11 Steps to Making Midlife a Thrilling New Chapter
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I’ve had the same employer for over 23 years. I’ve been married for nearly 21. I’ve been a mom for 19 years. While I’m still very much in this life chapter, there are fewer and fewer pages and I recognize I am about to begin something completely new.
One child has left the nest and the other only has a few more short years.
Where did the time go?
I’m still running around, going to sporting events, buying school clothes, attending award ceremonies. But, I do recognize that the end to all that is not too far off.
The majority of my marriage has revolved around our careers and kids. The hustle and bustle, just trying to stay on top of all our responsibilities. But, at some point we will be retired and the kids will be independent. Where will that leave us?
What will we do with actual time on our hands and an empty house?
All of these thoughts of midlife and the next chapter have been crossing my mind. It’s easy to get anxious and even sad about the changes.
It doesn’t have to be looked at as an ending. It can be viewed as a beginning. The memories will always be there, but life is evolving and it’s time for some new ones. Time to re-examine who I am and what my passions are.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey
One thing I appreciate about midlife is being comfortable in my own skin. All those adolescent worries about what other people think are gone. I am who I am and I just want to be happy. I’m gonna take some chances and do things I like, regardless of what others think.
I’m also going to focus on self-care and positive energy. And, I’m no longer going to get dragged down by the pointless drama of others.
“Ships don’t sink because of water around them; Ships sink because of water that gets in them. Don’t let whats happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.” — unknown
And, to be happy as I transition, I have composed a list so that my next chapter is a good one.
11 Steps for a Thrilling Midlife
- Create a vision of the next chapter.
- Figure out what makes you excited and do more of it.
- Figure out what is not exciting and do less of it.
- Experiment by trying new things. For example: Art, I’ve really found enjoyable. Gardening, I’ve kind of failed at. But, without experimenting I wouldn’t have known that.
- Think outside of the box. Remember that there are many different ways to skin a cat. Don’t settle for thinking something “can’t” be done because of X. Maybe it just takes some creativity to achieve the same or similar results.
- Adopt the YOLO (you only live once) mentality. Stop waiting and start doing! There is no time like the present to start on that bucket list.
- Become self-aware and have self-control. It’s important to recognize something causing disharmony. Step away from it and don’t let it have a negative effect. The more I become self-aware of others negativity and its affect on me, the more I’ve realized how important it is to not get drawn in. Protecting my own energy field has become a top priority.
- Grounding. What little thing will help me feel better? Often for me it’s a simple walk in nature or I actually have been enjoying a weighted blanket. I find it comforting when I’m anxious to be wrapped in heavy blanket. Kind of like a nice firm hug. Like this one: CuteKing Cool Weighted Heavy Blanket 20lbs 60”x80” Queen or Full Size for Adult Women Men Summer Natural Deep Sleep, Reduce Stress, Anxiety, Autism (Dark Grey)
- Find a purpose greater than yourself (serve others more). I find no greater joy than to know that I’ve put a smile on someone else’s face.
- Reflect on relationships. Many important relationships drift due to the busyness of career/ family or there may come a time when you realize someone isn’t who you thought they were. Approaching midlife is a great time to reach out, reconnect, repair, renew (or even remove, if there are people that cause constant drama and pain.)
- Create new traditions. As relationships evolve, things may need to adjust. For example, my kids would not appreciate the “Breakfast with Santa” tradition at this point in their lives. But, a Christmas shopping trip and lunch tradition is something we could all enjoy.
Still struggling thinking about the next chapter? Here’s a humorous take on emptynesting by Lisa Scottoline: My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman