I’ve past the half-century mark, although I find this difficult to believe. I don’t feel like an old man, in fact I know with some certainty I’m not old at all. The saying goes something like, you’re only as old as you feel.
One thing that is a certainty as we age is that there will come a time where we become aware of our mortality, that our time is moving on and that we have to treat time as a precious commodity and make the most of that time we have left.
I believe strongly that midlife is a period where we search for meaning. Having recognized that our time here is finite we start to contemplate what we want to achieve before we leave. This should be even more intense if we’re not happy with the hand we’ve been dealt.
Strangely it’s often not like that. I was having a chat last week about people genuinely dissatisfied with their life, their achievements, about the path their existence has taken. But rather than do anything about it they lose themselves nightly in the pub. They may not be drowning their sorrows, but they are avoiding even trying to make life better than it has turned out. They just accept the way it is and choose to live out their final days in what I feel is a meaningless way.
I saw 50 as a time to get in control of my life and live incredibly. I certainly had regrets
- The things I did that I wish I hadn't.
- The things I wish I had done but didn't.
- The time I've wasted.
- The opportunities I've missed.
I took the time to take stock of my life and what I still wanted to do.
I see this time of my life representing the best possibility to fulfil my remaining dreams. I feel that only now have I been able to free myself from the shackles of making a living, paying bills conforming to a 9 to 5, ‘responsible’ lifestyle.
I have taken the opportunity to reclaim my passion. I have refused to let life pass me by. I know I can't turn the clock back or slow down the aging clock which is ticking away but I'm hungry to make my mark while living a life passionate and driven.
I often describe midlife as a time for transformation and opportunity. In a blog post last week titled Is Retirement Your Thing I ended by asking a question ‘Is your dream to enjoy retirement or do you still want to do more with your life?’
Retirement is not on my radar, instead I’ve gone through a period of reinventing myself driven by my desires to do something remarkable with my life, taking on life with a new spirit and tenacity.
I see very clear, definable steps driving a decision to reinvent one self in middle age. Let me share these with you.
Step 1. Get Bothered
Identify and unearth those things you’re not happy about, the things you’ve not done so far in your life. Determine what you simply aren’t happy about in your life, and decide enough is enough. What is your greatest pain? Be honest with yourself and see what you want to change in your life, get upset with your current situation if you’re genuinely not happy with it and make changes. Get bothered and decide to make the changes.
Step 2: Decide to Change
When we’re changing, we’re stretching, developing and growing. Not allowing ourselves to stagnate. . If we’re not changing and moving forward, we’re stuck. Change can take us to a better place. This is a major step if you want to improve your life. Decide you want to reinvent your life and make the changes to bring it about. If you get excited about reinventing your life, you’re ready for the changes to happen.
Step 3: Dream Big
Ask, “What do I really want?” Get clear on your goals and dreams. We’re told from the time we’re children to stop dreaming, to get our heads out of the clouds and face reality. You can’t be an astronaut or a footballer. And most of us stupidly believed our limitations. Well not anymore. Dreams make us happy, raise our enthusiasm, and tap into our brilliance – which is where solutions live. Sit quietly for ten minutes and ask yourself ‘what do I want my life to look like in five years?’ If time, capability or money were no issue, what would you choose to do with your life? Once you remove the limits from your mind, it’s easier to allow your imagination to flow.
Step 4: Believe in the Possibilities
Once you know what direction you want to go, it’s amazing how much better you will feel mentally and emotionally. When you have a clear picture of where you’re headed, and you believe it’s possible, that’s when magic happens. Changing your life is possible. But it takes strong convictions and mental perseverance. Your belief is the key to success. If you want something enough and believe you can do it, you’ll find the way to make it happen.
Step 5: Go For It
Nothing just falls into our arms. We have to work hard to achieve those things we want in our life. When we know without a doubt that we want something then we have to get up and go for it by taking massive action. Don’t stop, make alterations if need be till you make your dreams come true.
Step 6: Never Forget ‘time is precious’
We will never get time returned to us. We get older day by day and there’s nothing we can do to stop this. We will only ever get 24 hours a day. So to throw any of the time we’ve got is simply the most stupid thing we can do in our life. So make sure you make the most of every second, so you don’t look back with regret.
I know middle really can be our best time. But don't leave it till it’s too late. You have the ultimate power to decide to start living your life in the best way possible. You can be brave, courageous and passionate.
These powerful steps will work for you - whether you’re 20 or 70. Just take it one step at a time.