Midlife Crisis Decorating

A harmless and fun master bedroom makeover during a possible midlife crisis

I’m 53 years old and I believe I hit my midlife crisis point about one year ago. For me, this stage manifested itself through a decorating project in which I completely changed the look of my bedroom. Of course, Dinner Table Doctor shares our bedroom, so he was the unwitting witness of my crisis.

What is a Mid-Life Crisis?

When people reach what they perceive as middle aged, which can be anywhere from 40 to 65 years old, they sometimes enter an emotional period of anxiety or unrest. It isn’t actually a crisis, unless a person is so filled with angst that he or she does something drastic that affects personal relationships or health and wellness.

Should I See a Doctor for a Midlife Crisis?

It’s perfectly normal to visit your primary care physician if you feel like you’re experiencing any type of crisis. Dinner Table Doctor has some patients who make appointments just to check in and chat in order to update him on their physical or mental status.

Middle aged patients often deal with major life transitions such as job loss, career change, parenting, caring for aging parents, and more. Additionally, this is a time when many patients struggle with health issues – either their own or with someone they care about. We have new aches and pains and are increasingly experiencing the effects of aging as well as comparing ourselves to other people our age and younger.

This is a period in life when we look back at what we may have accomplished and feel almost panicked at how quickly time has passed. There is so much more we want to achieve, but we are well aware that time is limited, unlike when we are young and naïve, believing we have all the time in the world. Some of us begin to question the meaning of life or find ourselves frantically trying to recapture the excitement of youth. The stereotypical midlife crisis includes impulsive and expensive purchases such as sports cars, drastic change in hair style, and even extramarital affairs. Many middle-aged patients experience mood changes, sexual dysfunction, and depression, among other issues. Sometimes a visit with a medical professional is exactly what you need in order to talk to someone who can help you figure out what is bothering you and how you might improve your outlook by working on some new coping skills.

My Experience

I needed a change. I felt like I was stuck in a huge, deep, chasm of a rut. My son was graduating college and my daughter graduating high school. I felt like they both should still be in middle school! My youngest daughter was well into her high school career and would soon be the only child living at home full time. As a stay-at-home parent for several years, I felt like I was slowly and excruciatingly being demoted and rapidly reaching a point where I might be fired altogether. I was feeling all of these crazy emotions and then I herniated a disc, which was incredibly painful. I felt old and useless.

Many parents have a hard time adjusting to the fact that kids are suddenly more independent. After years of depending on mom and dad for every little need, they are (hopefully!) now able to navigate most of life on their own. I knew many other people going through the same stage in life and began to realize that I needed to be proactive and prepare for a change. It was time to develop new interests and foster old passions as well.

As you may know from my posts Lighting a Room with Style, Home Decorating on a Budget, and Guest Bathroom Ideas, I enjoy decorating. I get a thrill out of putting my own unique stamp on a room. I decided that there was no better room in my house to develop this passion and take me into a new era than my master bedroom. After all, the bedroom is the place to foster passion, hubba, hubba!

Find Your Inspiration Piece

Our bedroom is on the smaller side and so is our closet. In searching for a new bed with storage drawers, I came across the most glorious headboard I have ever seen: a beautiful sun shining over our sleepy heads – rising in the morning and setting at bedtime. What’s not to love? Never mind that this headboard is probably geared towards teenage girls. It was just what I needed to feel young and spritely again. The trick was to convince DTD, who for obvious reasons needs to feel comfortable and happy in our bedroom.

A tip I learned from my three children is to start with a terrible idea and then shift to something that sounds sane in comparison. For instance, my daughter in college has threatened to get a tattoo throughout high school. One day she called to tell me that she did something terrible and she knew I would be angry, but she wanted to confess. Of course, I immediately said, “Did you get a tattoo?!” to which she happily replied, “No, it’s not THAT bad! I got my nose pierced…” The relief I felt that she did NOT get a tattoo definitely tempered the fact that she had a nose ring. Very smart on her part. By the time DTD and I got used to the nose ring, she had a tattoo, but that’s beside the point: start with the potentially catastrophic and the slightly less terrible occurrence seems minor.

My original idea was to put up a giant wall-to-wall mural of fireworks behind our bed. I wanted it to look like this:

A truly fantastic bedroom, but not mine!

Honestly, I think fireworks behind the bed is hilarious and still kind of wish I would have gone in this direction. Unfortunately, I could tell that DTD wasn’t crazy about the idea, even though he said it would be OK. (I’m guessing there’s a lot of men out there who will agree with anything when it comes to the bedroom!) I wanted him to be on board with my decorating project, so I presented him with the sunshine headboard as an alternative to the fireworks. He readily agreed. In retrospect, I probably would have eventually tired of the fireworks, and installing a mural seemed to be more difficult than a paint job. The headboard was my inspiration piece, and the rest of the room would fall into place as long as it complimented the beautiful sun.

The headboard that became my inspiration piece, but not in my bedroom.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

The easiest and cheapest way to transform a room is through paint. Also, much like hair color, paint can be changed on a whim, so why not go crazy? I decided to go for a bohemian vibe by painting a stencil pattern on the wall behind the bed. My midlife crisis was pushing me to try new things, and I knew it would keep my mind occupied. I took a trip to Lowes and grabbed a bunch of paint swatches to see which colors would look good with my new headboard. Then I got to work.

Your Bedroom Sanctuary Should Reflect Your Personality (and your spouse’s if necessary!)

If there’s one room in your house that you can definitely decorate as you see fit without concern over what others will think, it’s your bedroom. If you share that room, it is polite to run your ideas by your significant other to make sure you’re on the same page. I am thrilled with the results of my bedroom makeover. I now have more storage and it reflects my personality and stage in life. DTD says he likes it too. Here’s a peek!

Turn That Crisis into a Breakthrough!

It is never too late to learn a skill or interest. After I completed my bedroom makeover, I began taking Ukulele lessons and got a new job. It is also great when you can embark on a new journey with your significant other. Before my midlife crisis and to prepare for eventually being empty nesters, DTD and I enrolled in Italian language courses and made a commitment to travel more frequently. I love to seek out unfamiliar experiences and will keep searching for more opportunities, even if it’s just redecorating another room in my house!

If you suspect an approaching midlife crisis, try to channel your energies into something new. It can be exciting to embark on this next stage in your development as a human being. Just be careful not to make any rash decisions until you are no longer in crisis mode. It is never a good idea to make huge, lifechanging decisions when you may not be thinking clearly. Remember that it is perfectly reasonable to visit your primary care physician to discuss any feelings of anxiety or depression.

Have you done something exciting during a midlife crisis? Have you learned a new lesson as a result of making a rash decision? Feel free to share. Leave a comment or find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest.

  1. So inspiring! For those of us who are approaching that shift in life, we truly appreciate your willingness to embrace the change into something beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terri, your bedroom design is beautiful and eclectic, I love it! I am also at a stage in my life where I feel as if I’m going through some sort of crisis or life inconvenience regularly. I agree with you, the best treatments for these maladies are creativity, change, and exploring new interests, however small or grand they may be! Two very arthritic thumbs up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very wise words Jenn! Thanks for reading and let me know about any creative projects you start! (My arthritic knuckles are actually growing…😬)


  3. Artistic stretching helps tired muscles we haven’t used in many years. I’ve gotten my paint brushes out again and have begun to dabble a bit! I think it’s important to just keep moving in some direction that we enjoy for ourselves and no one else. Especially after all the years of caring taking for our family. You go my creative friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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