Midlife is more than just a halfway point. It’s a marker for the typical milestones experienced in your life’s journey. The kids are grown and on their own (or almost) . You’ve been married for a couple of decades now (unless you’re starting over…or on your own again). Your career may be at its zenith. This is normally the cue for a midlife crisis…or is it?
Rather than looking back with sadness, how about looking forward with anticipation? How about focusing on what you can do now? If you thought turning 21 was the point of infinite possibilities, that’s true. But with the wisdom and experience of another 2-3 decades under your belt, now is yet another opportunity to define who you are and where you will head next!
Map out your midlife transition by incorporating these 5 steps into your personal goal planning today!
Step 1: Change
Change does not have to be a dirty word! Oh, I get that it’s challenging to see the bright side of it when a beautiful season or phase of your life is ending. But what if you viewed your life as simply “evolving” and not an end to something. Instead, it’s a continuation in a different direction. Now you’re heading towards something new that’s also beautiful.
When you think about it that way, midlife is an exciting time. It’s the cusp of life unfolding once again. In fact, we are even better equipped at this age to make decisions that truly support our interests and goals. How empowering is that! In short, when we change our outlook, we can embrace the changes in our journey. After all, many changes are unavoidable or inevitable. So why not accept that and then control what you can?
Step 2: Declutter
Decluttering is at the heart of what I advocate to all “Mid-Lifers”! You’re in a new season of your life so it stands to reason that your stuff may need to change, too. As your activities and interests change, so should the things that take up space in your home. The same goes for items which supported a larger household. And wardrobes are an obvious area to sort through, as well. Not only do you make room for what resonates with your new lifestyle. Your donated or resold items benefit someone else who is at a different point in their journey, as well. Certainly sounds like a win-win to me!
Don’t feel you need to sort through everything in one fell swoop! Honestly, it can feel overwhelming when you look at everything with critical eyes. So start small. A drawer, a counter, a shelf or a closet. Even just 15 minutes a day will add up to noticeable results. The key is to incorporate a small session into your routine. Imagine the space that opens up for new possibilities when you clear out the things that don’t matter anymore in midlife!
Step 3: Reassess
Take time to reassess what matters to you now. It’s thrilling yet perhaps a little intimidating to pivot in a new direction. For a long time, you may have been involved in activities because they supported your children, your Ex or your career path. Now you’re finally able to focus on you! Similarly, your own interests may very well have evolved, too.
Now is not the time to rush into anything nor assume you will continue with the “same old.” Instead, honor your new season by thoughtfully reflecting on what sets your heart on fire. Consider what pursuits stimulate your mind. It’s OK to try something and learn it’s not for you. Be a risk-taker with pursuing something new. In other words, don’t shortchange the potential for great things in your new season!
Step 4: Resources
You don’t have to go it alone into your next season! In fact, I don’t recommend it. Sure, there are times where you need personal space to reframe your midlife direction. But having support from solid friends is critical for balance and fellowship. Interestingly, we sometime lose these connections when we are going full bore with a career. Relocating across the country for work opportunities can also play havoc with our support system. This happened to me and only when I left the business did I realize I had more work “friends” than personal friends. As a result, I needed to recreate a circle because fellowship and connection matters!
Step 5: Health
Last but not least, pay attention to how you feel, physically and mentally. Who wants to be held back from pursuing their dreams and desires when their health is an obstacle? Let’s be honest: this may not always have been a priority when we were younger. We made sacrifices taking care of our family or climbing the corporate ladder. There were all-nighters and carpooling while under the weather or aches and pains we disregarded. We basically put ourselves second after others (hello, motherhood!).
However, now that midlife is upon us, it’s time to put our self-care first! We can, we should and we deserve it! For us to step confidently into our next act, we need to ensure that we are listening to our bodies and emotions. For example, annual physicals, regular exercise and clean eating are paramount to participating fully in the interests and activities we desire.
Likewise for our mental health. Dedicated “me” time to decompress, meditate and reflect on our life’s journey and how we give back are just a few key ideas to maintain balance. After all, wouldn’t it be a shame if you couldn’t pursue your new goals because you didn’t properly nourish and care for yourself?
What midlife changes are you undertaking?