When you decide to change course in your life, or your business, you almost always end up in between two spaces:
The place you’ve been, and the place you’re moving to.
In my experience, and this has been echoed by nearly everyone I’ve spoken to about the midlife shift, we often tire of where we’ve been before we know where we want to go. In our heart, we know it’s time for a change, but we may not yet know what we want to change to.
As a result, we find ourselves in the space between.
The space between where we were and where we’re going.
That space can be uncomfortable.
It can feel as though we’re stuck in the middle.
Especially if we’ve always had a clear life path.
If you’ve been on a path that’s been pre-determined, as many of us are during the first half of our lives, your life is actually quite predictable. I wrote about this is my post about The Predetermined Path. In the first half of life, most of us follow a similar path: we go to school, get a job, embark on a serious relationship, get married, have kids, pursue a career, and work our way up the career ladder until retirement. It’s what’s expected, and most of us fall right in line.
When we wake up in midlife and realize this is no longer working for us, that we want something more, it can throw a wrench into this predetermined path. Especially if we aren’t yet ready or able to retire.
While it can be inspiring to feel a sudden pull toward more meaning and fulfillment than the status quo provides, it can also be scary to not know where that pull is leading you.
Internal vs. External Change.
To be in a space where we are experiencing great internal change, and that change has yet to manifest itself externally, can be unsettling.
It’s just not comfortable for most people to be on a journey and have no idea where they’re heading.
However, during this time of midlife change, it is possible to accept the discomfort and ultimately learn to embrace the uncertainty.
Learning to plan less and be open to whatever shows up has changed my life in more ways than I can count. While extremely uncomfortable for me at first, it now enables me to live with more peace than I’ve ever experienced.
Learning to Trust.
But it required me to learn to trust that which I cannot yet see.
I’ve had to learn to have faith in what I don’t yet know. I’ve had to let go of thinking I always know what’s best. I’ve had to let go of control. I’ve had to let go of expectations. Heck, I’ve had to let go of the way I lived the first 50 years of my life!
But learning to release those ways of living and thinking has been a gift.
It has ushered in a life I never could have imagined, much less planned. I also believe it’s brought me closer to doing the real work I’m on this planet to do.
It’s true there’s no roadmap to follow.
But I also wouldn’t say I’m making it up as I go.
Rather, I feel as if though I’m following a path that is being laid out before me.
When I’m able to get up every day and do what shows up, my life flows. My business works better. I attract better clients. I enjoy my work more. I serve people more authentically. My life is more balanced. I’m happier. And things just seem to work out.
I don’t know if it’s the hand of God, the Universe working in my favor, destiny, or if it’s just that I’m finally tuning into what my heart wants instead of what my head thinks.
And, I don’t believe it’s important to label it.
Those labels will surely turn some people off, especially if they don’t believe in God, the laws of the Universe, or destiny.
And that’s not the point. It’s not about perpetuating some dogma. It’s about living your life in a personally fulfilling way.
Regardless of your beliefs, or what you choose to call it, it’s about being true to yourself vs. living a life that society has told you you’re supposed to live.
I began navigating the space between back in 2011 when I wrote my book, Breaking The Spell. And in many ways, I’m still stuck in the middle. I’m straddling a business I still feel some passion for but that I know isn’t the end-all-be-all for me, and a pull toward something new that is still revealing itself. This blog is a step in that journey, but quite honestly I don’t know exactly where it’s leading. I also don’t know precisely what my next book will be about. It’s all still a work in progress.
So I continue to do what I suggest you do if you find yourself in this space between.
Keep paying attention to what shows up and following what feels right.
And, do what you need to do in the meantime.
That may mean continuing in a business or job you’re not sure about but that you need to support yourself and your family.
I can promise when you do what you need to do, but remain open to something else, you will receive ideas, signs and direction, maybe as often as daily. In fact, in my experience, the more open and tuned in you are, the more frequently you’ll notice these signs.
Your job is to pay attention, stop living on autopilot, and instead be present in your life every single day.
It won’t always be easy.
It won’t always be comfortable.
You’ll probably find yourself falling back into old patterns.
It may take longer than you want or have patience for.
For all those reasons, the sooner you can let go and trust, the more you will enjoy the ride.
Just do your best to start each day with the intention of being open to whatever presents itself, and following through on what feels right and true for you.
At some point you will arrive at that new place, and the uncomfortable space between will become a distant memory. And you’ll be glad you weathered through it to get to the other side.