CREATING OUR LEGACY IN MIDLIFE

When we allow the changes in Midlife to happen - we begin to create our legacy

CHANGES, CHANGES EVERYWHERE

I came across this quote on a post about change from Michelle at Bad Gramma:

When you find the courage to change at Midlife, a miracle happens. Your character is opened, deepened, strengthened, softened. You return to your soul’s highest values. You are now prepared to create your legacy: an imprint of your dream for our world—a dream that can fully come true in The Second Half of Life.  
Angeles Arrien

CHOICES AND CHANGES

It made me stop and think about how important Midlife is as a focal moment in time where we get to make the choice about whether we are prepared to move forward and embrace change, or whether we are going to be held back by the expectations of others or even by our own fears.

I want to make changes, I want to grow and move forward, and I want to be able to look back on Midlife and see the changes that took place during that time. Not just the upheaval type changes that come when  my world gets tilted on its axis, but also the little changes that come from accepting myself and owning the consequences that come with putting myself and my needs as a higher priority in my life.

Finding the courage to change in Midlife and preparing to create our legacy

CONSEQUENCES OF MY CHOICES

Michele from Bad Gramma wrote: 
This change, if you choose to accept it, is deep and transformational. It may start to upset the world of those who you have kept peace with and nurtured.

And she is absolutely right. I know that I've already upset people, I've lost a friend whose loyalty I questioned, I've had a falling out with a loved family member, and I'm sure there are more upsets to come if I hold to making my own values (and the changes that come with them) a priority. Am I prepared to hold my ground? Am I prepared to wait and see if others can accept me for who I really am? Am I prepared to wear the consequences of change?

LEGACY

The next questions for me are - What will my legacy look like? What do I want to see developing from Midlife onwards? What do I want to leave behind when I depart this earth? What will my world look like if I live authentically and don't trade off my priorities for keeping the peace or for smoothing the ruffled feathers of those who don't like who I am or who I'm becoming? 

When I wrote a couple of weeks ago ago about Dying Alone With My Cat, it was really my biggest concern that I might alienate those I love by being true to myself. The funny thing is that Gens X and Y, and Millennials, and those who follow after them, have no qualms at all in stating their case and holding their line in the sand. They don't seem to care if others are bothered by what they say, think, or do.....they just get on and do it.

CONFIDENCE AND COURAGE

I want that confidence, I want to be able to say "Hey world, this is Me!" and own that and get on with where that leads me. I feel like those Midlifers who have this figured out need to teach it to the rest of us - they are our ground breakers. I love women like Helen Mirren and Judy Dench - they speak up and speak out and damn the torpedoes - I want to be like them and maybe that's where my Midlife changes are taking me.

When we allow the changes in Midlife to happen - we begin to create our legacy
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46 comments

  1. I love thinking about change from this perspective. Right now, change is just kind of happening TO me -- kids graduating, getting married, parents passing away. I want to be aware of areas of my life that need change or sensitive to the movement of the Spirit saying "try this new thing."

    Blessings to you as you navigate these important years.

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    1. So much happens to us in chunks of events doesn't it Michele - then it slows down again for a while - I think the times when you have a bit of breathing room are great places to start thinking about what you want to do with the last half of life.

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  2. Oh, I find the legacy thing a challenging one. Those with kids can usually just feel a sense of relief that they've left 'some' mark on the world, but with no ex-loves or kids I wonder how much I'll be remembered, if at all.

    Of course, as you've reminded me, there's still time...

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    1. It's funny Deb, I don't really think of my legacy in terms of my kids - it's more about what type of person I want to be - what character traits I want to work on to be the best person I can be. It's how I'd like to be remembered by friends and family - and what I need to do to have a great last half of life.

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    2. Leanne, that's how I feel as well. Thanks for giving me direction and points to consider as start thinking about this stage of my life as well. It's so hard at times to focus on legacy when the day to day of life and parenting can seem so overwhelming at times. But I will get there.

      SSG xxx

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  3. I've been thinking a lot about what my legacy will be Leanne - perhaps as I'm turning 60 in August. Change isn't easy but with courage we can do it and realise our full potential. We brought our children up and taught them to be individuals and self-confident - different to the parenting we had. I suppose we can't blame them now for their self-confidence and being self-absorbed. The good thing is it is now our time and we can rediscover our own individuality and freedom. Keep up the positive midlife message!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond xx

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    1. I think changing decades does that to us Sue - we stop and re-evaluate where we've been and where we're going. I think this stage of life is the perfect opportunity to become our best selves and that's a great legacy to leave behind.

