Signs of a Midlife Crisis

This is an introduction and a list of signs to help identify midlife crisis for yourself or someone you love.

Signs of a Midlife Crisis

People often look for a list of signs to validate if a midlife crisis is at hand. The experience is a combination of feelings, events and physical changes that indicate a transformation is at hand. The final proof often occurs in retrospect after a person accepts they have changed and comes to terms with new life patterns. However, it’s possible to see the signs that forewarn of crisis. Over time understanding why these symptoms exist can actually help guide the mid life transformation process.

The truest indicators are the signs that actually illustrate drastic lifestyle changes in a person’s life. Most typically it will be friends and co-workers who diagnose the midlife crisis before the person in crisis will even realize it. In fact: just having someone point out you are in a midlife crisis can be enough stress to trip a person into actually starting a midlife crisis.

I developed this list of signs over a decade ago based on my professional and direct work with hundreds of people within midlife crisis. Even if you have most of the signs listed here, don’t panic. The most important truth is that this event doesn’t have to become a crisis. This should be a time of life to embrace change to become something greater. Don’t let this be a fear driven event, Julie and I will patiently walk you through the process to find answers. Our site has a comprehensive overview  about midlife crisis to help you get the information needed for midlife answers.

Symptoms of Midlife Crisis

The following is a list of symptoms that illustrate how defining a midlife crisis is truly relative to the person experiencing the changes.

  1. Looking into the mirror and you no longer recognize yourself.
  2. Desiring to quit a good job.
  3. Unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy.
  4. Changing or investigating new religions, churches or new age philosophy.
  5. Change of habits. Activities which used to bring pleasure now are boring. Unable to complete or concentrate on tasks which used to be easy.
  6. It feels good to get hurt.
  7. Wanting to run away from everything.
  8. A desire to get into physical shape.
  9. Irritability or unexpected anger.
  10. Change in allergies.
  11. Desire for physical -Free Flowing- movement (Running, Biking, Dance, Fast red sports cars, Sky diving, etc).
  12. Exploring new musical tastes.
  13. Sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument.
  14. Sudden interest in drawing, painting, writing books or poetry.
  15. Shifting sleep patterns (Typically to less).
  16. Thinking about death, wondering about the nature of death.
  17. Changes to the balance of vitamins you take. Or taking dietary supplements for the purposes of extending life.
  18. Extreme changes to what you eat.
  19. Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good.
  20. Hair changes. (Natural changes in thickness, luster, color or Assisted changes in dying hair suddenly or shaving your head bald)
  21. A desire to surround yourself with different settings.
  22. Hanging out with a different generation as their energy and ideas stimulate you.
  23. Restarting things, which you dropped 20 years earlier.
  24. Upset at where society is going. Experience a desire to change the world for the better.
  25. Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
  26. Leaving (Mentally or Physically) family or feeling trapped in current family relationships.
  27. A desire to teach others or become a healer.
  28. Desiring a simple life.
  29. Excessively looking back to one’s childhood.
  30. Playing again just to play!
  31. Keep re-asking yourself: “Where am I going with my life?”
  32. Getting fixated on new “wonder” solutions to problems.
  33. Recently experiencing something extremely stressful. Stress can trigger a Midlife transformation. Some examples include: Changing Jobs, Divorce, Death of someone close, Chemical/Toxic exposure upon the body or experiencing a major illness.
  34. Doing things that get you into trouble when it surprises everyone as being out of character.
  35. Someone unexpectedly exclaims: “You are going through a midlife crisis!”

  A midlife crisis is actually the attempt to restart life to better fit a person’s heart. Due to existing personal commitments, it often isn’t easy to self resolve the inner conflict a person’s feels. As a result many times a person in midlife crisis will act confused or lost while trying to sort out the contradictions they feel and now have in their life. Also many times a person is trying to improve their life while not really understanding why they are acting in the manner they are. This mixture of conscious to unconscious actions often makes a person in midlife crisis unpredictable. This is also leads to the most dangerous midlife crisis symptom of denial. To confront a person in the initial stages of midlife crisis will often invoke and reinforce strong statements of denial due to the disconnect of conscious vs unconscious actions.

