Humans 101

Psychological Tricks for Handling a Midlife Crisis

How to feel less bummed and more grateful as you age

Michele Koh Morollo
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readFeb 2, 2021

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Blurry image of pedestrians walking against overlay of clock hours.
Photo: DNY59/Getty Images

My husband and I went for our annual eye checkup, and I was told I needed reading glasses. My husband, who is 10 years older than me, smiled and said, “Darling, this is just the beginning.”

I glared at him. The beginning of what exactly? The end?

I turn 43 this year, and I am officially having a midlife crisis.

I’m in the middle. The beginning is over. The next stop is “the End.”

I am looking at my life — my wonderful life. I have loving husband, who is my best friend, personal masseur, and chef; a fulfilling career as a well-paid freelance journalist, copywriter, biographer, and fiction writer who can work every day in her pajamas; a budding second career as a cognitive behavioral hypnotherapist; a clean and very hygge rented apartment with stunning views of the Hong Kong city skyline, harbor, and mountains; warm and loving relationships with my parents and grandmother maintained through weekly phone calls after morning hikes through a peaceful nature park that’s just a 15-minute walk from home; and weekly lunches and heart-to-heart convos with my terrific gal pals.

Despite all this, I feel… blah. I think to myself, “So what? This is a small and mediocre life, compared to…”

I’m looking at all these relationships and success that I have, but I don’t really see them. What I see, instead, are the things that I don’t have.

  • I don’t have a car and I never got a driver’s license.
  • I don’t have a child.
  • I don’t have enough sex (maybe that’s why I don’t have a child).
  • I don’t have a dog or a cat.
  • I don’t own a house with a garden.
  • I haven’t published a bestselling book.
  • I don’t have artwork hanging on my walls.

At 43, I should have all these things. But I could never be arsed to get them before, and now it’s too late. I just don’t have the energy to make it all happen. What I’m feeling is resignation—and mild depression.

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