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  4. I'm often so busy trying to survive the latest changes, I forget to take time to reflect and redirect. I love this idea of thinking about what my legacy will be. It causes me to ponder what I really want the next stage of my life to look like. Thank you for sharing this - it will be in my mind as I organize and plan things this week.

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    1. When we're busy we have too much on our minds to be thinking deep and meaningful thoughts Melody - but when the busy-ness slows down, we can take stock and see where we're heading and if we are creating the person we want to be.

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  5. I'm smack bang in the middle of mid life, but haven't given it much thought. I just try to get through each day as best I can, care for my kids, pay my bills and work in my business. I'm not much fussed about what the future holds or what legacy I will leave. We all live and die and the world goes on. I remember having existential crises as a child, realising that one day I would no longer be here, but now, I'm at peace that one day I will just cease to be.

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    1. Hi Dorothy - when I read your blog about how down you're feeling right now, I'm not surprised you aren't thinking about things like what legacy you want to create. Sometimes just getting through the day is enough isn't it? I hope you find your way back into the sunshine and have enough time and space in your life to be able to focus on the character traits you want to develop. x

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  6. I like your thinking Leanne, you are an inspiration to many and must always remember that!!

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    1. Thanks Deb - I really want to encourage other Midlifers to start making these years count. It's our moment in the sun and we need to make the most of it don't we?

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  7. Always a thought provoking post from you Leanne! Thank you. My legacy is in the memories (remembered or held within their DNA & experiences) is those times shared with my children and the grandchildren. They do not see us much any more but each of them was loved and cared for as babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers so I like to think there is much within them that moves on to another generation from me to them. I think about this more as I am 67 and see parts of what I have now in me from my mum, aunty and grandparents..It's LIFE. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week will be the last link up for a while. My blog post of this week explains the reason.

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    1. Family is such an important part of our legacy Denyse, but I'd also like to think that I am a separate entity to my children and that I'm becoming the best version of me I possibly can be. I'd like to really live authentically and to encourage other people to do the same - not to live their lives as reflections (or shadows) of other people.

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  8. I'm technically a gen X'er, yet struggled with the this is who I am thing. That started to come out in my early 40s - & I'm growing more into myself as I get older. That's the legacy I want to leave - that I did it my way.

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    1. I think we all start thinking about it somewhere midway through life Jo - maybe it will start earlier for each generation - but I think the idea of growing into ourselves is what it's really all about - being real and doing life well.

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  9. Leanne, I've been doing a lot of thinking as to the legacy I will leave my kids one day. We are approaching our 50th Wedding Anniversary, and we are compiling a photo record of our life together. It is great fun. Because the kids are a huge part of our lives, we have dedicated a page to each child as they were growing up, one for each of their weddings, and one for each group of grandchildren. The most amazing thing is happening. I am falling in love with them all over again. :-) It's great to remember the moments that I'd forgotten about. The cuteness of the shy one, the coyness of our daughter with her Lady Di look (before the days of Lady Di) and the effervescence of the bubbly one. I'd love to do them each a copy of the book, but they are very expensive to print. Still, it's worth a thought.
    Have you ever had cold feet?

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    1. I think it's so lovely that you want to create a photographic history of your nuclear family Shirley - I hope your kids really value it. I've seen my kids throw away their school day reports and artwork and awards and wonder if they're really interested in family history - so my legacy will be more about living authentically for however many years are left and hopefully spreading some smiles around in the process.

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  10. As I age, and mature, there is a real clarity and wisdom that unfolds itself. I do know I still have a ways to go and who knows what life will have instore.

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    1. I know what you mean Alicia - it's like we wake up and find our "self" again and then get to figure out how to put that discovery to good use (ie: what our legacy will be)

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  11. Thanks for sharing your journey, Leanne, and allowing the rest of us to come along and learn from your experience. I recently participated in a presentation about Growth Mindset. I now have this quote on my board: I never lose. I either win or I learn. Good luck to you on this journey!

    ~Christie

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    1. It's all about how you choose to view things isn't it Christie? I love your quote and it's so true. If we let a few losses define us then we are going to live really sad lives. Not the way I want to spend the next decade or two (or three!)

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  12. Excellent Post, Leanne! Got me thinking.

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    1. Thanks Pam - you've been a great example of someone using Midlife as a springboard to new and interesting life choices.

