Who says that growing older is not something to be relished? With each year comes more wisdom and gratitude. Clardy Malugen, in an excerpt from her new book, Midlife Madness, shares the opportunities that await those about to reach the best years of their lives.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
e.e. cummings

No matter what your age, whether you’ve just hit your 35th birthday or you’re incredulously realizing that although you feel 35… you’re actually 87, the concept of “Mid-Life” can extend for many, many years. It is that part of our life when we’ve settled into our power and our talents… and we’re living every day to the fullest. Or, at least that’s what we’re “supposed” to be doing.

In our lifetime, unlike generations before us, we have the wonderful luxury of creating a very long, very full “midlife”. We have the knowledge and the opportunity to extend our time on this planet by literally decades by committing to taking good care of our bodies.  We simply have to eat properly and exercise appropriately. If we provide the high quality nutrients our bodies need to create energy and do everything we can to support the removal of waste and toxins, we’re on track to longevity that was not accessible to our ancestors. It is pretty darned simple and straightforward… we just have to do it.

But starting from as early as the mid-thirties in many individuals, an energy shift begins to happen that may seem inconsequential at first, but as time goes by becomes more and more apparent… and more and more important. It originates as we enter midlife, takes hold as time goes by, and follows a very clear theme. It is a theme that has profound implications, resonating with the deepest part of the heart and soul, where we learn to have the courage to purposefully acknowledge and align with our true passions. Its ultimate purpose is to lead each of us to living the life that we were born to live.

What happens if you miss or ignore this vital, profoundly important signal from your deepest, most authentic self? Simply put… distress, confusion and chaos. As we all know, distress, chaos and confusion can be delivered in a variety of shapes and sizes. Right when we’re least expecting it, right when we’re supposed to be living the perfect, storybook life, Midlife Madness can rear its ugly head… and it is usually not pretty.

The energy state that we call “Midlife Madness”, can start with an underlying sense of stress, a feeling that something isn’t right, or perhaps a feeling of being disconnected. If ignored or left unaddressed, Midlife Madness can progress quickly. It is not unusual to see full-blown panic attacks or the unconscious creation of negative situations or events, perhaps a dramatic “acting out” of a discomfort that is being felt on a deep unconscious level. Many people respond to Midlife Madness in the fastest and most convenient way possible:  they avoid it.

They spend their energy finding ways to fill the void they are feeling, to trick themselves into thinking that they are imagining the whole thing. They often choose material possessions or exciting, albeit dysfunctional, relationships to help them ignore the distress that is percolating inside. This powerful discomfort has been known to lead to the decisions for major purchases like sexy new convertibles and motorcycles, or vacation homes, or perhaps to the creation of a clandestine affair that feels great in the beginning, but ultimately leads to more chaos and discomfort.

It’s important to note that avoiding this powerful discomfort and its accompanying emotional stress also lead to extreme stress on the physical body, quickly sabotaging efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Midlife Madness demands our attention and drains our energy… and it won’t take “no” for an answer.

The power of Midlife Madness is palpable, enticing and insidious at the same time. However it might be appearing in your life, the true source is always the same. Although it may seem to begin with a sense of panic at acknowledging that the end of your life might out there on the horizon, the real catalyst for Midlife Madness originates with something much simpler and more profound.

Are you staying in a career that no longer is meaningful to you? Has your once loving relationship become a source of conflict and negativity? Have you somehow created a life that is lonely or devoid of honest, supportive communication?

If you’ve been pushing yourself to focus your energy on something that no longer feeds your true essence, if you’ve managed to do this day after day, month after month, year after year… you have brilliantly navigated your life to the point of no return. You have blindly, unknowingly, steered your life into the chaotic, confusing realm of Midlife Madness… and the chances are good that it’s not bringing you even the remotest sense of joy or peace.  In fact, you’re probably feeling miserable. Which area of your life isn’t working? Can you feel that sense of discomfort and misery? Can you try to grab on to that feeling for just a moment? That feeling has come to deliver a wonderful gift. That’s the signal your authentic self has been trying to transmit. It’s time for you to recognize the truth about Midlife Madness—and the power of your passions.

In that moment when you’ve finally allowed yourself to admit that something about your life isn’t working, you’ll find the perfect answer to alleviating the discomfort of Midlife Madness. You’ll find the answer to the unmet longing that you feel inside. You’ll find a connection to your authentic self that naturally has all the answers. All the answers were there all along. You were just too engaged in chaos to acknowledge them.

For more information on Clardy Malugen, her teachings and her book Midlife Madness, please visit Clardym.com