much younger people. There is a biological imperative in all this. Nature wants us to ensure our genetic legacy and pulls out all the stops to incite that. All of this is compounded by the fact that many people have spent decades toeing the line to work and raise and family and never got to express their wild side. So, should we just throw caution to the wind and party down? The answer is yes and no. Yes, in the sense that we don’t want to live with regrets and unsatisfied yearnings, BUT our “walk on the wild side,” needs to be tempered by critical thinking and applied consciousness is meant to be very much an internal process. Some things need to be experienced in the real world, but we have to find a way to experience life’s flavors without creating karma. Creative self-expression is an important avenue to explore. The Wise Yogi knows that even one misjudgment can potentially ruin our lives and/or the lives of others.