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Throughout my life I have watched friends and family fulfill their dreams by either achieving career goals, finding love and growing their families, or both; among other things we relate to when thinking about happiness. I’ve have also endured the failing health of loved ones and even death … we all have.

How does this relate to “mid-life crisis”? Have you ever wondered of the term itself? Why it has never been referred to as early life crisis, or elderly crisis? What makes this time in our life so important?

In our youth we see life as never-ending. It is a time for us to grow and seek knowledge. Experience things for the first time. Learn from our mistakes. Seek happiness while suffering the sadness of our first losses. Still, we are vigorous; full of hopes and dreams, believing that we are essentially invincible.

What happens in our forties? Many things. Not only are we to face the deterioration of our own bodies; aches and pains we never used to have and fine wrinkles appearing, we are also faced with the reality that our parents and/or friends are getting old too. For me, the aging of my parents has been most difficult, especially now that I live abroad and only see them once or twice a year which in turn makes their rate of aging more visible.

The term ‘crisis’ in mid-life crisis emerges at the notion that time is running out, and it is at this point that I am burdened by many questions; “What have I been doing the past twenty years?” Whatever it was, “Why didn’t I take the time to fulfill all the things I truly desired?” Don’t get me wrong, I have had a good life to date, with many accomplishments and treasured memories, it is regret and the acceptance that I cannot achieve all that I have wanted that troubles me.

As I become more self-aware on the matter I see the stigmata around it more clearly. After all, we’ve all seen it or done it. Some of us walk away from a perfectly comfortable life to start another one, and though this occurs in all age ranges, there is a negative spin when it happens to someone in their forties, when a person is making this change in an effort to regain some of what they deemed as ‘lost time’ and begin to relive their youth (in some cases with someone half their age). Let’s face it, relationships go stale, for one reason or another, and that’s life. Although divorce is most predominant, we see other erratic behaviors emerge as well, such as the cliché of a man purchasing a fancy red sports car, a woman seeking youth through Botox or other changes in a person’s lifestyle, changes that sometimes we as onlookers do not understand.

Still, can this be deemed as a crisis? Having to start anew in my forties has convinced me otherwise, and as a result, I will no longer look at mid-life transitions as something negative. Instead, I will support and encourage those who have the valor to examine their life and make the necessary changes. I know change is not always welcome but rather inevitable. Like many others, I have not always made the best choices and have been judged by others for it. At times, I had little support when I needed it the most. However, I quickly learned who my actual friends were, and made new ones, woman who could relate to my transition and respect the tough decisions I’ve had to make, having gone through similar situations themselves.

With that said, I encourage you to ignore judgement and embrace life. If you feel that your support network is unhealthy change it. Take a look in the mirror and decide who it is you really want to be, and who you want to surround yourself with. Make new friends through online platforms that encourage platonic relationships. There is still much to be achieved. Take risks, challenge yourself, travel more, and live life the way you have always wanted.