Midlife Crisis

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    I’m in early thirties and wondering if what i’m going through is mid life crisis?

    I was once passionate in what i’m doing (my job) but many unfortunate things happened in my previous employments that just leave me jaded and feeling numb and silly working in corporate world. Career used to be important to me but now I just feel like it is just a job to pay for my bills.

    1) I felt like there was never a true meaning in a corporate job and I don’t see how I can continue working like this til retirement age.(In fact I was terrified at the thought of this.) I grew from clueless kid, to driven young adult, to being passionate about my job, to a jaded professional. I don’t feel like i’m helping anyone from my kind of office profession. ie i can’t derive that satisfaction when doctors save lives, or a teacher changing the life of a kid who once gone astray. So, what makes one truly happy in an office job?

    2) I felt like doing something entirely different to escape. ie moving to a job that requires creativity such as art and design instead of a professional office job. or doing sales that reward my hardwork rather than a fixed monthly pay cheque.

    3) I felt like I’m trap in a 9-6 loop. The idea of waking up at same timings, taking the same transport routes to work and knocking off at same timings and then sleeping at same timings drive me crazy. It was no different from replaying a tape 365 times. The only thing different is the people I meet, the food I eat, the new hobbies I pick up. No matter how I try to make each day/each year feel different, i am still trap in a 9-6 loop.

    4) I felt frustrated with all the career advice I get from people around me. ie. you spent years building career to this stage why would you want to do that? Your resume will look bad. You will take huge pay cut. You end up competing with younger people, what for? Don’t make rash decision. That is a BADDD idea.

    5) I get anxiety thinking about future. Changes happen so fast these days. The possibility of AI taking over people’s jobs. People getting retrenched even at junior level. Expensive housing and medical bills. The need to find passive income to cushion rainy days. Its stressful knowing one had to earn more to survive, not because one like it but must do it.

    6) I constantly wonder if I am under achieving compared to people of my age? I have no house, no car, not married, no success with my business (yet) and im not even happy with my career. I know I should be grateful in life. I’m still healthy and kicking alive, much fortunate compared to people in developing countries but I always feel I wanted to do more to make some impact one day but I don’t know how. I can’t speak well to inspire people. I’m not a president to make big impact. I’m not wealthy to set up charities to benefit people in need. I’m constantly improving myself and I’m so impatient in this process…

    7) I miss my youth days of just being young and not worrying about future.

    Is this midlife crisis? Am I going through something what many are going through? I shared with a few friends but none of them had this serious doubt about self identity even though they are older than me. (maybe they are not completely honest or maybe i have problem? oh gosh.)

    Confused and lost woman.


    Dear Strawberry:

    It could be a midlife crisis if your thirty plus years so far constitute half of the length of your life, I suppose. But you don’t know how long you’d live.

    This thought above is very relevant to your post, I believe: you wrote that you are terrified at the thought of continuing to work like this till retirement age. Isn’t it the image of you being double your age that scares you, being an older or old woman?

    I had a safe, secure, higher paying job myself, but I was afraid of doing that for the rest of my life. So I quit, many years ago. Well, I am now older anyway. Quitting didn’t slow down my aging process.

    Will you let me know what you think about my reply so far? (I have more thoughts)



    OMG I thought I was the one who wrote this!

    Exactly the same here.


    Generally speaking in the first half of life our task towards individuation is “doing” ie school, carrier, establish family…. While the second half the task changes to “being”

    Or if we think in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs: In the first half of life we focus on Physiological, Safety, Social, and Esteem needs and in the second half we look towards Self-actualization and Self-transcendence.

    The Midlife Crises occurs when we sense a conflict between our doing and being needs. If one is not conscious of this natural transition, anxiety may arise and you end up buy the red convertible thinking that the purchase of more things is the answer – it’s a midlife crisis when you’re not awake to the change in needs and or try to fix “being” by more more “doing”.  If one approaches the transition accepting the anxiety its not long a crisis but a Midlife transition. (How we label things matters)

    I noticed from your lists of concerns that most are based on a concern about imagined future – essentially your feeling the pain to day for an imagined fear of the future.  To move forward you may want to work on the list and identify any cognitive distortions and dissonance’s. In this you well be able to identify the real issues behind your anxiety create a plan to deal with them.


