What should you do in a quarter or mid life crisis?
The aching question of what should I do with my life?
The answer is certainly age dependent. We're forced to make the decision so young that it tends to be faulty. The irony is ever present - you know what you were meant to do with your life after you lived it.
Certainly if you are starting out in life deciding what to do, the cultural force of youth and optionality gives you the highest advantage. The ability to experiment and fail iteratively allows for real progress.
But let's say you are, give or take, in the quarter or middle of your life or even beyond. You've committed to a path, whether chosen or chosen for you, and you have enormous responsibilities.
If you are successful in navigating all the parts in this machinery that you have created and sustained, there will likely be a gap.
When you reach your accomplishments and have a new level of stability, you will come across a space that you need to overcome.
That's because of the insatiable need for humans to keep wanting more and never knowing what's enough. It's called hedonic adaptation.
It's typically in this gap, that you start to reflect if you did what you really wanted to do in your life. After the wallowing, you might tilt your chin up in wanting to make a change or do something different.
You look at the drawing board and ask yourself the same question someone a generation younger than you is asking. What should I do with my life now?
But the main difference is that the advantages are, nicely put, eluding you. As you get older, the road gets more narrow.
You simply don't have the advantages you used to because of less time to experiment and fail iteratively.
I would argue that there is something very powerful you have now that your younger self didn't.
One is that you have a lot more meaningful data about yourself. That leads to superior decision making in aligning yourself with the activities that bring you fulfillment.
The question is are you going to deeply engage with that data and be honest with yourself about your emotional states.
It is never too late to re-examine what happened in your life and provide a few stories about the events. Likely the multiple stories of that particular event of interest are all equally valid. You will need to determine which story you want to hold onto and which ones mean nothing to you.
Right now, if you are like me, the story you are deeply immersed into is motherhood. There are so many other aspects of your identity that are worth exploring and expanding.