OPINION – As I move toward 60 (yes that is right 60 in less than two years) 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 60 I have some new philosophies I want to share about transitioning to mid-life; from a wellness and spiritual perspective.
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”. Warning … self-selecting out or withdrawing from friends and activities is the worst thing you can do as you transition to midlife. Fight that feeling to be alone,; to not engage with others. 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 to being unhealthy emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is a necessity for you to get out and be around friends and family.
Watch The Hand To Mouth Boy have I learned about this. 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, even depression. Make an effort to find out what the triggers are by circumventing them. If I’m bored instead of reaching for a chip (which I no longer buy) I drink a glass of water flavored with lemon. 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. The first step is to recognize it and realize you can do something about it. There are support groups that deal with emotional eating and therapist who can help you get past this behavior.
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.
Invigorate Your Love Life – Whether you are married, in a long term relationship or single and looking. Mid-life is not the time to stop having a love life. Yes the hormones kick in (for men and women) but the need for companionship and affection are still there and should be nurtured. Keep doing or start doing date nights, accept that 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 that gives you that wonderful feeling of being loved and appreciated.
Re-energize and Renew Your Purpose – It truly is okay to decide to do something different, something new that excites you and give 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 sacrifice, I love what I do and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Allow yourself to explore what you really want. Allow yourself to dare to dream and then come up with a plan to pursue your dreams. 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.
Share Something Old, Something Borrowed, Something 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.
Learn To Love You All Over Again – I learned after 55 to love myself in a more complete way. I learned it was okay to take more time for me and that it was okay to take away time from activities that no longer serve me. Go on a self-discovery mission. Find out what brings you pleasure, makes you happy, give you joy…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. It is necessary and an integral part of your wellness.
Take Your Daily Vitamin “G” – Just this past year I learned 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 and always thanking God for just waking up. Look for opportunities to be grateful and celebrate 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.
Spend Time With You – 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, your 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!
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 that 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 present really brings me a sense of joy and peace. Staying present has truly helped me to really show up in my life.
And here is one more for you…
Embrace Change – 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.