    You’re not alone, many of us feel like that at times, I’m 29 and get the same feeling sometimes. It’s when I get out of my own head that things get better, focus on being/helping family of others around me. If you feel your 6-9 is holding you back is time to reinvent yourself, it sounds from your heart you want to do it but are convincing yourself is not a good idea,

    Meditation helps, reading books helps, anything that reinforces you’re in progress and growth helps.

    Imagine what would your perfect day look like? and work on including more of those activities and people into your daily life, if that helps on something…



    Do not fret, you are not in this alone! All of your points are valid concerns, and I am sorry you feel unworthy. While I am all for doing a 180 and completely changing your life around, it may not be necessary. I think the reason you are feeling so “stuck” is because you’re unsatisfied and self-conscious about your lifestyle. You see others around you who are “better off”, are “more successful”, etc. But this is just your perception! None of that is true. Where you are now, is perfect. You have everything within you to feel happy and content, but it seems as though you have lost the ability to find fulfillment. I want to address each of your points, and show you how you can keep your job while you find happiness until you figure things out. There is no rush on this lifelong journey, and who knows if 30 is your halfway point! Each day needs to count.
    1) You are feeling guilty. At some point in your life, you must have adopted the belief that since you have privileges (a job, money, health), you must give back and feel guilty for your life. Wrong! You have no reason to feel guilty. You worked hard to get where you are, you’re successful, and you should be proud. You can make a difference every day too. I urge you to look up “small acts of kindness”. There are so many things you can do day-to-day that may not seem as detrimental as saving lives, but you never know when you are doing just that. Making somebody smile is one way you can help alleviate suffering, start there.
    2) Everyone needs to express themselves creatively in some way. Which is your preferred way? Art? Music? Dance? There are thousands of hobbies which you can use to express yourself, and which will bring you fulfillment. Personally, I love gardening, and this helps me stay sane despite working over 50 hours per week. Without expression, of course, you will feel stuck!! We humans need art! I recommend the book, “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron.
    3) The reason you feel trapped in your loop is also your perception, I’m afraid. Routine is highly effective for the human body, actually, and sleeping/eating/etc. at regular times are quite good for you. If you want to shake up your routine, I recommend waking up early! I know, I know, this seems crazy. But it feels so good to get up early and do fun things before the rest of the world has even had their first cup of coffee. Read this, it might inspire you: https://zenhabits.net/10-benefits-of-rising-early-and-how-to-do-it/. Also, I’m not sure if you’re into gardening/homesteading, but I also recommend the book “Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life” by Jenna Woginrich. She was a late-twenty-something in a corporate 9 to 5 job who had the same crisis as you. Instead of leaving her job, she kept it, and fulfilled her dreams of having a homestead in the morning/afternoon hours! Honestly, be selfish with your extra time! You work to support yourself, but also so that you can have fun! Without having fun, you’re not truly living.
    4) This might sound bad… but NEVER listen to other people rather than yourself. Not even me. From your post, it sounds like you truly know that you aren’t happy. Good! Listen to YOU! You have intuition, and you should follow this. Read this article https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16951/7-tricks-to-uncover-trust-your-intuition.html/ Other people have advice that is valid, but every person in the world has a different opinion, and what makes them right? There is no right or wrong decision. Every decision is a good one as long as you are making it, not other people. Don’t let them make you feel you’re doing something irrational. Only the wild ones make “stupid” decisions; “swim against the current” (my middle school yearbook quote 😉 ).

    5) One day at a time, my friend. Everything will work out. Yes, life will change, and we can’t do anything about it. “The only thing we can count on is change”. No job is reliable. If you are worried about your job not being as reliable as everyone says it is, consider doing something on the side! Even though I work 50+hours a week, I still babysit most weekend nights. This is a nice source of income, but I do it mostly for the satisfaction of hanging out with children. Sign up for care.com or something like that. I think you would benefit from the great wisdom of children. They find satisfaction in the mundane.

    6) Hmm… I think most of your stress is created from the high standards you hold of yourself. Check out lonerwolf.com (specifically on the articles concerning self love and the shadow self), poke around tinybuddha (the articles AND the forums), read some Buddhist text like “The Wisdom of No Escape” by Pema Chodron, “Against the Stream” by Noah Levine, and “Peace is Every Step” by Thich Nhat Hanh. You have the power to find happiness, and you need to stop comparing yourself so harshly to others, my friend! Having a house, car, and husband may be the “American dream”, but it doesn’t have to be your dream. You have everything you need inside of you. Love yourself, no matter what. Love yourself during your “success”, during your “failure”, it is all the same. You are doing great, so love yourself, and accept this moment as it is! Trust yourself, you know best, and don’t let others affect YOUR life. You might only get one! And having a strong support system always helps. Your family and friends should support you no matter what decision you make, and if they don’t, then you need to find people who do.

