The term midlife crisis comes from the German torschlusspanik, which translates as ‘shut-door panic,’ — a fear of being on the wrong side of a closing door. Torschlusspanik isn’t just for the middle years of life, whatever those years may be.
Sometimes the space on the other side of the door feels like dead space—an empty house or one less seat at the table. Lauren Winner wrote of that kind of crisis in Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis (HarperOne), the book that grew out of the dissolution of her first marriage: “I am not thrilled by the idea that I am entering a vague in-between.”
And yet there’s also a particularly potent combination of increasing fragility and growing strength to be found on the other side of shut doors.
Read the rest of my essay on Mid-life, Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness and Feist’s Pleasure at US Catholic Magazine.