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  13. I thought so much about this over the weekend. I'm struggling between the legacy of helping others and a legacy where there's any sort of financial success. I know it shouldn't matter. And I think perhaps I'm getting too distracted by the word legacy? Because for the most part the financial piece just affords me a little bit of… Stress relief? Not worrying about retirement and how old I will live etc. :-)
    Because I really don't want my legacy to be leaving a trust fund for my daughter. It's not where my priorities are.

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    1. It all comes back to balance again doesn't it Carla? We want to make a difference, but we all have to eat and pay the bills. The things that really matter often won't make us much money, but they hold so much value (the money stuff will take care of itself)

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  14. Wow, can I ever relate to this post. Smack in the middle of my life, yesterday and tomorrow are both pulling me in opposite directions like magnets. Legacy, yes! I think about that all of the time. Which part of me will my children remember most and carry on to the next generation?

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    1. It's so important to dig down and find what we really stand for and what our values are isn't it Julie? We can't leave a legacy for the next generation if we haven't figured out what is important to us and worth developing our lives around.

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  15. This is a very thoughtful post, Leanne. I am secure in my professional legacy but my personal legacy I think is subjective. To be thought,"A different breed of cat", is OK with me!

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    1. I like people who are their own kind of crazy Haralee - a little difference is a good thing - and a great example to all of those people caught up in our cookie cutter world.

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  16. I've started the upheaval process by downsizing. It will come time over the next year or so. Then our planned next phase includes more travel. But legacy? That used to concern me more when I was younger. My hope is that people just remember me with love.

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    1. I think being remembered with love is exactly the kind of legacy I'm talking about Jennifer - it's not about being a big deal, it's about living a life we are connected to and happy with and sharing our joy with others - that's love isn't it?

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  17. I think about this a lot and wonder what my legacy will be. My grand kids tell me i'm an awesome Grammy and that I always do things with them and inspire them...what better legacy could I have than that!

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    1. Awesome and inspiring - pretty fabulous legacy indeed Renee - I hope my little granddaughter thinks I'm awesome when she's old enough to figure things out :)

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  18. Great post. You have me thinking...I have always wanted to write a book, but I think my legacy is really about more than that...

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    1. You have to start somewhere Kim - a book is definitely the opportunity to think about what you enjoy and where your talents lie - not a bad beginning of a legacy!

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  19. I'm so glad I found you at Bloggers Pit Stop. This is so thought provoking. I tend to keep myself so busy that I really don't slow down and think deeply. How can you change if you don't stop and give it some thought? You've inspired me to do just that. I think it's high time I start deciding what I want from my life and what I want my legacy to be. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Welcome to the club Jenny! I think so many of us are in the same boat - life took over and we kept running on that hamster wheel and had no time to stop and think. Now that I've gotten a bit more time back I've come to realize that there is so much more to living than just ticking the boxes - it's time to figure out what is really important to me and to live that out authentically - I hope you find it too x

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  20. Funny how you start thinking of your legacy when you hit that midpoint. I like your perspective, but it makes me kind of sad. I just think of how much time has gone by. (I'm a glass half empty girl.) Thanks for the deep thiught. If we aren't intentional about it, it won't happen.

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    1. You're so right Sheila - so much time has slipped by, but I keep reminding myself that we're only half way there and if we make the second half fabulous and we are true to ourselves then it wasn't wasted - it was a process and we're now reaping the lessons and rewards. It makes us deeper and wiser :)

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  21. Neat article, I think changing and growing us just a part of life. I have thought about legacies, you even though I am not quite midlife for a decade or so, but then again, what age is exactly mid life? I'm not sure. My Mom is60 and doesn't feel midlife. When I think of a legacy to my family, the world, future generations, I think of wanting be able to impart knowledge, creativity, and a thirst for learning. I want to end life as the saying goes (this is not exactly right) with every ounce of my talenbt used up and screaming "What a Ride." Good luck with your legacy :)

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    1. You've hit the nail on the head Mandi - it's about finding all the parts of you that are "you" and living them to the full. Being a decade or so younger means you probably figured it out earlier than some of us - you have a headstart and I think we'd all love to shout "what a ride!" as we leave this world :)

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  22. I love that quotation from Angeles Arrien. I feel confident that my loved ones will accept me for who I am and that they will not abandon me for being myself. That confidence gives me freedom.

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  23. Thank you for linking up at The Blogger’s Pit Stop. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

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  24. Leanne, your post will be featured on the Blogger's Pit Stop. Thanks for sharing quality posts.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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