Most often a midlife crisis is defined well into the process of change. This is because it becomes most visible after the drastic shift’s in one’s nature. However, the process often has started long before the visible midlife crisis symptoms appear. It’s possible to aid a person to discover how to define life to fit better to what makes them content and happy. Care does need to be taken as often times a person in midlife crisis will feel trapped and in a corner without options.  

Handling the Symptoms of Midlife Crisis

Experiencing a midlife crisis is not about curing a set of symptoms. In other words this isn’t something you go to a doctor for a treatment to cure, rather this represents a time of life when a person is looking for an education to expand their life. It’s about shifting life to better fit where the person’s spirit yearns to be. A midlife crisis is a very natural biological and psychological process of a person maturing. While some of the symptoms might indicate a process opposite of maturing: at times a person needs to step backwards in order to move forward. This can also mean learning to play again since play is indeed a form of education.

Everyone evolves within their life as they get older. The truest resolution to midlife crisis is learning to embrace the facts of one’s change and investigate methods of transformation. To do nothing is to let midlife crisis decide how you change, Crisis still invokes change, but it’s an external change that a person no longer can control and often breaks those around us in the bargain.

Another problem is that modern western lifestyles are based upon chasing dollars and goals rather than supporting personal truth. People are so focused looking forward to their incomes and the next pay check that they forget or feel they cannot afford to embrace living to their true internal personal needs in the now. Sadly this way of looking at the problem in terms of finance only, also means just doing nothing and that only promotes and expands the crisis into happening anyway!

Understand: It’s far cheaper to address and educate oneself in this process than it is to pay the longer term consequences of letting it become a full fledged crisis.

Midlife Crisis Symptoms

Find Help Changing Direction

One of the most difficult symptoms to resolve is the fact that people experiencing midlife crisis often feel separated, misunderstood and alone. A bigger truth when in midlife crisis is that you don’t have to be alone. Rather you can find solace with those that don’t limit the transformation by outside judgments. Many times people in midlife crisis seek solitude to more easily avoid judgment from others.

I know from personal experience you can find answers that gracefully work. This isn’t easy and this is always an educational process. Finding guidance can make this process more graceful by showing ways to work around the common pitfalls. Don’t look for help that tries to define you, rather look for help that helps you avoid common mistakes! The trouble is the pressing feelings of being alone and the need to make this process one’s own path often make it all the more difficult to find outside help.  

Partners of Midlife Crisis

We must also consider the partners of those experiencing midlife crisis. Some of the signs that midlife crisis partners often exhibit are:

  • Becoming more judgmental
  • Ignoring there is a problem at all and thinking it will all go away with only patience
  • And usually 1/4th of the symptoms that the person in midlife crisis is experiencing

As stated earlier: becoming judgmental or patiently waiting for things to resolve actually only reinforce the problems of crisis.

Understand that the process of change is often as hard for the partner as it is for the person experiencing midlife crisis. Partners often find themselves confused and even worse getting left behind as the person in crisis sometimes goes running off to search for freedom that eludes their capacity to define. This often forces partners to become more judgmental as they look for answers and this further drives a wedge between the partners. Know that the worse thing a person can do is to act in a judgmental manner that will actually aggravate a person in mid life transformation into running away straight into facing a full blown midlife crisis.

The most ironic fact is since partners are so close, they reflect each other. When one person is in midlife crisis, that midlife crisis is often psychologically contagious to partners. As a result, partners are often a few steps earlier in the process and this can allow the partner to approach their own mid life process more openly in terms of transformation. Since usually they are looking for answers to help their partner, partners often use those very same answers to help themselves unconsciously. Three times out of four it’s the partner who I first assist as they are usually the first person to contact me for help. Being earlier in their own process it is easier to help shift the process in transformation as they have made less mistakes to recover from. At this stage people are all too eager to avoid the problems they see from the other person in midlife crisis.  

