People may call what happens at midlife as ‘a crisis’, but it’s not. It’s an unraveling, a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live – not the one you’re ‘supposed’ to live.” – Brene Brown
The time is now, that’s why you’re reading this. And yet you may still be waiting to live that life. Waiting for tomorrow, next week, next year; for your older children to leave home, for that next annual bonus, for the courage to leave your job entirely, for the mortgage to be paid off.
Thoughts of ‘it’s too late’ may be creeping in. You might feel like the time has passed. You’re too old. There’s too much to lose. You should’ve done it way back. But none of it is true – the time is now.
So, what is the life you want to live?
Perhaps you know that you want to make big changes; leave the job, start the business, retrain, move to the place you’ve always wanted to live, take the big trip. Maybe there are subtler adjustments too; more time for your hobby, holidays, reading, time with friends.
And then there are the teeny tiny things – the ‘tiny happinesses’ that truly make the difference to the day-to-day fabric of your life; the cups of tea, the walks in nature, more laughter, fresh flowers, afternoon baths.
Undoubtedly, you know you want to feel calmer, lighter, less busy, more fulfilled and with more time to enjoy the above. And I’m certain you want to experience more joy, have greater clarity and drop even deeper in to yourself and life’s experiences.
I say, it’s time to claim this life that you want to live – and there’s never been a better time for it than now. Read on for my five top tips on living better…
Find your tribe
You’ve heard it before, but having the right people around you is so critically important. The right tribe will meet your unique needs, and will nourish the many versions of you. Among my tribe are a group of fellow coaches: they champion my every move and listen unwaveringly to my fears; old friends who will laugh with me, feed me wine and call me out when I drop in to ego and men who simultaneously nurture me and embrace my fiery masculine energy. Cherish who you already have and go find the rest; they’re waiting for you.
Be greedy with your teachers
Whoever they may be. I have many teachers, literal and virtual: spiritual gurus, my coaches, the children in my life, family, dear friends and I’m greedy with them all. I love to know ‘how do they experience the world?’ ‘What matters to them?’ ‘What wisdom do they have to share?’ Never stop asking or seeking – you’re never too old to learn from somebody else.
I mean broadly in the literal sense – genre, historical period, style, and so on. More specifically, I mean read books written by people not like you. By reading more broadly, you’ll become closer to your passions, connecting with what really matters to and forming a sense of the legacy you want to leave. If reading isn’t your thing, watch different news channels, mix up your social media feed, go to new places, talk to new people, ask lots of questions.
Get alone time
Children, family, friends, jobs, responsibilities… they all rob us of the gift of being alone. We are wired to fill any space we have and as a consequence we are often overloaded, or at least full-up. So please take some time, or at least experiment with taking some time to yourself. This might mean an afternoon once or twice a month for you, it could be an hour a week to walk the dog, or as simple as taking a long bath instead of a quick shower. This is such a critical practice and many of us, particularly women, feel immense guilt at the mere thought of it. We have lost sight of the fact that time and space are the most important gifts we can give ourselves and ironically doing so enables us to be there more fully for others.
Deep in my soul I’m a yes person – that used to mean I’d say yes to pretty much anything – to invitations, to requests for help, to work I didn’t want to do. I’m still a yes person – but now I say yes to me and yes to life, and that now means I say no a lot too. I say no to people I don’t want to spend time with, no if the timing isn’t right, no to anything that depletes my energy, and absolutely no to anything that doesn’t make me feel whole. Your time for living from obligation is long gone – instead it’s time to meet your own needs.