In my previous blog post we went though what a midlife crisis is – most people I have spoken to deny they are in the middle of one – the words midlife and crisis seem to leave a nasty taste in the mouth – but that needn’t be the case.
In this post I’ll be covering ways to defeat the puzzle of midlife (maybe we’ll just avoid the word CRISIS entirely).
and it’s one long-arsed post – so get comfortable.
As you may have already read my story of demolishing my midlife blues you may already know what I went through.
But the secret wasn’t recognising what I was going through, neither was it selling my stuff and becoming a minimalist sort of person with very few clothes or belongings, no furniture or other burdens that would tie me down (except my car).
The secret was getting rid of my PERSONAL stuff! by that I don’t mean my bed (although that was a heart wrenching decision – it represented a dedication to sleeping comfort that was going to carry me through to my ‘old age’ – what was going to happen then I hadn’t thought through at all – maybe I would be sleeping on a woven bamboo mat by then or a park bench..) or nicnacs that had sentimental value – or even the gifts my kids had given me over the years..
My personal stuff is simply…me – who I had become
Who I had made myself into, who I had formed myself into according to my life experiences that only I have had and decoded them as only I could have done.
These parts of me had become inseparable from my daily activities and thought processes, they had become a part and parcel of my reactions, subliminal thoughts that defined the way I reacted to and ran my internal dialogue.
This was not always to my advantage or fair to others around me. Repeating old patterns and reloading my gun ‘so to speak’ was causing situations that didn’t serve me well.
The transition process from moving from a state of deep, unrelenting unhappiness with the occasional false smile and rally of bitter laughter to feeling confident, fulfilled and simply happy and free is a slow one – but can happen quickly as well.
It depends on you, on how you open you options up and believe in the things of dreams and hopes to make them real.
So – here’s my definitive HOW TO guide on Crushing your midlife disharmony (see still managing to not use the C word – just to clarify that, I mean crisis).
Step 1: STOP EVERYTHING!! Sit somewhere comfortable (or stand if you like), don’t try to think nice thoughts, don’t eat, don’t even breathe…this is so far-reaching it’s worth just stopping even if it’s only for a minute.
Watch your thoughts REALLY closely and observe where your attention lies.
I can almost guarantee they aren’t nice thoughts like “man I’m having an awesome day!”, or “I’m just so happy right now – it seems impossible to feel this good”. But these are thoughts you can have once you break your own personal code and find your true place as the person you are deep inside.
I bet they are judgement calls like “this woman is crazy, what does she know” or “seriously? how can this help, I’m wasting my time” and that’s fair enough, but give me some more time…I’ve been exactly where you are..believe me.
I don’t want you to write these thoughts down or even go through the process of figuring out WHY they are there – just acknowledge them. No need to empower them anymore than they already are (considering these thoughts are probably going through your head consistently gives you an idea of their power and tenacity).
Just ponder the power of these thoughts and breathe (yes you can breathe again), there’s no simple process I’ll be giving you to annihilate these thoughts – I’m sure the internet has covered every one of them – which to be honest has never worked for me. Just accept them and acknowledge them.
That’s it for step 1
Step 2: Go and grab a pen and paper – make sure it’s in a nice book – one you will look at again not just lose once it’s written in.
Write down the 5 most important things you’d LOVE to do TODAY if there were no financial or personal barriers. This is an imagination challenge. Visualisation and creativity are our best friends if we use them correctly.
Let your imagination run wild – there are no limits to the possibilities here.
You can do whatever you like, wherever you like. You can be with whomever you wish to be with and be doing whatever you like with them – or you can be alone.
In another country even or another planet, in space, deep inside the earth, high on a mountain or on the open ocean – there are absolutely NO limits here.
Take your time here, as before there are no rules here. Just feel free to play with your imagination.
This can take some time to remember where you really want to be and write, write and write some more.
no rules and no limits
Step 3: Of the 5 scenes you unfolded in the previous step – which is your absolute favourite – the one you ally yourself with the most. The one that made your heart sing and brought a tear to your eye.
If there were no tears or emotion attached to any – repeat step 2 again – there’s no hurry and getting it ‘right’ helps an awful lot.
now – with this favourite choice. I want you to visualise everything about that scene. What are you wearing, what country are you in, the weather, are you cold or hot, in the country or city, with others or alone.
Make the picture complete. The colour, the sounds – what can you hear, the texture, the emotion – what are you feeling, what’s for lunch it and what does it taste like?
write EVERYTHING down – no holding back. Really throw yourself into it. Add pictures as well.
Step 4: Now it’s time to dream.
Take some time out and do one thing today..just ONE thing that is on your favourite – your perfect life. Whether it’s simply having the cup of tea in the morning, eating the morning tea you envisioned, going for a swim at the beach, having a coffee with a friend – anything. You are the only one who has this dream.
