Can a mid-midlife crisis be a thing?


Trinity Carey

College is supposed to be arguably the greatest years of your existence—new friends, parties, relationships, finding yourself. While all these are great aspects of the university experience, transitioning into this point of your life and juggling decisions that affect your entire future at some point does send one over the edge. Whether this means contemplating all your decisions or completely ignoring them, I think many can relate to having what I call a mid-midlife crisis at some point between ages 18 and 23.

You’ve heard of the midlife crisis at age 50. You’re getting older. You might not have done all the things you have wanted to just yet. Maybe you’re regretting them considering your age. Maybe you’re questioning how to make these aspirations and wants still happen, so you do something a little crazy. But what about the similar contemplations when you are but half the age?

We live in a society where we are pushed to make life changing decisions at the age of 18. Sure, we always wanted to be adults and couldn’t wait to grow up and move out, but it’s a pretty terrifying and anxiety ridden time. Almost as life halting and altering as realizing you’re lifespan might be more than half over. The reality is everything we believed was seemingly constant for the last 18 years of our existence changes. We won’t see the same faces we grew up with anymore. We’ll keep only a few close friends from home along for the ride. We see our parents once every several months and we move to a totally new environment.

This time in our lives can cause us to act out and live pretty recklessly before heading off into our new endeavors. For me, this was the summer before moving to college. I worked most days, but every night and every day off I spent with the people who meant most to me, doing things I probably wouldn’t do today and creating memories I won’t ever be able to replace. While one of the greatest times in my existence thus far, I lived only with the day I had in mind out of fear of what was to come in pursuing greater and completely different endeavors—this was my mid-midlife crisis. Sometimes I think I’m still in the midst of this crisis as I attempt to make decisions that will impact my future positively while making my way through school. And I think I’ll see it’s not completely over once again when I’m 21 and graduating from NMU. I’ll be put back into the apprehensive position of deciding what my next step in life is by being completely done with school, after my life revolving around it for 18 years.

It doesn’t take leaving your hometown for school to experience this mid-midlife crisis either. Moving out of your parents’ house, moving to a new town, getting your first real job, it’s all pretty scary stuff that can be hard to grasp.

As far as how to handle it, I’m still kind of unsure. But you don’t have to go out into a bigger world than you’re used to and figure it out, just try to attempt it. It might hurt a lot, but you’ll learn a lot and when in doubt fake it till you make it.