As 2018 draws to a close, join me in celebrating the first full year of Jubilant Age. The purpose of this blog is to share my research on how to live your best midlife. This post will highlight some of the most popular articles from the past year. All of them deal with midlife transition: physical, emotional, spiritual, family, career.
Midlife can be a time where you experience gains as well as losses. Losses can in fact clear a way for you to find new pursuits, take a new direction for your life. Here are four posts about midlife transitions.
Midlife transitions: losses and gains
I knew I’d reached midlife when I switched to using waterproof mascara, if I used any at all. Bottom line: life was uncertain. Its pace was accelerating: multiple final proms, graduations, senior nights on my kids’ sports teams. Fixing dinner for children’s high school friends one last time. Dropping off a new college freshman at his or her dorm. I never knew when something might cause me to tear up. And I got tired of dark smudges under my eyes.
Midlife transitions usually involve a confluence of external changes, like your kids leaving home, and internal changes, like menopause. As a result, the tides of emotional and physical turmoil can feel overwhelming. But new adventures lie just beyond the waves.
How to weather midlife transitions
There’s a famous saying that’s attributed at times to Robert Frost, and at times to the Buddha. “The best way out is through.” No matter the source, the quote says you can’t avoid tough situations. You just have to muddle through them.
As our elders attest, life dishes out stuff you never expected. Stuff you couldn’t have prepared for, even if you’d had advance notice. For example, do you know anyone who felt fully competent to handle every parenting situation she ever encountered?
Sometimes all you can do is to try your best. At midlife, many of us encounter things we hadn’t planned for: divorce, job loss, parents who need our help. You hunt down resources to help. Advice from friends, books, blogs. But day to day, you’re navigating without a GPS.
The remarkable thing is this: by struggling through the transition, you’ll eventually emerge on the other side. You’ll be wiser from the what the experience taught you. Stronger from your encounter with life’s fragility.
Using design principles to navigate your midlife transition
Sometimes the change you face in midlife comes from inside you. After years of full time motherhood, or years of fitting your career around family demands, you find yourself with a little more flexibility. You think that a new pursuit could invigorate you, give you a new sense of purpose.
But how to figure out what you want to do?
Think like a designer. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans of Stanford d.school show you how to apply design thinking to the process of figuring out what you want to do with your life. Their ideas, piloted with undergraduates, are just as relevant to older people.
Designing Your Life* leads you through exercises to help you think about what you want to do next. It emphasizes the importance of thinking about the different dimensions of your life: career, family, personal goals.
My favorite aspect of the book is its section on prototyping. Applying the concept of building prototype products to hone a design, the authors talk about how to develop prototype interviews and experiences you can use to find the right spot for you.
20 ideas to jumpstart your midlife transition
Whether you’re prototyping a new job, or simply looking to add something different to your life, there are lots of options. To get your creative juices flowing, check out this list of 20 suggestions for doing something new at midlife.
You’re in charge
Even if you’re not one to make New Year’s resolutions, the new year offers a chance to wipe the slate clean, to start something fresh. Reviewing these posts will help you take stock of where you are at midlife, and where you might want to go from here.
You’re the only person who can figure out how to get the most out of your life. Enjoy the journey!
Images via: Shutterstock, AHR
Join my journey through midlife
Subscribe to Jubilant Age and download a free guide to protecting your loved one's money!