Midlife is a time of reflection and Re-Evaluation.
I don’t know what it is about reaching midlife that causes us to become reflective and seek more meaning in our lives. Perhaps it’s because we’re past the pursuit stage of life. We’ve achieved success in our career, or at least accepted we’ve probably gone about as far as we’re going to go. Or, as was my case, we begin to lose motivation for our work.
Or, maybe it’s because we’re not so busy racing through life, trying to balance so many things. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day when you’re in the building stages of life. Building a career. Raising kids. Making a home. It often feels like you’re just trying to keep up. Once the kids are grown and we hit our stride, life seems to ease up a bit. Now that we have a little more free time, and fewer people to take care of, we finally have some time for ourselves again. And perhaps it’s that available time that prompts us to step back and re-evaluate what we’re doing and whether or not it’s fulfilling.
Meaning can be found in a variety of ways.
I have found it teaching, writing, and doing pet therapy work. All of these pursuits provide me with a feeling of giving back and sharing. They’re about more than just making a living. They make me feel good, and they contribute to others.
I have friends who have become hospice volunteers, “daycare” grandparents, and professional photographers after being hobbyists their entire life. I believe we all find meaning in different ways and via different avenues. The common thread is all of these pursuits seem to involve a giving of oneself more than a traditional job or career. Whether the work is voluntary or you get paid to do it, it just feels different. It fills something inside a job doesn’t. And, it almost always benefits others.
If you’ve hit midlife and you find yourself asking, “is this all there is?” the answer is “no!”
Odds are you’re looking for something to add to your life, that will provide your life with more meaning. I encourage you to dedicate the effort to finding it. Consider what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about, or something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time. And give it a try.
It will add a wonderful new dimension to your life.
I spend my days so differently now than even just a few years ago. It’s only because I listened to that calling inside that said there was something else for me to do. I started paying attention to what I enjoyed most and what was showing up in my life, and that’s what led me to teaching, writing, and pet therapy work. I simply followed the clues as they showed up, and did my part. Yes, it required some work to make it all happen. But it was time well invested.