Instead of buying a new car or having an affair, 39-year-old Steve Scipioni decided to deal with his mid-life crisis by losing 40 pounds.
The Brookfield resident said he had lost his high-paying information technology job six months ago and is separated from his wife.
In the last year and a half, three men whom Scipioni was close to died of massive heart attacks, he said. All three were about Scipioni’s age.
His own mortality flashed before him, Sciopioni said, when he saw his wife’s 45-year-old cousin lying dead in the emergency room.
“That could have been me,” Scipioni said. “I knew what I had to do.”
He had experienced bouts of depression earlier in his life, and knew he always felt better when he went to the gym.
“There are moments when you’re working out that you think you can’t muster the strength, but I would push through and then I would feel better,” Scipioni said.
He used this same strategy to deal with his mid-life crisis.
For six months, he strength-trained three times a week and cardio-trained three times a week.
He also overhauled his “all-American” diet of mostly fast food to comprise whole and natural foods.
When he started, he “had feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth to the point where it’s like … ” Scipioni’s words trailed off.
“But now there’s nothing I can’t do. Now the greater the challenge, the more I want to take it on.”
Some people may fall in lust or buy a red sports car, said Kathy Caprino of Wilton, author of “Breakdown, Breakthrough.” But the vast majority of people find that those out-of-character actions don’t bring them the relief they are looking for.
A mid-life crisis does not have to be a negative thing, said Nancy Irwin, author of “You-Turn: Changing Direction in Midlife.”
“The middle of anything — whether life, school or your career — is when you sit back and naturally review, where did I come from and where am I going?” Irwin said. “You can look around at what’s missing in your life and what you can do to create it.”
If a middle-aged man always dreamed of being an NFL linebacker, it may be too late, but he can become a football coach and throw his passion into that, Irwin said.
Or someone who always wanted children and can’t biologically do so can get a foster child or do volunteer work with children.
Baby boomers are expected to live into their 100s, and younger generations well beyond that, Irwin said.
“I’m in my 50s and I’m only half done,” Irwin said. “Why should I close up shop and spend the rest of my days in front of the TV? There’s plenty of time to make personal, professional and lifestyle changes.”
Scipioni’s friend and fellow Brookfield resident Amy Birch is going through a major life change, as well.
She divorced her husband last year. With some guidance from Scipioni, she decided to work out and become more active.
That is not an uncommon way for women to deal with divorce and other major life changes, Caprino said.
“Many find it a way of empowering themselves, and they are letting go of parts of their life that didn’t work, while embracing the opportunity to be who they want to be,” Caprino said. “Areas that were neglected they can now take control of.”
Scipioni is reinventing himself on the eve of his 40th birthday in May. He wants to become a motivational speaker and lifestyle transformation coach.
He has actually wanted to transition into motivational speaking for years, but didn’t feel the confidence to make the leap until he changed his health.
And IT is not as different from motivational speaking as it seems, he said.
“On first blush, IT and motivational speaking seem to be on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but in IT I always helped people,” Scipioni said. “When their computers were broken, I fixed them. The common thread is helping people. Doing personal speaking gets at a whole different level.”
On April 3 at 2 p.m. he will speak at Borders about how physical fitness saved his life.
He intends to open a studio, called Personal Training Services, in April on Federal Road in Brookfield.