Mortgage. Work. Kids. Chores. Ever feel like you’re just surviving your midlife instead of living the life you’d dreamed of?
Lots of articles about midlife talk about how to survive… an affair, the latest health issue, the financial squeeze. But where are all the support systems and motivation to actually thrive? To get out there and do something, to feel accomplished, to have direction and purpose? To live and not simply exist?
In my 20s I always thought I’d have it all sorted by the time I was in my midlife. After all, we’re supposed to be more comfortable with ourselves and not care what others think about us anymore. And these things are true for me which is great, except it led to a bit of a stale routine. Midlife is the second half of my life, it’s not the end. There are plenty more years left to fill with joy, as my ever-increasing retirement age keeps reminding me!
So how do we get to that place of thriving? What does thriving look like? Do I even have the energy to do this?!
We’re all different so the answers to these questions will vary for each of us. And yes we do have the energy to do this, to shake life up a little. If we are energy-less it’s a sure sign that our current life isn’t working for us right now.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple change in life to bring that smile and happiness back, for others it will be a total cleanse across a range of life areas. If we think about the magnitude of this change it might become overwhelming so I always recommend starting small. If I asked you what one thing you could do differently today to add a smile, feel grateful, feel more confident or energetic, what would it be?
I know the power of a new bright lipstick can give me more joy than a session at the gym sometimes. Other times I need to build up to a regular stretching routine to ease the painful hips I have from sitting too long at my desk and in the car! Having less-painful hips certainly helps me to thrive and push my life forwards.
Can you do this one small thing for yourself? Can you ask yourself the same question? What one thing can I do today that is different, something that will bring me joy?
Imagine if you started asking yourself this today, in a month’s time you will already have done 31 different things. We all know that small things become big things if we keep adding to them. And this is how we build our thriving lives, taking small steps every day which become habits which in turn become our new life.
After three months you’ll have a range of new things you can draw on to keep switching up your life. Once you feel better in yourself, your motivation to achieve those big things becomes easier and more reachable.
Imagine if your ‘big thing’ was to play tennis. If you started out by going for a walk today and then increasing speed and distance over a few weeks you’d feel fitter. It might encourage you to go out and buy more supportive trainers and maybe a bat and ball. You can practise against the side of the house for a few more weeks. Then you’ll feel like you can book a tennis court for an hour and see how you get on.
Sounds much better and more likely to be achieved than booking a tennis court today and feeling absolutely exhausted or totally frustrated at lack of talent so that you never go back.