Contributed by our friend Sheree Clark, host of It’s YOUR Time
Have you ever looked at old photos of yourself and wonder where your life—where you—went?
As women we seem to spend most of our lives in a caregiving role. We take care of spouses, kids, employers, employees, customers, friends, our businesses…and often, even our parents.
It’s a huge juggling act to balance all the competing priorities. To constantly feel as though we’re leaving one thing early to get to another thing late. To always be running on empty.
What would it feel like to put that energy toward yourself? To focus on taking care of you?
Can midlife actually mean a new life?
Midlife is a time of unique challenges. (Believe me, I’ve been there!) If you feel like you’re hopelessly stuck in a midlife rut … searching for a fresh start … I want you to hear me: This is not all there is. In fact, I believe that the midlife “crisis” is actually a midlife awakening.
It can be different.
It does get better.
It is YOUR time to shine.
Let’s just imagine it is actually possible…
So, how can you be the best possible version of yourself in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond? What would it feel like to be strong and healthy and not constantly obsessed about whether or not you should eat carbs or if your drinking has gotten out of hand? What would it feel like to actually have work—or a relationship—that you were passionate about? Or if you could find the time to connect to your own creativity, maybe to write or paint or dance?
Take the First Step: Get Unstuck
Most of us have some area in life where we feel a little “stuck.” Maybe you:
— Need help finding what you really want to do…and support so you have the courage to actually do it
— Want better health, sounder sleep, more vitality…the energy to sail through your day
— Simply feel like you’ve taken care of everyone else for too damn long and now it’s YOUR turn
Have you ever heard the expression: “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got?” It’s true. And next week, next month, two years from now it’ll still be true. The truth is, unless you take some focused action, you’ll simply be older.
Like nearly everything else—making a shift in your life starts with a vision. It begins with you knowing, and then believing in, and then manifesting what you want for your next chapter in life.
So how do you do that?
You slow down, if just for a moment.
You get focused (yes, it’s possible).
You reconnect to the childlike you. The little girl who hasn’t yet been told that she’s not smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough to ask for—and get—what she wants for herself. What she dreams of having in her life.
Because somewhere in there, buried under all the shoulds and oughtas and “but I promiseds,” is a clear-eyed sense of what fits for you. Of what you are—or could be—good at. Of what you were once good at. Of the things that you did and loved before you got married, or pregnant or were promoted, or were diagnosed, or before your parents needed your help.
How do I know so much?
Because I have been there myself. I’ve had my own midlife awakening.
Why I cried at church
Like many people, I’ve had changes I wanted to make in my life for years before I summoned up the courage to take a leap. One defining moment for me came on a Sunday at church when I actually cried—not because the sermon was so moving—but because I knew that in less than 24 hours I had to “go back to work.”
Now, lots of people have the Sunday Night Blues when they think about going to a job they’ve grown to dislike.
The trouble was, I owned the company.
You see, for 25 years I had co-owned an advertising agency. Initially, my business partner was also my life partner (when we ended our personal relationship we decided to retain the professional aspect). In our time together, we built a successful business from nothing, received over 1,000 awards and employed scores of talented people. We survived two relocations, a major flood, 9/11 and even an IRS audit.
Our decision to close was not made easily or lightly. But the time had come, and we each wanted to do other things with our lives. Especially me. I had found that my real passion was in the healthy lifestyle arena—and the fast-paced, cutthroat advertising business was about as far from that as you could get. For what felt like an eternity, I felt like a total fraud. So after that Sunday at church…
I told my partner I wanted out—and there was no turning back.
And now? My work and home lives feel “integrated.” I don’t dread Mondays. I have more energy at age 60 than I did when I was 40 and self-medicating to get through each stressful week. I am out of my cycle of feel bad, eat bad, feel worse…it’s a though I’ve had an honest-to-goodness midlife awakening. And I can honestly say I have never been happier.
So, what about you?
Before you were a spouse, parent, colleague, boss, caretaker…you had a grand vision for your life. And it’s a pretty safe bet that over the years you’ve made compromises that may have long ago clouded that dewy-eyed ideal. What if you made a trip to revisit your earlier dreams and see if there are any worth resurrecting? If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.
And I can help you with the first step.
I want to invite you to attend my free interview series It’s Your Time: Turning the Midlife Crisis into Your Midlife Awakening. I’ve hand-picked authors and experts I admire and I asked them tough and sometimes personal questions. (This event is like having your own, personal appointment with 30 midlife specialists—professionals you’d have to pay to see in their private practice—at absolutely no cost.)