[pullquote]”Thriving in mid-life is not only possible, it is what’s probable..if you allow it” Lynnis of PraiseWorks[/pullquote]
As I move towards 60 I find that my frame of reference has changed. I remember thinking how things were going to get better after 50. I remember thinking how I was going to take the world by storm at 55. I also remember how shocked I was that life was still somewhat chaotic, full of surprises and well just plain unpredictable. Given that, as I get closer to 60 I have some new philosophies I want to share about transitioning to mid-life; from a wellness and spiritual perspective.
1. Be Careful Not To “Self-Select” Out
It is so easy for one to decide “well I am older, I don’t do the things I used to, I really don’t want to be around a lot of people”. Self-selecting out or withdrawing from friends and activities is the worst thing you can do as you transition to mid-life. Fight that feeling to be alone and make it a priority to get out with your friends, to place that phone call, to get out and meet new people. Isolation is the first step towards being unhealthy – emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is a necessity for you to get out and be around friends and family.
2. Watch The Hand To Mouth
I am basically an emotional eater. I will eat until it is all gone and then go and eat some more. Lucky for me, my metabolism hasn’t slowed a great deal but, I definitely picked up unwanted pounds from eating when I wasn’t hungry. If you find yourself eating when you are not hungry, learn what the triggers are that leads to your emotional eating. Some triggers could involve loneliness, disappointment, boredom and even depression. Make an effort to find out what the triggers are by circumventing them. If I find myself getting lonely or depressed I go for a long walk, or call a friend and go to a movie. There are many things we can do to combat emotional eating such as:
- to recognize it and realize you can do something about it.
- getting in touch with support groups that deal with emotional eating.
- consulting a therapist who can help you get past this behavior.
3. Stop The Constant Self-Questioning
I have always been borderline confident. It is not unusual for me to have a long conversation with myself when making any decisions. But, since I have gone through the 50 and beyond phase of my life I found myself questioning everything too much. It is important to remind yourself of all the wisdom you have accumulated through the years. You have had careers, in many cases raised children, had successful relationships, etc. You must learn to appreciate who you are right now in the present time with the knowledge that you’re a work in progress and that’s a great thing.
4. Invigorate Your Love Life
Whether you are married, in a long-term relationship or single; mid-life is not the time to stop having a love life. Yes, the hormones kick in (for both men and women) but, the need for companionship and affection are still there and should be nurtured. Follow these simple steps to enliven your love life:
- keep doing or start doing date nights, accept the invitation from that person who has shown a romantic interest in you. Allow yourself to still feel the joy that love brings.
- rediscover your spouse as a friend and lover. Spend time each week, even if it is just a few hours with some one who ignites a flame in you which gives you that wonderful feeling of being loved and appreciated.
5. Re-energize and Renew Your Purpose
It is truly okay to decide to do something different, something new that excites you and gives you purpose. Whether it is a hobby, new project or even a new career, contrary to what society says, it is never too late to pursue your passions and dreams. I started my business at the age of 51. While it has involved great sacrifices, I love what I do and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Allow yourself:
- to explore what you really want.
- to dare to dream and then come up with a plan to pursue your dreams.
- to get excited about being at a point in life when you really can decide to make a change that will give you a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
6. Share Something Old, Borrowed And Blue
No I am not talking about marriage but more specifically about the sum total of our life. Some of us over 50 might feel like we are old and are approaching the end of our life. On the same token we have all wished that we could borrow youth one more time. Still and yet, we have all gone through the “blues” as we begin to assess what time we may or may not have left. Go ahead and accept/share these feelings. Aging is inevitable, but decline is not. By sharing and speaking to friends and/or a therapist, you can relieve those fears and frustrations.
7. Learn To Love You All Over Again
I learned after 55 to love myself in a more complete way, to take out more time for myself and to take away time from activities that no longer serve me. Go on a self-discovery mission. Find out what brings you pleasure and then do those things. Explore those parts of yourself that you have put on the back burner for years. Now is the time to explore ways to love and take care of you in a way you never have before. It is not selfish to take time for you but, necessary and an integral part of your wellness.
8. Take Your Daily Vitamin “G”
Just this past year I learnt the importance of gratitude. I have never realized how powerful it is to be grateful for all that God does for us on a daily basis. Start your day:
- in a positive way, always thanking God for just waking up.
- looking for opportunities to be grateful.
- celebrating every breakthrough and inspiration.
Keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily. You will be surprised how living in gratitude daily will change your life and increase your joy.
9. Spend Time With Yourself
It might sound cliche but, I have really learned to enjoy time with me. Now I am not talking about “self-selecting out” and becoming a hermit. I am talking about those times that you can spend in silence listening to the messages that God sends you. Each morning, I start my day in prayer and meditation. It’s important to take that special time to commune with yourself, your thoughts, feelings and your God. During your quiet time you will receive answers to challenges, solutions to problems and many “ah-ha” moments. Take time to be with you. You will love your company.
10. Prefer The Present
We have plenty to think about that falls in the category of past events and still lots to think about when it comes to the future. But, what about the present? How much time do you take to ponder the present? Release the past (you can’t change it) and release worrying about the future (you can’t predict it). Remind yourself during, the course of your day ,to enjoy what is going on with you right then and there. There is something about really living in the here and now which is refreshing.
When you are present you are more focused on your surroundings, the conversation you are having or in this case what it is you are reading. I am not saying be irresponsible and not plan or review your past. Just try reducing the amount of time you spend rehashing what happened and fearing what may lie ahead. I have learned that staying in present really brings me a sense of joy and peace and has truly helped me to really show up in my life. And here is one more for you:
I have found that during this time of my life I finally learned how to EMBRACE change. Allow your transition to and through mid-life to be a time of creative change. Although, it may be painful at first, it can be your greatest opportunity for having the life you want and gaining a sense of joy and peace.