A stage of life that conjures up various images and stereotypes: The man that buys a red sports car. The woman who is dressing way too young and ‘cougaring’(going for younger men) around town. Both seeming attempts at recapturing or holding on to their youth.
It’s a time of life where external beauty is beginning to fade for some and where younger people are often chosen to fill vacancies at companies instead of the more experienced middle aged person.
What’s a person to do? How does one age gracefully? At this point it’s easy to slip into resignation and coast into the golden years. Or it can be a time of reinventing ourselves and pursuing passions that have been pushed aside at busier times of life…perhaps even using them as a means of income as we develop them.
Two individuals come to mind immediately when I think of the latter.
One is my younger brother who had a heart attack a couple of years ago. Soon after that he quit his job in kitchen design and started pursuing his passion for photography. He still has a day job as well, one that is less stressful than the one he held previously, but he is beginning to make a name for himself in doing what he loves. Aside from having his works displayed at a local gallery and selling online, he’s been commissioned for several larger projects for local professional offices. And so it grows…
Another person that I know left her law practice a number of years ago and opened up a dog kennel on her property. It is not without it’s challenges but she’s happy about her choice and enjoys working from home.
I was perusing my library the other day looking for a book for a client when I came upon one that I’d been given awhile ago but had never read. What We’ve Learned So Far: Thoughts on Turning 50 is a compilation of writings by today’s Christian women leaders.
I turned to a chapter called “Pursuing Authentic Dreams” by author/speaker Brenda Poinsett. She suggests putting your dreams for the future into writing. Put what’s in your head onto paper. Several statements may help you flush it out if you have trouble getting started:
~In my 50’s or 60’s I want to be….or I want to do…
~By the time I’m 75, I will have wanted to…
~In my mind I see myself as a person who is…and who will…
~Over the next 20 years I want to commit myself to…
If your vision is God given it will allow you to be true to yourself and it will build relationships with those around you. Define it, refine it, let it bring out your creativity, your uniqueness, your gifts and abilities. There will most probably be some challenges along the way and the usual opposition from some but will be well worth it as you discover meaning and fulfillment at this wonderful stage of life.
I have to confess, I've had times of leaning towards coasting but I have a renewed excitement. I'm going to spend some time contemplating the statements above and go for it!!
How about you? What's your story? How are you choosing to look at mid life?