*Midlife: a time when we awaken to our soul’s deepest calling to live as authentically as possible. Usually happens around 40 (give or take some years on either end).
My own midlife awakening started happening in my late 30s. On a massage table, to be exact. I’m 43 now and it’s not over yet. You can read about the details of it here. http://yournovellife.com/index.php/my-story/.
What’s so special about the awakening that happens in midlife versus, let’s say, the one that happens as we step into adolescence and make grand declarations about who we are and what we want?
Well, for starters, we’re adults now. Far from the teen angst that pulsated through our veins and left us quivering in the corner with our deep insecurity and the need to be accepted. Wait, perhaps we aren’t that far from that fragile, blossoming person after all, you say? I know, I know, adulting is hard too.
All kidding aside, the difference has to do with life experience. As teenagers, we’re still growing and transforming from a child to an adult. Our life, up until that point, has been family, school, camp, siblings, and an ever expanding and important friend circle. But really, we’re in an in-between state, hovering between childhood and adulthood. And it is HARD.
But it is precisely because of this in-between state that we are being asked to awaken. We question everything (if you were anything like me!) and dream of the future and who we want to be. We take our distance from our families, we start to develop and express our own beliefs and values, sometimes in direct conflict with those closest to us. We get in trouble, make rash decisions and piss off and worry our parents. We are in a process of becoming independent and it’s a crucial time in the development of humans that this happen! It’s exciting, confusing and trying.
But at midlife, we’ve been adults for a while now and have already lived pretty full lives. We’ve been on this merry-go-round long enough to have really and truly gotten a taste for what it means to be ALIVE.
We’ve seen things. We’ve done things. We now know enough to know better, to do better.
We know that life can be beautiful, kind, and exciting, while still being deeply cruel, unjust and filled with hatred. We’ve experienced deep, passionate, dizzying love and then felt the comedown of it as it morphs into something quieter and more predictable (long term marriage/relationship anyone?). We’ve felt the sting of failure and the urge to bury our faces in the sand to avoid the pain and the shame. We’ve celebrated successes + promotions and felt proud of our accomplishments. We’ve had our confidence shaken, our hearts broken, and our minds blasted wide open. We’ve traveled to far off places and met fascinating people. We have university degrees, seen a ton of sunsets, and made people laugh till they cried. We’ve been to weddings, funerals, and enough parties to never have to go to another if we didn’t want to. We’ve made love, had one-night stands, and yes, we may have even broken some hearts along the way. Add in houses + bills + mortgages or rent + insurance payments + childcare, etc….we’ve got this adulting thing down! Most days, anyway. 😉
We’ve learned the lessons that life isn’t always fair and that those closest to us can hurt us the most. We’ve learned that heartbreak is real, and that death and losing loved ones is as much a part of life as anything else. We’ve learned to trust our gut and that our parents really were trying to do the best they could with what they knew. Because we’ve also learned that being a parent is really and truly the hardest job you’ll ever have and yet it’s also the most divine privilege to raise, love and honor another human life. We’ve watched our children grow, year after year, and we realize how FAST time really does go. And we understand how precious and fleeting this life is. Our lives are.
And yet… and this is where things get interesting…we also realize that we still have A LOT of living left to do (fingers crossed!). We’re only half-way! We see our parents enjoying their lives; still working, traveling, being active. But holy shit!
There is still so much more to DO! To BE! To SEE!
And so we find ourselves in transformation once again. We have entered into a new in-between state. A state where our cup is half-full with the lives we have already lived and also half-empty with the lives we have yet to experience.
And we start to ask questions. Is this the right relationship/career/home/lifestyle/diet (feel free to insert anything else that fits) for me? Do I want to take this with me into the next half?
Let’s be honest. Being at this unique crossroads is at once scary and exhilarating. It’s a moment when we are being asked to wake up to what remains. Wake up to what has come and gone. We take stock, we reassess, we think ahead. And this state of wakefulness (or, if you prefer, this wake-up call) often creates a deep, lustful hunger to live the remainder of our lives in a way that feels right. Whatever that means for you. We are being asked to deeply consider with what we want to fill the remainder of our cup. Do you know?
At midlife, our SOULS awaken to the call to live braver, more authentic, and meaningful lives.
We are called for MORE because we are no longer willing or able to settle for less. We know time is ticking. Our eyes are wide open, our hearts are wide open and we are hungry for something else. We are no longer the teenager who lives for herself and yet we do feel the same need to distance ourselves so we can find ourselves once again. This is normal. Only now, we are mothers, fathers, volunteers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, doctors, professors, artists, coaches, people doing things in the world, people with massive responsibilities for goodness sakes! Yes, our lives are our own, and yet they aren’t, because we are so tethered and entangled (in the best of ways) to the little humans we have created (talk about massive responsibility!).
There is a whisper. Can you hear it? It’s an invitation to ask yourself the questions that seek answers.
We reexamine our values, our needs, and our desires. We question our relationships, our purpose, and how we contribute to the world. Who am I now, in this midlife moment? As a woman? As a mother? Who am I?
Sometimes we are on the search for more excitement, passion, something new and refreshing because life has become a routine, complacent place to be. Other times, we want everything to stay the same because we’re scared of what change may bring. Sometimes, we know the life we have built thus far, is not the life we want to take with us into the future.
Midlife is often a time when marriages implode, families break apart, careers change, and, on top of all that, our bodies start to show signs of aging (WTF!). Weird foot pain anyone? Cracking knees and random hip pain sometimes? I feel your pain!
This time can be so confusing. So what do we do?
We fret, we stress, we long for something we can’t quite put our finger on. And it often leaves us with a void, with no idea how to fill it in a meaningful way. And so sometimes we do nothing except slowly accept that life is actually “OK” (like ho-hum OK, not really OK because we ‘re secretly really freaking envious of all those other people living fabulous lives).
Or we do something drastic and impulsive that ends up being hurtful to our loved ones and ourselves as well (affairs come to mind, quitting a job without warning, buying things you can’t afford, developing destructive habits, etc.).
Or, the third option is we settle in with the questions. We invite them in. We heed the call, slow down enough to listen and we figure it out.
The awakening of midlife is a call to listen deeply, slowly, intentionally. You can either heed the call and transform or you can turn away and suffer. I invite you to heed the call. Allow yourself to be provoked by your soul’s deepest desires.
Will it be easy? Probably not. Is any kind of transformation easy? Will it be worth it to engage in a dialogue with your deepest Truth and live your life from an authentic and aligned place?
I know you know. The answer is YES.
Midlife is a beautiful time to take stock of the glorious life you have already lived, so you can plan the rest of your time here on Earth with more intention, more purpose, more awakeness (is that even a word? I don’t care, I like it!). Step into your second-half feeling confident in who you are NOW (as this adult who has so much life inside her) and in what you want so you can create that right life you seek for the remainder of your days.
My deepest wish for you is to heed the call so you can meet your Truest self, meet who you are TODAY, standing there with your cup half-full and half-empty. You are being called to transform again. Sometimes this means big things will happen (like REALLLY big) and sometimes it means only little things will shift. Either way, I invite you to make sure that your second-half feels right. However you define that. You deserve it. You deserve to live your best, brightest, most meaningful and purposeful life.
If this post resonates with you and you think/know/wonder if you could use some support to get super clear on who you are TODAY and what you want for your future, I’ve created a deeply insightful, wholistic, and powerful coaching program to help you do just that. This will be an exclusive program with limited spaces. If you’d like to get on the interest list, send me an email today. I’ll also be sharing more about it in the coming weeks.