The first half of life, except for the lucky few who figured out early on who they are and what they want, is a time of doing what others expect. Many clients talk of majoring in a certain field or marrying a certain person, taking a certain job or even living in a certain location because it was the thing to do or pleased their parents or their peers. Some rebel and do the exact opposite, not realizing that they are still being controlled by others’ expectations. Either way, we are not considering who we are and what we most want. 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

For many of us, an awakening happens in midlife, leaving us wanting more out of ourselves and out of life. It’s time to find meaning and purpose at midlife.

Finding Meaning And Purpose At Midlife

What used to give your life meaning and purpose no longer fits. Perhaps in the first part of your life, you worked for a major corporation or became a doctor or lawyer or a stay at home Mom because it was what people like you did. You made the money you were expected to make or didn’t. You got the promotions you wanted or didn’t. But either way, it no longer fits who you are. You did what others expected.

You may have married the man of your dreams. Or the relationship you have found that his dreams and your dreams are quite different, Or you may have stayed single to pursue your corporate dreams or the dream of taking care of others in a helping profession. All you know is that right now, what worked before no longer works. You suddenly feel like a fish out of water.

What Worked Before No Longer Works

We may have used people pleasing, perfectionism and procrastination, to get love, to get ahead or to just make our lives work. We lived our lives based on fear, trying to win approval, instead of approving of ourselves. We felt that our doing made us who we are. It was our doing that made us worthy of others love and approval. We were exhausted, overwhelmed and unsatisfied. Burned out! The second half of life is about pleasing ourselves instead of pleasing others.  We want to make a difference but we want to do it in a way that honors ourselves.
Meaning and purpose come when what we most love to do also serves the world. It’s about creating a win-win solution.

A Life That Reflects Who We Are Instead Of What Others Expect.

Perhaps you would benefit from a major life overhaul. But my experience as a midlife coach has led me to realize that for most people minor tweaks can make a huge difference. We want to make a difference. We want to do it in a way that is true to our values, our gifts, and talents. We want to discover meaning and purpose and live in a way that in every way, fits and fulfills us. Getting clear on what we want instead of what others want for us and then having the courage and the confidence to go after it, is a major determinate of how happy and satisfied we are with ourselves at midlife and beyond.


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