Midlife is a natural, not a contrived, stage of development when a person’s inner and outer lives come into focus and balance needs to be found. Dr O’Connor, who has also used dream interpretation with patients, says it is crucial couples in relationships share their midlife uncertainty with their partner, and that neither partner judges the other. “Introverted people may be more inclined to depression and extroverts to buying a sports car. So talking about it is much less expensive!” He says it is important people examine their fantasies and “needs”. Many people fantasise about being a writer or living rurally, which does not mean they should write a book or move to a farm, but rather find a way to prioritise and give a voice to their creative self. “You don’t need to follow the dream, but find out what ‘need’ exists in it. Explore this need rather than dismiss it. To help find your need, finish the sentence, ‘If only …’” Dr O’Connor says personal reflection is essential. “The first half of life is about developing your ego which is your capacity to ‘be’ in the world.
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Reflection is about holding a mirror up to return you to your inner space. That’s your true self. This approach makes us more compassionate and less judgemental which is the key to self-development.” Dr O’Connor says midlife is like “an initation boot camp for the rest of your life”; a time of life when you might need to deal with feeling disgruntled due to previous life choices.
However, he says yoga and meditation are powerful tools in selfdevelopment and that by finding our own true nature, we can cultivate genuine feelings of contentment and happiness. Iyengar yoga teacher Mikey Rosato agrees, believing self-observation is the key to forging a graceful path through midlife. Mikey, who is in his mid-40s, says, “Being still on the inside is happiness. Getting a fancy car is saying, ‘Look at me’. Looking inwards means you’re moving towards your spirit and that’s true happiness. Yoga helps “My 40s are teaching me compassion, empathy, kindness, and sensitivity and how precious honesty, integrity, and love are. I am focusing on gratitude, appreciation, and immediacy in life and being alive and, so far, blessed by good fortune.” us recognise our ego and observe it, rather than hating it. My ego is my friend. It’s the big bag of nonsense that’s in the way. It’s not real. It’s not the self.” Mikey says to avoid a midlife crash, it is important to stop being afraid.
“You only create suffering if you let fear be real. If you feel overwhelmed, just breathe. It can sound patronising, but it’s true. Let it all go. “My 40s are teaching me compassion, empathy, kindness, and sensitivity and how precious honesty, integrity, and love are. I am focusing on gratitude, appreciation, and immediacy in life and being alive and, so far, blessed by good fortune.” I am chatting with Mikey after a yoga class in Cabarita, a peaceful beachside town in northern NSW. He is sitting in a relaxed Lotus position, the embodiment of calm, and he certainly sounds like a yogi who is mastering the art of balancing his own physical, mental and emotional states. I am impressed. We are quiet for a moment and, as I gaze out through the studio’s large open doors, I notice the charm of the night sky’s evening colours being reflected across the nearby lake.
The water is dark, deep, and as still as this moment. Mikey’s eyes meet mine, and softly he confesses, “Well, actually, I do have a mistress. Her name is U-U and she’s a 21-ft yacht. It’s inevitable … a part of the midlife crisis!” My thoughts turn inwards, and I begin to lament the loss of my own youthfulness, but it feels like an indulgent longing for a life that could have been amid a life I’m very proud of. Inspired by the wisdom of others, I vow to embrace the mayhem, madness and magic of my midlife. I pledge to look in the mirror and be grateful for laughter lines, not resentful of wrinkles. I am ready to embark on the next breathtaking chapter of my life … with or without a Maserati.