It’s unique and so are you. You can realise this dream simply by doing it.
It’s that simple.
Step 5: Sit somewhere quiet (I always find the beach is the best place for me) and put your mind in the place YOU want it to be.
How would you like to FEEL.
And I want you to really feel that feeling, that emotion and the joy, happiness, freedom and love it brings.
Spend several minutes doing this – you may find your mind wandering off into other unwanted areas – just gently bring it back – take control of your beauty and acknowledge the possibilities this state of mind will bring you.
When I have done this exercise it would remind me of how I have been feeling for decades and have put myself into a habit of negative thoughts – there were times it would be difficult to bring the joy out. The way I found helps is to simply concentrate on my breathing…breathe in , breathe out...this can bring the focus back to simple breath.
Then I would look deep inside then remember the person I was born as.
The way I would feel as a child, the wonderment and space I had around me. The feeling of being able to jump really high so it felt like flying, lie really still and watch the clouds, test my endurance by running fast and riding my cycle down hills with my feet on the handlebars.
That simpleness, invincibility and curiosity gave me a reason to live.
Knowing I HAVE those emotions inside me already is such a bonus and makes it easier to remember who I am and what I can feel – unhindered by all the patterns I have built up over the years that serve no purpose at all except to make me unhappy.
Step 6: This is another writing task – it’s simple and beautiful.
Grab your writing book and divide the page into 2 columns.
On the left side write down all the things that make you happy – I mean REALLY happy, the things that bring you joy, make you shiver with delight and make your heart beat with excitement (we’ll call this the ‘want to do‘ list).
On the right side write down a list of the things you do everyday. (the “I do everyday” list)
Compare your lists. Is there anything here that is the same, anything you can say you love to do and actually do every day? If so – you have an inkling of what you CAN do with your life – there is an understanding of your possibilities and it’s time to add a few more to your “I do everyday” list.
If not then it’s time to adjust your life. No dawdling or excuses now.
Place one thing from the “Want to do” list and place it in the “I do everyday” list. And make this a daily routine.
I remember when I first did this it was simply a matter of getting up to watch the sunrise over the beach with a cup of coffee. I am lucky I lived so close admittedly – but to be honest it’s not my REAL dream. My real dream was to watch sunrise in the Snowy Mountains of Canada.
But what I did was a step closer to my dream.
Step 7: I have a question for you – what are the reasons you come up with for why you can’t do what you dream of?
This can be the biggest hurdle of all – the reasons I have heard so far are many and varied ( yep, I’m guilty as well)
see if any of them are familiar to you.
- I’m too old to change
- I don’t have time
- People will laugh at me if I do that
- But I need to feel secure by having my house/expensive car/ daily routine/job – even though I hate it (false security is a big one)
- I’ve always done this (my question to you here is “has it worked for you yet”? have you gained any progress in your life by doing that thing that you have always done?)
- I have a bad back or dicky knee, or get headaches etc
There are many more of these – but I don’t want to bore you with any more
Think on the things you have written above – it’s time for a total overhaul of your thoughts.
- You are NEVER too old to change (look back at Mavis’s story – deciding to and successfully selling her house to move herself and her 94yr old husband from Australia to Spain to LIVE!)
- Time is something we have made up. Free yourself from this constraint and just do the things you love to do
- Security isn’t in THINGS or repetitive routines – it lies in our hearts.
- Change is inevitable. The change we choose is far more powerful than the repetition of groundhog day activities. If it hasn’t worked yet – STOP IT and do something else!
- When was the last time you heard a 18yr old say this? Surfs up – “no I’ve got a bad back – you know, slipped disc, Dr said I can’t do anything anymore” I’m not saying to be stupid – but to take a step even a small one is literally a step in the right direction. Test your own boundaries – you’ll be surprised at what you CAN do!
As a wind up to this LOOONG post – I’d like to remind you that
Your Life has a ‘use by date’
How do you want to die?
- In a nursing home, being fed by a gastric tube? With the occasional duty-bound visitor?
- In a retirement home surrounded by others who don’t know you even though you’ve lived there for years?
- Isolated and alone in your judgements, opinions and defeated attitude.
These aren’t impossible – I’ve seen many older people die alone having achieved nothing except being a great mum or dad but not living their dreams.
We are in a different genre now – NO ONE else has had the opportunities we have now
We are the trailblazers of the future generations…if you want to be still contributing to society as you get older –
LIVE your life and lead by example!!
If you can relate to the above scene and would like some guidance – we need to talk!
I’m offering Coaching on this exact subject.
I’d love to talk to you about it and give you some clarity for your next step.