RENEWAL AND REFOCUSING IN MIDLIFE

Rather than Midlife being a time of panic and behaving reactively, it can be a time of renewal and refocusing on what is now important

INTRO

Last Thursday I shared a post from my lovely husband Ross where he asked "Are You Having A Midlife Crisis?" At the end of the post he said he'd be back with some healthy ways to handle this season of life - especially if you feel that there are questions and issues that Midlife has triggered.

So today he's looking at strategies we can use to deal with any crisis we may be facing.

CHANGES IN WHAT WE VALUE

A week ago we considered how, in a mid-life crisis, the things we hold as personally significant shift; the old activities, values, interests, and beliefs no longer qualify as meaningful or full of purpose. Rather than this being a time of panic and behaving reactively, it can be a time of renewal and refocusing on what is now important.

STRATEGIES

Here are a few strategies for doing that.

1. RESPECT THE FANTASIES AND THE DREAMS

When we retreat to fantasy land it’s a strong indicator it’s time to stop, take stock, and re-evaluate. What does the fantasy represent? Escaping to a tropical island, for instance, might represent freedom, release from the drudgery of a now meaningless job, or even an opportunity to live with less responsibility. So, realistically, how might you find a way to gain more freedom, create life rhythms with less drudgery, and examine current responsibilities to see if they are still appropriate.

Rather than Midlife being a time of panic and behaving reactively, it can be a time of renewal and refocusing on what is now important

2. CHANGE THE LANGUAGE

Reframe! Our attitude towards the event significantly predicts the outcome. We can feel “dragged” to the next life stage or “suddenly confronted with unexpected possibility.” You get to choose how you regard your time in the void.

3. SLOW DOWN, REASSESS

The tendency is to want to run away, hide, or engage in reckless behaviour. But what if you do the opposite: slow down and give space to reflection? Giving time to reviewing and examining long-held ideals can be invaluable in gaining insight and direction.

4. LEARN NEW SKILLS TO RE-AWAKEN PASSION

Haven’t you always wanted to learn another language, or take a drawing class, or walk the Camino Trail? Learning at this stage is focused on what we really want to know more about, rather than being told what we need to study.

Rather than Midlife being a time of panic and behaving reactively, it can be a time of renewal and refocusing on what is now important

5. CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVES OF BOTH STAYING THE SAME AND CHANGING

Usually, no one particularly likes change, and no one wants to change until the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of changing. What would the likely outcome be if you do nothing differently? And if you changed something, how would the outcome be different? Would that be better? Is it worth it?

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

If you’re finding yourself mired in mid-life and need someone to both support and challenge you, a counsellor could help, as could a mentor or a life coach. What will you do next?

You can see the In Brief article upon which this post was based HERE.




Rather than Midlife being a time of panic and behaving reactively, it can be a time of renewal and refocusing on what is now important

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26 comments

  1. Fantastic points Ross & Leanne, especially to assess how you're thinking/feeling and find an alternative way to diffuse or resolve that thought or feeling without being overly drastic or reactive in a way that you might later regret! :-) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I love that so much is within our power and our choices Min - all we have to do is start thinking laterally or positively and good things show up - so much better than the alternative.

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  2. I agree with Min - these are all excellent points, especially "slow down and reassess". There's much wisdom here.

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    1. I like the idea that something that seems silly (like living on a tropical island) can represent something smaller and easier to change - I certainly found that changing jobs was the best Midlife decision I ever made!

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  3. Really good points. the interesting thing is how often when we've spent our whole life saying something like 'I've always wanted to...' and we finally get the opportunity to act on that, our priorities have changed. Slow down and reassess can be some of the best advice you'll get.

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    1. The dream isn't always the reality is it Jo? Sometimes we've moved on and the dream seems a little childish in retrospect. Slowing down and really figuring out what is important to you now can make a huge difference.

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  4. This was full of really good tips Leanne. As I get older I think #4 is important to me, whether it's learning and improving my blogging or taking a course with my ladies group - it keeps my brain spinning around. I like the idea of a life coach too! Thanks to you both for sharing your wisdom and insights. I pinned this to my embracing midlife board :)

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    1. Hi Deb - thanks for the Pin and you're right, using your brain to learn new skills is so empowering. Each time I conquer HTML in my blog, or remember a few more Tai Chi moves, I feel like I'm not on the downhill run yet! Still cresting that hill!

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  5. This is some great advice. It's important to realize that we are always evolving and to honor that. It's what life is about! And it's even better if you can share it with your spouse.

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    1. That's so true Patti - if we approach Midlife with a positive mindset then it's all about evolving and moving forward - a crisis can wait til we're old!

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  6. Leanne & Ross, I appreciate the idea about thinking what my dreams really imply. And Jo's build of "I've always wanted to....". Maybe I just need to step back and reassess what those 2 things are telling me now! Thanks for the follow-up to mid-life crisis.

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    1. I think we can often be too literal - especially when we're questioning our life choices Pat. If we take a step back and thing laterally (something you're very good at!) then all sorts of alternatives might present themselves (although life on a tropical island still sounds pretty good to me!)

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  7. The best thing I've done since retiring is to start writing again. I loved writing when I was younger, but raising a family & working took all my energy for a long time. Having a creative outlet has made retirement a joy!

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    1. Hi Mary Jo! I found the same thing when I started blogging - it opened up my love of writing again and it surprises me how much joy I get out of a finished blog post (and the comments of course!)

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  8. So much wisdom here! I especially loved #1. Respect the fantasies and dreams. So often we're tempted to simply disregard as foolish or childish. They tell us SO much!

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    1. I agree Diane - I tend to fob things off a bit at times, but maybe stopping and actually evaluating why that fantasy appeals to us might give us a new direction and a new focus.

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  9. Great perspective here - sometimes un-ease does not require huge change but may be calling us to simply shift. Thanks for making me think....

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    1. You're right Janet - we are so keen to avoid situations where we feel a little out of kilter, but maybe those situations are the catalysts for forward movement and positive change!

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  10. I love the idea that this time of life is a time of reframing and reassessing. We are finding that we don't love things we used to do, and we are open to exploring new ideas. It is easy to get in a rut, but trying new things can help keep life interesting and exciting. We don't want to turn into boring old people!

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    1. Exactly Michele - and it's been so true for me. There are lots of areas of my life where I'm discarding things I've always done or always felt obliged to do, and actually taking the time to invest in what interests me and that is such a joy - we'll never be old or boring!

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  11. The new skills one (and stepping out of comfort zone thing) is a big one for me. I love challenging myself in this regard. In fact, just signed up for something new today! Watch this space :) #teamlovinlife

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    1. Leanne you have been such an inspiration for women in their 50's who don't give up when they hit a hurdle - I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with your Cheer Chick!

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  12. Hi Ross and Leanne, thanks for such inspiring words and it is never too late to re-assess and refocus our life. Your tips are sensible and I particularly liked #5 looking at the alternatives of staying the same or changing. I've been 'life coaching' a friend over the last month and we have both grown so much. She is happy to be achieving her goals and having a weekly check in with me and I'm becoming more creative in my thinking and approach in ways for her to achiever her goals. I might have missed my calling. :)

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    1. Sue, you'd be a great life coach - I hope your friend appreciates how lucky she is to have you giving her some tips on moving forward and making the most of Midlife - it'd be such a shame to waste this next decade or two wouldn't it?

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  13. Your tips make a lot of sense. I especially like the reassess and refocus sometimes it is the smallest things that make the biggest difference.

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    1. I loved that too Victoria - it's never too late to change direction a little and see what else life has to offer - and the small things in life can often be the best!

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