Middle age is a dangerous time for many marriages. It certainly was for mine. I faced my own mortality in my middle thirties. When it finally became very clear to me that my time on earth was limited, I anguished over staying in a bad marriage or taking a chance on a new life on my own. Just shy of my 39th birthday, I ended my first marriage.

It was not easy to break away from the “security” of marriage, no matter how flawed. Walking away from years of specific routines and habits produced gaping holes until new routines and new habits could be established.

My feelings weren’t unique. Who doesn’t feel a twinge reading the obituaries of those our age or younger? Who isn’t concerned when a peer is diagnosed with cancer, or a friend dies suddenly of a heart attack. That could be me! I’m not ready to die! I haven’t done everything I want to do with my life!

Often a spouse will use the term “Midlife Crisis” to put a label on the actions of their husband or wife. They need some “condition” that justifies their spouse’s behavior, something they can tell family and friends to explain the “why” of actions they don’t understand.

Do I believe in midlife crisis? I think most of us will have more trouble coming to terms with the aging process. Sags, bags, wrinkles, gray hair, extra weight, and age-related illnesses are a normal part of middle age. Botox and plastic surgery cannot turn back the clock or stop the clock.

Coming face to face with our own mortality can be very frightening. Facing that mortality may be the motivator to make significant changes in how we choose to live our life, regardless of who it might hurt.

© Pat Gaudette. All rights reserved.