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When I was a young kid, I thought high schoolers who had their drivers license were old. As a teen 40 seemed ancient, and even in my mid-twenties I couldn’t imagine being 50. Now I feel that 50 is the new 20.
Or at least the new 25.
I used to fear getting older. Actually, I didn’t fear it. I didn’t think about it. Then 45 crept up on me. Losing weight and staying in shape is harder. For the first time, my doctor said I needed to pay attention to my thyroid and my cholesterol. And sometimes just getting all my parts moving after waking up is the biggest challenge of my day.
That’s when the fear kicked in. I had to recognize that I wasn’t as young as I used to be and I wasn’t getting any younger. I know that sentence may not make sense. What I’m trying to say is I realized I need to treat my body better and work harder for things that once came easy (ish). Also, that list of things I wanted to do “someday when” wasn’t ever going to happen if I didn’t stop waiting for someday.
That fear pushed me to research midlife and what it means (besides the obvious). Once I got past the first few pages of Google and all the midlife crisis posts I found there was a lot of women my age embracing this stage of life. Instead of thinking my life was half over there was a lot of fun to be had in thinking I still had half my life to live.
My first midlife read was Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife and that’s what inspired me to change my way of thinking.
Even though my plate is already overflowing I asked my husband, can you build me a new website (it’s what he does for a living, and I’m his best client – or worst depending who you ask).
I’d used the tag line In Pursuit of Fabulous (or variations of) for years, but I felt it really fit here. It was fate. It was meant to be.
I tried to tell myself it was stupid to take on one mo also be a healthy way for me to not only embrace my midlife journey but stay accountable to what I said I wanted to accomplish in my midlife. I’ve spent way to much time invested in Netflix watching these last few years. I’d known for a while that needed to change but wasn’t motivated to do it. Until now.
As I did my research I found the following things:
Anytime you search up midlife you have to fight through all the midlife crisis content.
The term midlife originated in 1807, but artistic representations of midlife have been around since the 16th century.
Midlife through the beginning of the 20th century was a positive, not the negative we see it portrayed today.
The term midlife crisis was coined in 1950
I also discovered that the suicide rate is highest in middle age. No wonder midlife crisis comes up when you Google midlife.
But think about it, it makes sense. This is the span of life is when you have the most financial stress, parents age and die, and as you age, there is a sense of impending death and irrelevancy.
So if you don’t take action, you WILL have a crisis in midlife.
You owe it to yourself to take whatever action necessary to be the best version of YOU today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now.
You can be FABULOUS AT MIDLIFE!
It will just take work.
What does that work look like?
Take stock of your life. Where you are and what do you want.
This can be scary, but it’s necessary. You have to dig deep, look under the hood, and face reality. The positive is, even as frightening as it is to closely examine your life, this is the first step toward change.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just grab a piece of paper and make 2 columns.
What you like about your life and what is missing.
When you finish this exercise take a few moments and reflect on the things you wrote down about what you don’t like and want to change about your life.
Figure out, if you don’t immediately know, WHY you don’t like those elements and get a good understanding of the underlying emotional reasons.
Then think about what you WANT!
Midlife Goals – holla!
Have you ever thought you wanted something, but it didn’t jazz you or fill you with purpose? And you realized you didn’t want it as much as you thought.
Maybe it was someone else’s dream?
Maybe you want it for the wrong reasons.
Make sure what you want and don’t want are truly WHAT YOU WANT OR DON’T WANT!
The sky’s the limit.
You might have a list of 10 or 1000 things you want to accomplish. The important thing is you have it down on paper, and you are getting clear on what you want.
What needs to happen to affect change?
Because I’m a firm believer in writing things down to make them real, take out another piece of paper, or open a Word document. Now make a list of everything you need/want to change to take your life in the direction you want it to go.
For example, my list would look like this:
I need to stop overeating.
I need to stop drinking so much wine.
Need to stop spending so much money on crap.
I need to exercise.
I’m tired and depressed just looking at it. If you’ve ever watched The Secret, read anything by Louisa Hay or Wayne Dyer you’ll already know what I’m about to say.
Those statements don’t set you up for success. You need to reframe them in a positive.
I am healthy and happy and practice portion control.
I love to enjoy one glass of wine with friends.
I appreciate my money and spend it wisely.
I love how I feel after walking in my neighborhood.
If you’ve not used affirmations before I know you might be rolling your eyes and thinking you’re never going to read another post by me again. And I know it might sound corny. But this shit works. I kid you not.
It’s been proven that negative breeds negative and positive attracts positive. Don’t beat your self down think of that future state and how it will feel when you’ve achieved it.
Take all the things you want to change and flip them into positive affirmations. Challenge yourself to read through them once or twice a day, and you’ll see a difference.
There is a lot of power in positive thinking.
Prioritize and declare actions
You’re not going to lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks, or get enough saved from retirement in 6 months, or be in good enough shape to run a marathon by next weekend.
Even though I’ve often set those type of crazy goals for myself. Trust me, it doesn’t work.
You also can’t work on everything you want to change all at the same time. That behavior is guaranteed to frustrate you and keep you from success.
Instead be smart and realistic.
SMART goals anyone?
Take a look at all the things you want to change and prioritize them. Pick a couple you feel are the most important and start there.
And by start there I mean write down the actions it will take you to accomplish those changes.
If your desired change is to lose weight, your actions may be to walk 20 minutes a day and stop drinking soda.
If your desired change is to reduce needless spending your action might be to only buy Starbucks 3 days a week instead of 5.
You have a better chance of being successful when your goals are small. As you accomplish one small goal, you can then move to the next and so on until you’ve reached all your goals. It might not happen by next week, but it will happen.
It’s the theory of marginal gains. If you can make a small 1% improvement daily, you will in time reach a significant aggregate increase. You can read more here.
Think about how these actions fit into your life today
Get yourself excited about the changes you are making. Think about how these changes will positively impact your life in the long run even if it’s hard in the short term. Take a few moments when start to feel yourself going in the WRONG direction to think about how proud of yourself you will be when you make the right choice.
Remember this. You can accomplish anything you desire. After all, you have years of experience that has given you the tools to make your life fabulous!