Reader Question: All my life, I’ve heard about The Midlife Crisis. Now I am approaching the age my parents would have called Midlife and am definitely feeling a pull towards re-invention, but not like they did. For my dad, it was loud golf clothes and a sports car, and for my mom, it was acting like a hippie again. Somehow, they managed to laugh and stay married through it all. But for me, it feels more like finding out who I really am as a soul and how I really want to live knowing what I know now. I crave deeper relationships, more authenticity in my career and actions, more productivity and less busy-ness. I feel a lot like I did as a teenager trying to figure out who I want to be! Do you think it is possible to re-invent ourselves or are we stuck with whatever we have become so far?
“For the first time in history, we can realistically view the first half of life as a kind of gestation period, preparing us for an even more productive second half. Midlife is like a second puberty, a point at which one persona falls away and another comes to take its place. What happens then is up to us.” ~ Marianne Williamson
Somewhere around our forties, most of us start feeling the itch to...what? Slow down and coast the rest of the way? Try something new? Travel? Change careers? Change relationships? Finally relax and play? Whatever it is for you, there seems to be a central theme for most folks – the desire for less “do-ing” and more “be-ing,” to get to know our soul self intimately, and to utilize that soul self as our life compass in ways we may not have dared before.
Granted there are those who park themselves in the proverbial rocking chair waiting for the end, but for many of us the feeling that we were born for a purpose often becomes stronger than ever as we approach mid-life. There is a deep sense that we have endured, that we have weathered the storms and learned many of the lessons we are here to learn, that we are awakening, and that, thank god, we are not as clueless as we were as teens or even young adults. And perhaps best of all, we begin losing that horrible sense that we must do what others expect, that we must conform to what we are “supposed” to want and do. The good news is that research, both spiritual and scientific, confirms that we can continue growing and evolving as long as we choose.
As midlife approaches, we also begin developing a sense that we no longer have all the time in the world. In our twenties or thirties, changing careers or relationships didn’t mean much. After all, we still had decades ahead, right? But as we approach or cross the mid-point, we develop a new sense of urgency, a new sense that lollygagging isn’t where it’s at. Even our wandering becomes more focused and purposeful.
The irony is that this urgency often creates a deeper sense of peace and pleasure. We may be working “harder,” but the joy of pursuing a soul creation makes it feel like play. Suddenly, the relationships we’ve let hang on or the career in which we have marked time feels like dead weight ready to be jettisoned. Without the albatross around our neck, we begin to see and experience things differently. New options become crystal clear. So what if we aren’t where we expected to be. We can reprogram our thoughts, instill new habits, take leaps of faith, and find possibilities we never dreamed existed – and our younger selves couldn’t have seen if they had been right in front of us.
Now is the time to boldly ask yourself the questions you may have kept hidden in your heart.
- If I could attract the ideal relationship, what would it be like? What would we share? How would we connect? How would we maintain our individuality while building a strong bond?
- If I could design my ideal job, what would it look like? What would I be doing? Who would I be working with? Who would I be helping?
- If I could choose any interests, what would they be? Would I hike cross-country? Would I begin attending the opera? Or take voice lessons myself?
What are the dreams that have lurked in the back of your mind, the ones that have never gone away and have always whispered “someday”? Someday is here! It’s OK to change directions, even to go in the opposite direction. Perhaps all the things you have achieved, all the relationships you’ve experienced good or bad, have just been stepping stones for now, for something greater, more meaningful. Perhaps they have been teaching you the skills to bring your gifts into the world, offering just what is needed when it is needed. Your unique contribution.
There is never any time like now, no matter what stage of life you find yourself in. Your soul has been guiding you through this life, leading to its ultimate destiny. You are hearing it now because you are ready, willing, and able. We are never stuck. We are only temporarily blind until we can see. And once we see, we can grow in whatever direction we choose.
We can re-invent ourselves at any stage, but there is something especially sweet about doing it in mid-life when we have learned enough to really appreciate what we are doing and still feel there is lots of living ahead.
Anne Wade is the founder and publisher of The Soulmate Dance. She is a writer, educator, life coach, and lifelong student of soulmate relationships, devoted to expanding our understanding of all types of soulmate relationships and experiences.