As I learn to embrace this midlife stage of life, I keep coming back to the basics. I think we complicate our world far too much and we need to redefine what is important so that we can find contentment in where we are today, rather than always looking for what's coming next that will finally make us happy.
#1 Live Simply
If you have a life of wealth and luxury then you are very blessed indeed. If, however, you are like me and you have enough to meet your needs with a little left over at the end of the day, then you need to see the joy in living simply. A simple life is an inexpensive life. A simple life holds less stress. A simple life can be a really happy life if we accept it for what it is and don't envy those with more. A simple life can be the secret to contentment at midlife.
Once we pare down our needs and wants and live within our means, we are free to choose a job that is about quality of life rather than about making more and more money. Life starts to revolve around what makes us content and it frees up time to invest in friends and in doing things that enrich us rather than trying to earn enough to pay for the extravagances we think we need to be happy.
#2 Love Generously
Midlife is about focusing on the people we love. It's a time to reconnect with my husband now that there is just the two of us, it is about redefining our relationship with our children now that they are adults and living their own lives. It's about expanding the love to include grandchildren and aging parents. If we open our hearts and free up more time and space we can give our love generously to the new family dynamics that evolve.
We can also invest more in our friendships. Having more time and less commitments means that there is the chance to connect more with the people in our lives. I love being able to sit and drink coffee and laugh and chat with close friends. I love being able to go out for a meal without having to worry about children or babysitters or what time to get home. I love that there is freedom to move on from friendships that have run their course without it causing repercussions. Midlife is giving me the time for growing relationships.
#3 Learn Constantly
This is a big one for me. I started a new job a few months ago and it has been a huge learning curve. My brain was so tired when I came home at night! But at the same time it has been really good for me to step out of the old routines and the safety of a mundane job and embracing learning new information and widening my knowledge. I'm learning how to blog and all the new stuff that comes with that too - and it's so much fun!
Midlife is a time when we can start ticking things off our bucket lists. I'm toying with the idea of starting leadlighting classes sometime in the future. I am not a particularly creative person, but I think it would be a really interesting thing to learn. I'm also keen on doing more community work and finding little things to make the world a better place. Now is the time to put back into the world after all that has been given to me. It's a time to reach out and learn what else there is on offer rather than pulling in and shutting off from "that big scary world".
So my midlife mantra is summed up in these three ideas - I'm sure there's many more out there that people are finding as they settle into this new stage of life and I'd be interested in hearing if there's something special that others have taken to heart. In the meantime I'll be out there living, loving and learning!