Today turning 50 no longer means the end of the road.
Many of us now entering midlife come from an era in which midlife was seen as a time to slow down and move into the shadows, to make way for the next generation. This made sense in the early 1900’s when a woman’ life expectancy was 50 years. Women arriving at the end of their childbearing years really did not have much more to look forward to.
But that model no longer applies. As of 2017 a Canadian woman’s life expectancy has been 80+ years. That means that a woman now has over 30 years to live after her child bearing years. That is much too much time to hide in the shadows.
Society has no milestones in place for life after 50, nothing to aim for
Prior to 50 society gives us a number of milestones to get past: grow up, go to school, get a job, find a partner, have a family, retire.
These days women arrive at the retirement age with 30+ years of life to look forward to and many are left asking “what’s next”. But society has no milestones for life after 50.
This can be problematic for a woman whose self-worth is determined by the work she does and/or the roles she plays in her adult life.
Midlife is a time of transition.
Most of us start contemplating the end of our working life. If we have children, we become empty nesters. Many relationships change. We start experiencing the loss of family and friends.
In my work with midlife women, the most common struggle I come across is “I need to find purpose now that (I am set to retire; the kids have left home; my relationship is over…) and I don’t know where to start”.
A midlife crisis occurs when we look “out there” for something to fill that void.
When you look to society and ask “what now” there will always be someone willing to sell you a prepackaged lifestyle that, they claim, will be the perfect fit for you, as if we are all the same and a cookie cutter, one size fits all solution will be the key to meaning and fulfillment.
But none of those solutions are more than a temporary distraction and so the search is never ending, the void is never filled, and you experience a crisis, a time of endless wandering.
Life after 50 can be a time of possibilities, purpose and fulfillment
If you change your mindset about life after 50, it can become a time of possibilities. This can only happen if you accept that the only person who can know what a life of purpose and fulfillment can look like for YOU is YOU.
If you want to live a life of purpose and fulfillment, you need to take responsibility for how you live our life. It may feel scary – I get that.
In 2013 an opportunity to retire unexpectedly presented itself to me. I had been in law enforcement since 1994. My work was my identity and I could not imagine a different live.
That changed when I was given 2 gifts.
The first was the gift of understanding that:
if things were going to change in my life, it was up to me to make those changes
only I could clarify what was important enough to me to warrant focusing all my resources on
doing it on my own was not practical
The second gift was the support and encouragement I received as I made the transition into a life of purpose and fulfillment.
Look within to find your purpose
Once you take responsibility for your own life, and once you are willing to look within to find what is important to you, clarifying your purpose is a simple process.
If moving through midlife is something you struggle with, let's chat. I offer complimentary 15 minute consultations. At the end of our time together you will have clarity around what the possibilities are for life moving forward and what your next step is.
To find out more, click HERE.