We all know the feeling. You gossiped and the person found out. You helped yourself to something that wasn't yours (such as someone's spouse). You stole. You lied. You read your child's diary. It never sits quite right -- you toss, you turn in bed, you have that sinking feeling in your chest, you eat, you drink too much, you get headaches.
Carol Orsborn, PhD, a research associate at UCLA and author of 15 books including Nothing Left Unsaid: Words to Help You and Your Loved Ones Through the Hardest Times and The Silver Pearl: Our Generation's Journey to Wisdom, tells WebMD about a woman she met while writing the latter book.
By Jennifer Warner
Rather than letting fear and anxiety restrict your life choices and leave
you in a rut, experts say you can look at a midlife crisis as an opportunity
for personal growth.
Linda Sapadin, author of Master Your Fears: How to Triumph over Your Worries
and Get on with Your Life, recommends these steps for using a midlife crisis to
Do one gutsy thing. Do something despite feeling uncomfortable or fearful
about it. "That's one way to move outside of your comfort...
Barbara, age 50, was going through a divorce and her brother was her mainstay, talking her through lonely nights on the phone. Then she met the man of her dreams and moved away. She got so swept up in her new life, she put her brother on the backburner. She missed his birthday.
That's when the sleepless nights began. She was embarrassed to even call. She knew he would be hurt -- but would he be angry? Eventually, she picked up the phone. Yes, he was hurt, but he said he understood. She started sleeping again -- and talking to her brother.
Orsborn surveyed 100 women in the baby boomer group for The Silver Pearl. "These were women who were role models with a positive attitude, whether or not they had any money," she says.
A key characteristic was their ability and willingness to clear up unfinished business, she notes.
Stages of Life Keyed to Level of Healing
"Stage one," Orsborn says, "is the good little girl stage. No matter what their age, women in this stage may apologize for everything, even things they don't need to. They need to please people."
Stage two is the rebellion period. Women, Orsborn says, can rebel against the pleasing phase and are not likely to apologize for anything! "They are mad about everything," she says.
The third stage is wisdom, she says. "When women get beyond following the rules and beyond reactivity, they take the best of both. This means they have an urge to reconcile legitimate shortcomings."