Start to Find Answers Now

If you need help right away you can start here with this 30 minute video.

Introduction to Midlife Crisis: A Time of Transformation


Growing Beyond Midlife Crisis

If you are on a mobile device and the video doesn’t play, you can watch directly on Vimeo instead here: Introduction to Midlife Crisis from Casey Kochmer on Vimeo. Learn how to regain control of your life. This 30 minute video covers:

  • What is Midlife Crisis?
  • What age does midlife crisis typically begin?
  • A deeper explanation of midlife crisis. Don’t get trapped by the word “Crisis”.
  • Explaining the natural life cycles we all live through.
  • The psychological aspects of midlife crisis.
  • The duality of transformation. Putting to words the frustration a person feels in change.
  • How to reveal the new side of your life. The attraction of new relationships and friends.
  • What happens in the body during midlife crisis.
  • How to re-balance out your life in midlife transformation. A person going through midlife crisis is not crazy!
  • How to remove conflict from your life in midlife crisis. Expanding life options.
  • Dealing with midlife crisis frustrations. How to talk with others.
  • Dealing with depression from midlife crisis. Discovering how to pace yourself and play in transformation.
  • I want to run away! How to stay true to oneself rather than run away.
  • Releasing with grace. How long does Mid Life Transformation take?
  • Speeding up a Mid Life Transformation.
  • I can’t stop myself! How do I move ahead in a better manner?
  • Expanding your awareness to more efficiently move ahead in your transformation.
  • Don’t repress, rather learn how to release.
  • The next steps to your Mid Life Transformation.


Finding Help to Resolve Midlife Crisis

If this page resonates with you, then it means: it’s time to change routines and shift how you move in the world. The very nature of the signs you are witnessing are also a reflection of a process of change. Denying change is what brings about the crisis you are in or feel is looming ahead of you. Holding on to old answers gives life no space to grow into something new, the very thing a midlife transformation is all about. To preserve the aspects of what you love most often means to release and switch around quite a bit in your life to open space for the path of discovering positive transformation.

Change isn’t easy, and the prospects of change often paralyzes the strongest person. Ironically when this is the case then the solution is often to take a simple retreat to pause and to reflect on one’s life. Sometimes to take pause in awareness itself is the change people need! Often times pausing means to stop the actions which were fostering the crisis. As a result, Pause isn’t to do nothing, pause is an active process of examining potentials and considering which options would fit best in life! People often need to be taught how to pause and this is why those in midlife crisis often seek to learn meditation as a technique of pause to help them find peace in their situation.

This is a time of choice, the choice of crisis or transformation. To do nothing is to pick Crisis, To do nothing is to continue living life to the past choices that led everything to this crisis you face. In these articles I give a person some basic information to work with, enough so you have a chance to encourage the process towards transformation. If you have questions then it is a simple matter to contact me to ask a question.

Without help, on average I see people take 3 to 5 years of many false starts and painful side trips before they settle down in their life. Also many of these people don’t end up in a place that truly matches where they were hoping to go.

With teaching and patient guidance Every person I work with works thru these changes in less than half the time ( 1 to 2 years of learning and exercises to rebuild a stronger life) and everyone I work with ends up in a place they want to be. Since I guide people to grow in their essence rather than chasing expectations.

The solution is about getting a new perspective to encourage actions that channel the crisis energy into constructive processes. Sometimes just asking a question is enough of an action to resolve a seemingly impossible crisis into a process of growth that truly transforms everything.

Sincerely Casey

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Additional Midlife Crisis Reading Materials

Please post below your midlife crisis experience or questions regarding helping you gain control of your midlife transformation. I will remove any comments which are rantings, are morality/judgement statements, link to outside pages or aren’t respectful.

361 Comments. Leave new

@Walty Thank you for your informative comment (even though you may not read this reply) what you wrote made complete sense and gives me peace. My husband is going through ML Transformation and I was worrying that my own demons (that have driven him mad for a long time on a daily basis) would ultimately destroy our relationship. Of course I have to hold my end of the bargain but at least I know now that it is part of the process of mutual growth.

