Mid-Life Christmas

I think we have all heard of a Mid-Life Crisis; well, I would like to add a wrinkle to this in discussing the Mid-Life Christmas. In my work as a therapist, I have had countless experiences with those in their late 30 to 40 “somethings” who find that the holidays are feeling emptier and emptier, and they are searching for the meaning in the holiday season.

As adults, the holiday season is often rushed, and in our world of work and life, coincides with year-end deadlines, quotas to be reached, household issues to be taken care of, and the span between Thanksgiving and Christmas feels like it gets shorter and shorter every year. The holiday season often has more pressure on it as a predictor of economic health, whether is sales on Black Friday at a national level or the load of gifts under your tree.

Regardless of if you have kids or not, there are still demands for Christmas cards, presents for family, neighbors, friends, employees, colleagues… and now much are you supposed to spend on these people??? Not to mention the Christmas parties and what happens if you don’t receive the cards, gifts, invites that you think you should??? How does one find time for all of this and stop and enjoy the reason for the season? Combine these factors with a search for meaning at mid-life and you have the perfect storm of the Mid-Life Christmas.

The Symptoms of the Season

So how do you know if you are experiencing a Mid-Life Christmas? There are a variety of emotions that can accompany this affliction. Most commonly is a lack of interest, resentment, or even dread for the holiday season. Underneath this outer shell of these protective emotions are often guilt, sadness, regret, fatigue, loss and overwhelmed. Many of us are taught to spend our lives avoiding these emotions, when the answer lies in embracing where they come from.

Just as in our Mid-Life Crises, many of our issues about the holidays begin earlier in life, and we often have to find where our spirit of Christmas abandoned us. Some of us grew up with the classic Christmas full of gifts and cheer, and some with year after year of disappointments that had us wondering about our worth and value. Why are both people feeling the same thing now? Is that really what the designers of Christmas had in mind? I think not.

I would ask you all to remember that the idea of Christmas is for all of us, and it is not intended for the wealthy. It is not intended only for the Christian. It was not designed to measure about how much we give or receive. It is designed to awaken and remind us of a spirit of giving from our heart and finding our abundance. It is a reminder of what we can look to find in everyday, not just one day of the year.

All I Need is a Remedy

As a remedy to the Mid-Life Christmas, I have suggested that people remove some of the demands of the holiday, and instead pick a day of the year that means something to them. On or around that day, send your cards or celebrate that day as your reminder of your abundance. You may still exchange the gifts on Christmas, but realize that you don’t have to put all of the pressure and demands on yourself or your family. Work to find the meaning and gifts in everyday.

Much Peace and Joy to you every day of the year…

Dr. E…