Getting over the hurdle that is mid-life

Embrace change and know it gets better

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

KellyColumn415Newest815I just celebrated a birthday with a “5” on the end. I don’t like them as much, to be honest. Now I have to say that I’m in my “MID­thirties” and that just doesn’t sound as good as “early 30’s”. (Oh shush. It’s MY article. If I want to let people think I’m 35, that is my choice. It’s called poetic license.)

Yesterday, while at the Kennett Y, sweating like crazy on the Stairmill to Hell (probably not the official name of that piece of equipment, but, appropriate nonetheless), I read an editorial piece in the opening pages of Glamour Magazine that gave me pause. The topic was the “U­Bend of Happiness”, essentially, a psychologically based notion that our level of happiness starts high in our youth, bottoms­ out around mid­life (hence all the “crisis” talk) and rises again as we age.

The very bottom of the U? Age 46. Hmmmm. Good to know. Actually, it explains a lot. In regard to my job experience as a family law attorney, the majority of clients seem to fall in this range. Although, if you have the good fortune to be in a happy relationship, there are plenty of other obstacles to overcome. Dealing with financial pressures, kids growing up and moving out (SOB!), aging parents (NOT you Mom and Dad), and job security are often cited issues that cause stress, anxiety, and unhappiness in this phase of life.

What to do? Experts say find a way to embrace change, reflect on the positives, and appreciate the small stuff. Easier said than done, but certainly worth the effort, I think. When I look around at my friends who are in the same boat, I realize that we’re all just trying our best to adjust to the changes (physical, mental, and emotional) looming on the horizon.

I suppose the upside is the inevitable up­turn in that letter U. I mean, it’s something to look forward to. Could be worse…it could be a Z…and that doesn’t sound nearly as fun.

Happy Weekend

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