How to Find a Renewed Sense of Purpose in Midlife

By Stacey Feintuch
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
November 08, 2022

Early in life, the focus is often getting to the next milestone. Maybe that’s learning to drive, graduating, getting a job, getting married, and having children, if you want any of those things. But once you find yourself in midlife, there might seem to be fewer milestones to check off your list—which may leave some people feeling a bit untethered and aimless.

“By the time midlife hits, you might say, ‘Wow I did all these things. Now what?’ ” says Rachel DuPaul, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in Minnesota who practices virtually and who specializes in helping people navigate crossroads and life changes. “You’re used to having this forward momentum, and now a pause is happening.”

Reaching this point can be daunting, but it can also be empowering, DuPaul says. You can use this time to reconsider your place in the world, says James Killian, a therapist and counselor who practices in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Yes, this time of life can be full of uncertainty, but it can also be an ideal time to reflect and pivot.