And naturally… @Casey Thank you for this website! I am really lucky to have found your wisdom. I will be enquiring soon about personal consultations.

@Maria: Thank you for the compliment.

I am honored the site has been of help for you. The whole truth of A Personal Tao site is to help others discover grace within their actions and life. I think we each, and I mean every person is the key to our times becoming better times. Crisis and transformation are not easy, but it’s powerful and when channeled creatively can not only improve one’s personal life, but ripples all around us to improve the times also.

Be patient as you channel your energy, you are your own work of art during this transition.


Dear Casey, It was an eye opener for me to realise that me and my partner are going thru this time. I have learned lot from your sharings. will want to know more how as partner can resolve and move on. thank you so much.

@Ben: Thanks for the feedback. I sent you an email directly to arrange a direct session with us to help you.

My partner and I are still relatively young, approaching 30, but so many of the symptoms seem to be in place right now for both of us, and I always thought this was something that happened closer to 40. Honestly I’m not sure if my partner is aware that this might be what’s going on. Things have gotten really strained, and I don’t know what i can do to ease this situation.


What you face isn’t mid life crisis, but more quarter-life crisis I suspect. I am seeing more and more of this over the last few years. It is a reflection of the larger problems around us, rippling into our lives and creating personal crisis.

The process to work thru any crisis is very similar. However, if you are having relationship problems, the way you handle relationship issues at quarter-life crisis do vary somewhat from midlife relationship issues.

If your relationship is having issues I do recommend watching the relationship video. In Midlife relationships, the problem is coming out from the life changes driving midlife growth so patience works extremely well (You can say the problems are flow based usually). Compared to quarter life where often times relationship problems are more often out of mismatched chemistry finally catching up with the couple and it is the stress of the crisis revealing those cracks. This is a generalization of course so you have to be careful when helping people work thru relationship problems to address the proper baseline to the issue rather the perceived surface problems. So I can’t give advice until I talk with a person as too many factors can be in play and to generalize it would mean improper advice.

Boy am I experiencing many of the symptoms listed. I suspected MLC, as I’ll be 47 next month, and I’m also experiencing “empty nest syndrome”. Definitely have some depression and sadness, and there are many things I know will help me to put a damper on, if not conquer, midlife (such as exercising)… but I also have next to zero energy these days. I don’t know if that’s so normal with MLC, but I can’t seem to get myself going, while all of my equipment collects dust (although I did find the energy to dust all of it this morning, ha). Sigh.

Wow my friend is having this at 43 she has gone blonder, at the gym every hairs breath, dating two men aged 29 and now hangs around with new friends in their early thirties late twenties. Very sad really, she has changed so much, hoping it will be a phase.

@Lulu: To say her behavior is sad is to judge her and push her further down more extreme behaviors and further away as a friend.

Be her friend in non judgment, don’t measure her by your values, rather help her as a friend. Right now she is running, Right now her behaviors go against what you feel is appropriate, you can always give your opinion, but don’t push opinions too hard since to overly push an opinion is to force it to become a judgement.

If her actions bother you then it’s time to practice giving space. If her actions are hurtful, then it’s time to release her as a friend. But her actions are hers to make as she tries to figure out her life and world.

Don’t let your actions reflect hers and cause you to act in a reflective manner. Rather act in a way which is kind and keeps your life moving smoothly.

Mid life is a time of shifting friendships, and all too often the real reasons for broken friendships are often rooted in judgmental stances.

Being a friend is often a more complicated and twisting path than people realize: True friendship is rooted in non judgment and patience.

Judith M. Campbell
April 30, 2015 6:14 am

I must agree with what you have mentioned that is not something that needs cure, for it isn’t an illness in the first place. Rather, people going through the stage of midlife crisis should be understood and be guided as to how to deal with these issues the right way.

A midlife crisis is not a problem. It’s a critical step in burgeoning self-awareness and individuation. It’s only perceived as a problem from the perspective of social norms that rest on expectations of your conformity and obedience

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