Midlife can often be accompanied with a horrible sense of feeling lost. As a psychologist, I understand this as a person being in the ‘liminal space’. The word liminality, is derived from the Latin word limen, meaning threshold.
Lost at midlife? welcome to the Liminal Space
The Liminal Space is a transitory space, the space a person occupies as they change from one situation or perspective to another – it is the threshold betwixt and between. There is no simple passage here, but there is the provision of new possibilities.
The liminal space can be frightening and challenging as within it, a person is neither part of the old nor part of the new and almost suspended in time. They find themselves underdeveloped and unformed.
Entering a midlife crisis where old identities no longer fit, and a new identity has yet to be formed creates a void that leaves an emptiness and a ‘not knowing’ that requires you to look inward in order to move through it. Many people can’t tolerate the betwixt and between of the liminal space and the not knowing, the lack of identity and quickly jump out of it into a new job, new relationship or new project but these are merely distractions and once the novelty has worn off, you will find yourself back in the liminal space going through the whole experience again.
The liminal space is an emergent, unstable space in which the person may oscillate between hanging onto old identities because of the comfort they provide even though they feel outdated and reaching out into an unknown new space which is yet to be fully formed. It can feel like you are back at 16 years old, on the threshold of adulthood and having to let go of the comfort, protection and lack of responsibility of childhood, yet wanting to reach out and explore something new.
Liminality provides the spark of creation, the opportunity for ultimate freedom and a space which allows deep healing and transformation to take place. You don’t have to traverse the liminal space alone; my blogs will guide you.