Many Americans enjoy a cultural norm of changing careers at least once during their lifetime. A desire for something new to do from 9 to 5 seems to arise at the onset of a new decade, especially after 40—a time that heralds midlife and invites us to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
Self reflection can be a good thing. It might even ward off the proverbial “midlife crisis”, a time of self-doubt and recognition of our own mortality. It’s denial that we’re changing and aging that can set off a spin of irrational decisions that gives this time of life a bad name.
In fact, facing into the confusing questions that often accompany midlife and beyond can lead us to a greater understanding of what’s next.
Take for example, author Susan Crandell who wrote Thinking About Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself in Midlife. Crandell, the former editor-in-chief of More Magazine, re-engineered her own life and became a freelance writer and book author.
Her inspiring book recounts the stories of a group of diverse individuals who embraced aging as a turning point, shook up their status quo and reinvented themselves in their second half of life.
Among the chapters that feature people whom Crandell refers to as “life entrepreneurs” is the story behind my annual Women’s Retreat in France, which I’ll be offering on May 28 of this year.
The profiles in Crandell’s book illustrate what can unfold when someone honestly and attentively asks: What do I want to do with the rest of my life?
To begin to explore this question yourself, consider the following:
- What am I longing to do or experience?
- Is there a part of an old dream that could be salvaged and integrated into my life now?
- What energizes and engages me? What would need to happen to bring more of that into my life?
- What helps me hear what is true for me? How can I increase that activity?
- What is most important to me at this time? Am I living my life in alignment with this priority? If not, what needs to shift so that I am true to what I value?
By exploring the compelling questions of midlife, you may come to experience George Eliot’s promising message: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”