By TMoM Team Member Rachel Hoeing

When I was younger, I thought a mid-life crisis was when a 40-year-old man bought a red sports car because he didn’t want to get old and had to prove he was still young and hip. Now that I am closer to mid-life, I know better.

A mid-life crisis is real. It is so much more than wanting to be young. It is so much more than buying a sports car. And unfortunately for many of my friends, the time for a mid-life crisis is right about now.

As I wrote a sympathy card last week and told yet another friend of mine I would add her to my prayers, I started to realize how few of my friends were NOT dealing with a serious life-changing event. As I went through my mental list, almost every friend I knew was dealing with the change or loss of a job, a cheating spouse, a separation or divorce, child custody battles, the death of a parent, the knowledge of cancer either in themselves or their child, a spouse struggling with substance abuse, a child diagnosed with a disorder, a sick parent, mental illness, marriage difficulties, etc. It made me sick to my stomach the more I thought about it.

As I looked back at our lives when we were fresh out of school and entering adulthood, I had no idea how carefree life seemed to be. Don’t get me wrong – there were hills and valleys then, too, but overall things were pretty good. For the next decade, friends were getting married, having babies, and our parents weren’t quite old enough yet to need our help. Fast forward ten years and life gets complicated:

Marriages get tough. We change and grow and our spouses do, too. We suddenly realize we don’t have as much in common as we used to.

Finances get more complicated. Jobs change. Kids bring on more expense. The economy ebbs and flows as well as our own bank accounts.

Children get older. Their emotional battles become ours. The difficulty with your daughter’s reading is now diagnosed as Dyslexia. That crazy 2-year-old boy is now adjusting to taking medication for ADHD. That sweet little girl we once pushed in a stroller is now abusing alcohol and partying all night.

Our parents get older and their health declines. We are suddenly at an age where we are torn between being a mother to our own children yet needing to take care of the mother who cared for us. When our parents pass away we become the matriarch, which brings on more stress and anxiety.

My wish is that most of you reading this right now are thinking, “Wow, my problems don’t seem so bad anymore!” I do hope that life’s problems are small for you and will continue to be. But the reality is that most of us will hit this stage, are in this stage, or have already been through this stage.

As I was feeling sorry for all those friends struggling, I happened upon this blog post by Kelly Hines. Her post was touching and wonderful and I encourage you to read it. She stated that she had gotten in bed the night before and couldn’t stop smiling because she realized that her life was just about perfect. She was happy, she was blessed, and she was thankful. Kelly, like most of us, has been dealt her pile of crap in life, so seeing how blissful she felt at that moment gave me the reminder that this too shall pass. We will all weather the storm, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If my blog today hits you in the heart and you are at this mid-life crisis period, I hope that these words will give you comfort in knowing you are not alone & knowing there is hope. Many of us are dealing with similar issues, and we can all support each other during these difficult times. I feel like these rough roads are the roads that will ultimately define us. Many times the hardships will make you stronger and the happiness in the future will be even sweeter as you realize how great the “good things” really are. It may take a lot of therapy, a lot of praying, a good girlfriend to lend an ear, a couple glasses of wine, or a combination of all these, but you will get through this time!

From my unprofessional and humble opinion I will encourage you to put yourself first every so often. Don’t feel guilty about taking time out for you. Moms always put ourselves last and that has GOT to change.

One more bit of advice – realize you can’t control everything and you can’t fix everything. And that is OK. The Serenity Prayer is one that is always a good reminder for me:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

If you are dealing with mid-life crisis issues, I hope you will find that light at the end of the tunnel. If you’ve gotten through the tunnel, smile and be thankful for all that you have. And if you haven’t entered the tunnel yet, I hope it will be a quick and painless trip!