Not One More Day. Career and Real Life in the Midlife Transition
“B”, in his mid-40s was a successful, intellectually-oriented lawyer, a natural-born problem-solver. B had started a prospering business consulting to other lawyers and government. One day, he woke up, got out of bed, and found himself in a very uncharacteristic panic. After years of working flat out, B realized that he couldn’t face one more day of going to his office.
Work had lost all meaning: B couldn’t imagine forcing himself through another day of it. While he was making good money, he felt that what he was doing didn’t matter to him, and didn’t matter much to other people either. In addition to the very stressful nature of B’s work, he also experienced a great dryness, and dullness. And while work took in a huge chunk of his waking life, the rest of his life was also full of a great deal of sterility. As he himself put it, “Where am I in my life?”, and the realization grew on him that “I’m a human doing, not a human being”.
What was missing? It didn’t seem that simply changing jobs was the answer, as no comparable job he could imagine seemed to offer any greater chance of fulfillment.
After counselling/psychotherapy for some time, exploring his dreams and feelings, B began to understand the nature of his dilemma. “I’ve been ignoring the greater part of my self–what really matters to me, and what I really want for myself and my life!” He began to start to take feeling seriously for the first time in his life. Slowly, B. began to find his way into a different life, a life that went beyond workaholism and meeting the very conventional expectations that others, and he himself, imposed.
Today B’s life moves in a very different direction. He earns less money, but somehow the bills get paid, and he has what he needs. But, as he says, “I have something in my life that’s worth having! I have days that are full of colour and taste and life! It’s worth getting up each day!” And, for the first time in many years, instead of neighbours to whom he merely waves on the front lawn, or mere business acquaintances, B has real friendships.