The myth of expatriate woman and midlife crisis

Are you currently asking yourself a thousand questions? Questions about… your expatriate life? The idea of going back home or continuing this expat life? About pursuing your life as a humanitarian in the field or considering going back to a more “normal” life? About your plans to relaunch your career after years as an expatriate spouse? About your feeling that it’s time to write a new professional chapter, but which one? About your need to give more time to your personal life?

Are you wondering if this is normal? Do you feel like you’re the only one questioning everything.

Are you wondering if you’re having a mid-life crisis?

Let me reassure you right away! What you’re going through is normal! Everyone goes through it at some point in their lives!

Let’s face it: if you find yourself questioning yourself between the ages of 35 and 55, it’s not a mid-life crisis. On the contrary, it’s a natural a healthy transition in life! Like childhood, adolescence, adulthood, or retirement.

Unfortunately, very little is said about this mid-life transition. Or worse, it’s often unfairly demonized as a crisis.

If this worries you, it’s because you’re entering unfamiliar mid-life territory. The good news is that, for the vast majority of us, this is first and foremost an EVOLUTION, not necessarily a revolution. It’s a new stage in your development. This transition involves subtle, profound, and intimate transformations.

Why this mid-life transition?

Because at 40, you’re not the same person you were at 20. The identity you carefully constructed for yourself in the 1st half of your life may no longer corresponds to the person you’ve become today. It’s normal and healthy to question yourself and to aspire to something different.

This mid-life transition is the moment when may arise:

  • Questions about the meaning of life: What direction should I give my life? Why am I here? What’s my purpose? Am I in tune with myself?
  • A loss of interest, boredom: You’re no longer as convinced, enthusiastic or delighted about your life choices.
  • A feeling of dissatisfaction: You need to revisit what’s important to you today, your values.
  • A desire for change: You feel the need to experience something different, something new, to discover a new way of living your life. You’re aware that time is running out.
  • A desire or aspiration to leave something of yourself in the world: To have another impact, to devote yourself more to what’s meaningful.

It’s not the mid-life transition that’s the problem: it’s the refusal, conscious or unconscious, to accept, welcome and accompany it as harmoniously as possible.

It’s your resistance to the process that creates difficulties for you… not the process itself, which allows you to enrich yourself.

Personally, I think this unknown territory deserves to be explored in a positive way, because this transition, even if it’s destabilizing and a little uncomfortable, is an incredible opportunity to take stock and make the right decisions for your next chapter of life.

As an expatriate, you’re probably going through several transitions at the same time. A change of country, for example, involves additional personal, family, and professional readjustments.

This is obvious among the person I work with. Most of them are between 35 and 55 years old and are gradually undergoing this mid-life transition. They feel the need to take stock and move on, whether to prepare for a return home after years as an expatriate, to relaunch their professional lives after years as a non-working expatriate spouse, to give a little more space to their personal lives as highly committed humanitarians, to reconsider their professional choices, etc.

I’ve been there too. Between the ages of 38 and 40, I found myself in a storm of questioning. I found that period difficult. I had two young children, I’d left the humanitarian field, I’d gone back to my first job as a teacher to try and find a better life and work balance. My husband and I had just bought a house in Switzerland where we wanted to settle down after fifteen years of expatriation. On paper, everything was going well, yet I was asking myself a thousand questions. I wasn’t satisfied with the way my life had turned out, I longed for something different on a professional level, and I felt a renewed desire for change, without really knowing what it was. This situation was compounded by a new transition: my husband was offered the chance to move abroad again. We seized the opportunity, but this one was different: 1st expatriation as a family, 1st time as an accompanying spouse.

For a long time, I tried to answer my questions on my own, with the support of those around me, but I just couldn’t do it. It was a bit upsetting, because up until then, I hadn’t needed anyone! With this new expatriation, I took the plunge and asked for help to make this mid-life transition a success, to which were added some major transitions: expatriating as a family (and no longer alone or as a couple), taking on the status of accompanying spouse for the first time, identifying my new professional chapter, finding a good life balance.

At the time, I wasn’t aware that I was going through all these transitions, in addition to this mid-life transition. I felt very guilty for questioning myself so much, for not knowing… whereas I know now that it was an important, healthy, and salutary step!

If you too feel that it’s time to get some support to make the transitions, you’re currently experiencing a success, contact me to arrange a free, non-binding discovery session to discuss it.

In my individual coaching program, you’ll be able to work on your personal and professional evolution, without it having to be a revolution. You’ll be able to get through this new stage in your development, equipped and serene. Above all, you’ll come away with CLARIFICATION: about who you are today, what you aspire to, the impact you want to have, your search for meaning, interest…

Contact me to talk about it.

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