    7) Don’t we all! Childhood was so nice! But who is to say you can’t embrace your life like a child anyway? Example: bring a fancy sandwich to lunch and have a playdate scheduled after work, I promise they will make your day THAT much better ;-).


    My friend, you are not in a crisis. You are in the pre-awakened phase. You are now on your journey to self-acceptance, happiness, satisfaction and enlightenment. I am not saying that quitting your job is the first step, but this whole chaotic confusion in your head is the first step. Love yourself through this journey, take each day one at a time, trust yourself, and find joy in each step. Good luck!


    “This thought above is very relevant to your post, I believe: you wrote that you are terrified at the thought of continuing to work like this till retirement age. Isn’t it the image of you being double your age that scares you, being an older or old woman?

    I had a safe, secure, higher paying job myself, but I was afraid of doing that for the rest of my life. So I quit, many years ago. Well, I am now older anyway. Quitting didn’t slow down my aging process.

    Will you let me know what you think about my reply so far? (I have more thoughts)



    Hi Anita, I do accept ageing. I understand its the natural process of life.

    I think what I’m having problem with is an internal voice telling me I want a different life/different identity. I have no aspiration to become a CEO or CFO in a big company. Something is telling me office job has no real satisfaction that makes me happy or look forward to work. I am a responsible employee, I still deliver my work even if I don’t like it but I feel very much trapped in a corporate job, hence i started my own side business. I don’t understand what has happened to me at this point, because I work hard to get to where I am today. And it terrifies me that what I have been chasing for no longer appeals to me. I hope I do not sound too crazy at this point..


    Hi Kathleen,

    Thank you so much for taking time to reply me point by point. I appreciate you and everyone here trying to help me. Everyone’s reply has confirmed to me that this seems to be a normal phase to go through.

    I have done everything that you have suggested before posting on this forum. Those actions did help me in staying sane but I later realise that it only distracts me from routine lifestyle for a short time.  In this case, only last for a year before I question what am I doing with my life again.

    Eventually I did quit my job. It took me a great deal of courage to do so because I knew my kind of industry has very limited jobs in the market. After all I spent half a year to find this job, I should have been grateful right? However, the environment turned out to be very toxic/chaotic and my health suffered from working long hours, including weekends. I kept pushing the idea of resigning no matter how many hours I worked per day. I eventually convinced myself that no job is worth damaging my health.

    And so began my journey of unemployment. This might sound strange but I feel really happy after leaving my job. It feels like a perfect opportunity for me to break the 9-6 loop and do whatever I want. I can “nurse” myself back to good health and can now explore my options for career switch. I am happy now but I am also fully aware that the reality of no income will hit me in few months time. Hopefully, I can find a more meaningful job that I love and not crawl back to the same profession…

    Wish me luck and bless all who are going through the same as me! I love tinybuddha!


    Dear Strawberry:

    I would like to read your recent posts and re-read your previous posts when I am back to the computer in about twelve hours. I will reply to you then. I hope other members will reply to you as well.



    Dear Strawberry:

    Following are quotes from your share and my comments:

    You wrote, “I can’t derive that satisfaction when doctors save lives, or a teacher changing the life of a kid gone astray”. Having been in schools for many years, I have seen lots of jaded teachers, teachers making time till retirement, holding on because of the great benefits, paid vacations and good salary. I don’t know if there is a workplace with a higher percentage of jaded employees.

    You wrote, “I always feel I wanted to do more to make some impact one day but I don’t know how… to inspire people… to make big impact.. to benefit people in need”- I think this is a key, right here. We all need to feel that we are making a difference in other people’s lives. You too need this experience. Question is, like you wrote, how.

    “I miss .. being young and not worrying about future”- I think you want to look forward to something positive when you wake up in the morning, not the same old, same old. You want to be motivated by something exciting, not by worries and that you are tired of being responsible without an emotional reward to it. It is living so things don’t get worse, not living for something good. Am I understanding correctly?

    If I am, can you close your eyes, when you are relaxed, maybe listening to your favorite music, or lying under the sun, and imagine what kind of life you would like to live, if all options were available to you, no limits to your imagining, and then share it here?



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