Have you ever been able to identify a woman in midlife crisis? Have you seen her abandon her kids, thermomix and marital boredom and run from her suburban door to buy a new car or take a young lover?
All too often we hear about men in midlife crises. They're losing their youth, their hair and their sex appeal and they are running scared in blind panic like headless chickens. Okay, maybe it's not quite so dramatic, but the signs are nonetheless readily identifiable. They are in crisis and they start to make changes.
So why don't we hear more about the female midlife crisis? Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not advocating that women throw down their proverbial aprons and run off into the sunset, but I am wondering why women don't make a fuss about their midlife status. Are we all just too damn busy to wallow in our unclaimed aspirations?
Life Coach and Strategist Judith-Rose Max believes women go through near identical midlife shake-ups to men, but contain them better. Instead of abandoning boredom, they introspect more, churn more, worry more and learn more.
"There's a new notion for women going though the physical, emotional and psychological changes that come with realising they are likely halfway through their lives," Max said.
"Women have traditionally been homemakers and didn't get to have midlife crises. Somehow, they just had to keep it together. They probably got to a point where they felt they might be having a midlife crisis, but the needs of those around them meant they just carried on."
Still, countless women go through the emotional sludge of realising they're not where they wanted to be at their age, and they begin to wonder where they will gain fulfillment.
So what should women do when drudgery steps in?
Max identifies five key strategies to help you through a silent midlife crisis.
1. Shift your focus
"Don't think you're hemmed in by what you're currently doing or by what you've done in the past. If you're looking for a career change or new challenge, see what piques your interest or makes you feel you're in your 'zone'? Don't feel restricted by your qualifications."
However, Max said: "If you view every difficulty in your life as a crisis, there's a good chance you're going to end up in a depressed state. Instead, acknowledge that you have a choice in how you respond to every situation."
In summary, turn your midlife crisis around and view it as an opportunity to decide who you want to be for the next 45 years.
2. What will your legacy be?
Imagine you have a magic wand and nothing is impossible -- what would you do?
Okay, so realistically there's no magic wand, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't aim high. Don't bring restrictions into your thinking. Create a space in your mind to believe anything is possible and stop questioning whether you are good enough.
"Decide what you want your legacy to be and start acting -- because when you start acting you start seeing the results. Even if it's not exactly the right action, the fact that you've started gives you confidence to take the next step on your journey," Max said.
3. Ask the hard questions
Look at your life and decide if you're happy with the way things are or if you need a drastic change. Ask the tough questions and get an objective perspective from someone who will be brutally honest with you.
"Whoever it is, they need to shake things up and help you to define what you want and how to get there. If you need to make changes, tackle them methodically but with gusto," Max said.
You don't have to be a trailblazer to be content, you just have to be authentic and immersed in the act of living.
4. Immerse yourself in your goals
Even when we know what we need to do to feel happy and fulfilled, distraction often takes over, as life gets busy.
According to Max, once you know what your purpose is, every decision you make, every action you take, must be on the basis of supporting what you want to achieve.
"You need to continually bring yourself back on to your pathway."
5. Enjoy the ride
The only certainty is that nothing is certain, so enjoy the journey. Let it take you on the path of discovering who you are, who you want to be and which passengers you want to invite along for your ride.
The goal is where you want to be -- how you get there is up to you.