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Don't call it a midlife crisis. Try "middlescence" – "a second adolescence but with wisdom," expert says

"Middlescence": How to welcome middle age
"Middlescence": How to welcome middle age, a second adolescence but with wisdom 05:06

One expert on aging wants to turn middle age stereotypes on their head, raising awareness for what she calls "middlescence" – "a transitional period, between the ages of about 45 and 65, marked by an increased desire to find or create greater meaning in one's life." Some might call it a midlife crisis, but gerontologist and life coach Barbara Waxman begs to differ.  

"We have this pivot in the middle where we're supposed to be feeling changes. Our bodies are morphing like adolescence but this time maybe not in ways we're so excited about. Our hormones are shifting, for men and women too. We've the sense that we're not young but we're certainly not old. So who are we and who do we want to be when we grow up?" Waxman said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

She said it's "a second adolescence but with wisdom this time."

As a coach, Waxman said she advises those in middlescence to know their risk tolerance and do a risk assessment.

"We all have regrets and some of them we would want to redo and it's the time to do it. It's not a surprise. It's not a crisis. It's the time to reevaluate the choices we made," she said.

Waxman offered some practical tips for people to reignite their passion during this season in their lives.

"The first is don't live your life anymore according to a chronological number. It has nothing to do with the stage you're at," she said. "So at 56 I've launched my kids, they're all in their 20s, they're working young adults, whereas other 50 somethings have kids in middle school."

"Be the author of your own life story. Don't let someone else write it for you or the culture," she added. "Beware and befriend the gremlins – the self-limiting messages you have, fight through them. Say no relentlessly."

To see if you're a middlescent, take Waxman's quiz. You can also take the "Thriving Quiz" to assess how you're doing at work and home. 

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