Why Reinvent Midlife?
By midlife, it’s so easy to get into a routine. This can feel invigorating to some, and to others, strangling. Recently I talked with Barbara (not her real name) who by outer worldly measures had all the trappings of success. She had a successful job and a modest amount of savings, to take some time off and do some traveling. Recently, however, she had been the caretaker for her Dad. She loved him dearly and was facing a major combined case of caregiver burnout and regret. During the many hours, she had spent with her Dad, she had also reviewed her life and felt she had little to show for the first half of her life.
Barbara had lived up to her family’s and the world’s expectations for her. She realized she was living other people’s dreams for her but not living her own. She felt empty and raw inside. Together we looked at what was working and not working for her. When you feel stuck, it’s often hard to think that for the moment anything is going right. We looked at what gave her pleasure, the goals she wanted to accomplish. Together we worked on redesigning her life in a way that allowed her to reclaim her hopes and dreams. The last time I saw Barbara, she had a big grin on her face and laughter in her eyes. She had reinvented herself and reclaimed her joy and happiness.
Reinventing midlife first comes from a need to change.
Barbara’s realization that she wanted her life to change came with the change of pace and lifestyle caused by taking time off to be her Dad’s primary caretaker. Often change at midlife may be forced on you by outer changes beyond your control. Midlife is a time of change and transitions. Marriages end or may find increased vitality and love. Careers end with layoffs. Children leave the nest. Your parents and other loved ones need your care or pass away.
The need to make changes at midlife may also come from inside us. You may feel stuck or bored or numb, like you are trapped with no way out. You may have regrets or you may sense that there is more to life and you are ready for a change.
Reinventing Midlife is Getting Off Auto Pilot
An unexamined life is not worth living.
You may have a sense that if you don’t take action now to do something different that the opportunity will be forever lost. Yes, as you age, some opportunities or lost but others show up.
To reinvent midlife requires visioning a bigger bolder future. For most, this requires taking a leap of faith that you can accomplish, or at least set out on a path guided by your vision, your values, and what gives you meaning and purpose.
Reinventing midlife requires facing our fears.
What are your inner demons, that are holding you back? What do those voices in the back of your head say that keep you from moving forward and creating the life of your dreams? There may be regret that those voices have kept you playing small for much of your life, but they don’t have to any longer. Reinventing midlife does not mean that your fears will suddenly vanish with the wave of a magic wand and that all your dreams will come true. Rather a realization that your fears are merely smoke and mirrors holding you back.
Your turn now
Baby Boomers are doing a terrific job of reinventing midlife in all sorts of wonderful ways. No need to be relegated to the couch or the kitchen or to just keep doing the same thing over and over.
If you can dream it, you can do it. How will you spend your midlife and beyond?