In midlife? Trying to work out what to do in your second half?
Are you in midlife? No longer loving your job? Feeling a lack of energy and drive?
You’re not alone. It’s not unusual for people in the middle stages of life to feel less engaged with careers or current jobs. I experienced it in my corporate life and over time transitioned to a more meaningful and rewarding career coaching others who are experiencing the same.
What is midlife?
The psychologist Erik Erikson referred to midlife as aged 40-65. His research suggested that in midlife our focus changes from our own personal achievement and development to a desire to find our life’s work and share our knowledge and wisdom with others. He used the term “generativity” to capture the need for all of us to leave something behind for future generations.
The midlife journey
The midlife journey is often referred to as a “midlife crisis”, which has a negative connotation. However, the good news is that this midlife uncertainty, if embraced, can lead you through a period of reflection and personal growth to a deeply rewarding midlife transformation and reinvention. If you don’t address this feeling of disengagement from your current life, it can cause a lack of impetus and low motivation. You can resist it for a while, however, if not acknowledged this disillusioned feeling may grow and create challenges in your professional and personal lives.
Midlife is a time to explore where you are in your life journey and make the necessary adjustments to fully embrace and re-engage with the second half of life, developing the confidence to take responsibility for your next steps (work, relationships, health, interests, etc).
Plan for your future, don’t get stuck in the past
We’re living longer and retiring later than previous generations, and so it’s important to keep up to date to make your second half count. Now’s the time to be proactive, develop your thinking and allow your lifestyle to evolve. These days we need to be lifelong learners, exploring and growing in new ways to acquire new skills, knowledge and experience. Incorporate optimism and dreams when thinking about your future. If your current lifestyle is detrimental to a healthy life, it’s time to make changes so that you’re productive and active into your senior years. To be able to work longer and live well, you need to manage stress levels, keep fit and active, take care of relationships and look after your overall physical, spiritual and emotional health.
Change is normal
The reality is that everyone experiences significant changes at some point in midlife, maybe redundancy, divorce, health emergencies or an empty nest that can trigger a “midlife crisis”. You can wait for it to happen to you or take ownership of your life and proactively plan for your next stage of life. Everyone’s midlife journey is different. Some people don’t experience this period of reflection and just move on, while others have a strong pull to explore different motivations, including:
- Retraining and following a new career direction.
- Developing creativity.
- Focusing on health and well-being.
- Prioritising relationships.
- Getting involved in community and volunteering activities.
A midlife transformation isn’t a time of judgment or comparing your experience to others; it is a time of acceptance and learning to flow with your life, body, mind and spirit for a more meaningful second half.
Working with a coach in midlife gives you time and space to think and explore where you are in your professional and private life. It will help you to examine and clarify your values, strengths, interests and life goals, and figure out how they fit in with a current career.
This exploration often results in a change of some sort to be able to fully embrace, re-engage and thrive in the next stage of your life. It may be a job change or it may be a change of perspective about your current job. Your coach will support you on your journey of discovery and help you break through limiting beliefs and see the possibilities ahead.
I’m not suggesting that new beginnings in midlife are easy, but if you don’t take charge and be proactive, then you might just find life taking the lead...
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