Psycho-Analyst Elliott Jaques coined the phrase “midlife crisis” in 1957. However, renowned sociologist Brene Brown described midlife not as a crisis but rather “an unraveling.” An unraveling because it’s a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live.”
‘Midlife’ – the period between 45 to 65 years of age can be a fantastic time to re-invent yourself!
By the time we hit midlife, many of us would have experienced tremendous changes – in our career, our relationships, our health, and possibly our way of being. Midlife is also a time of significant losses; the death of a parent, loss of a job or two, the breakup of our marriage, our children leaving the nest.
We faced challenges in our youth with the support of our parents. By the time mid-life rolls ard, we may still not have “got it all figured, but there is no one to kiss the pain away and “make it all better.” Midlife is an opportunity to discover the strength within ourselves.
Midlife is a time when we look at what worked and what did not. It brings with it a greater sense of urgency to become all we are called to be.
One of the most significant cultural shifts has been the reasons for work. Job security is no longer the main reason for working. Meaning and purpose are just as important. Midlife seems to be a significant time when people start to hone in on what brings meaning and fulfillment in life.
For many women, their lives typically revolved around their children. With their children leaving the nest, there may be a need to find a new purpose for their lives.
The Grey Divorce
Midlife is also a time where many experience changes in their relationships. The ‘grey divorce’ – involving those fifty-five and above is a rapidly growing phenomenon. There is less financial reason to stay in an unsatisfying marriage with children having left the nest.
5 things to make mid-life the best part of your life!
Let go of sh!t
Midlife is a time of sifting countless conflicting messages you heard all your life from your family, community, and society at large about who you were supposed to be. What were some of those messages for you? Were you told to “make the best of it?” even if you were unhappy with your job, your marriage, your life?
Maybe you told you were not “good enough?” Not thin enough, not tall enough, not smart enough? You’ve come to the realization that those standards of what was “good enough” do not have to apply to you anyway.
The unraveling is a challenge to let go of those beliefs that have held you back. To release who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are. You may have been so used to looking at life through the lens of your spouse and your children. Or even your community. To a point where you may not even know who you are.
Pursue a passion that gives meaning
“Feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may help you live longer, no matter what your age, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research has clear implications for promoting positive aging and adult development, says lead researcher Patrick Hill of Carleton University in Canada”
Goals and values change as priorities and responsibilities change. What brings meaning to a person’s life may also change as they age. I have witnessed many of my clients discover and express their newfound passions in midlife, with some returning to school. Developing a side hustle is no longer just the domain of the millennial.
What are some of the activities or passions that bring you joy? What talents and gifts are emerging? What’s your heart calling you towards? Travel? Writing? Tennis? Art? Do you schedule those regularly into your routine?
If you have never taken your health seriously, now is the time to do so. This includes all elements of mind, body, and spirit. Develop good habits to keep your mind agile, your body fit and your spirit thriving. Learn mindfulness and meditation. Make them an indispensable part of your life.
How often do you exercise? Go for walks? Bike? Do yoga. What excuses do you make to keep yourself healthy? Movement should be a regular part of your daily routine especially if you are in a sedentary job.
Put your financial house in order
When you hit mid-life, it is important that you put your financial house in order. You may have reached the pinnacle of your career or you may have spent most of your adult life raising your children as a stay-at-home mother. Many women still leave the bulk of financial decisions to their husbands.
Do you know where you are at financially? Would you be able to make sound financial decisions on your own? If you’ve been through a divorce, your financial situation may have been affected. Are you helping out your children through college?
There is this huge misconception that people need over a million dollars in savings to retire. The amount of money a person or a couple needs during their retirement is dependent upon several things.
- The amount in pensions you are expecting to receive in your retirement from various sources.
- How you intend to spend your retirement years.
- Your estate plans.
- Your tolerance for risk on your investments.
- Setting up a part-time business. Through consulting or an online gig.
If you do not feel confident about your finances, then get educated about it or work with an advisor.
Make a plan
If you are not in the financial position to retire, then you may decide to find part-time work. Or, like many others, you may continue to work right into your sixties and seventies for various reasons apart from financial reasons.
The best part about all this, is you are coming equipped with skills and insight that you never had when you first set out in your career. This time you may be in a position to lead. The sense of “giving back” is rewarding to many who in the second half of their lives are not hot in pursuit of ambition and a high income.
Experiencing changes and challenges during this stage of life makes it important that you are part of a supportive community. As you enter a different stage of your life, develop friendships with people more aligned to the vision of the life you’re stepping into.
Midlife can be one of the most exciting times of your life. With experience on your side, it’s an opportunity to question your subconscious beliefs. Replace the beliefs that may have caused you to feel stuck, powerless, or fearful of beliefs that empower and will move you forward to how you would like to live the rest of your time on earth.
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As a financial advisor for over twenty years before going into business as a consultant, Jennifer helped families achieve their long terms goals and develop a consciousness for wealth.
Now, through one on one coaching, webinars, online courses, and public speaking, Jennifer empowers individuals and businesses to manifest the outcomes they desire. For a consultation, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She has written numerous books on money: Women and Money: 7 Principles Every Woman Needs to Know to Be Financially Prepared in Any Economy and Growing Up With Money: Raising Financially Resilient Kids in an Age of Uncertainty.