midlife, personal growth

When Life Isn’t What You Had Planned

parachute with heart floating for midlife is not what you planned

You had plans in your mind for what this time in your life would be like. And that’s not what your life looks like right now, and you feel frustrated.

When you were younger, you thought midlife would be a calm period of life. A time when work, family, and life in general would feel settled. A time when the grind, the worries and the overwhelm of your thirties and early forties would thin out.

Life after fifty would be a time to enjoy more freedom and to start coasting on the winds created by decades of busting your hump to get here. A time you could finally come up for air and enjoy the fruits of your efforts, take in the view, and slide easily into the next phase of life.

You imagined yourself healthy, fit, capable, and financially secure. Kids all grown and kicking butt in their own lives. Time to live the life you’ve seen in advertisements… walking on the beach at sunset, out on a golf course, sipping fine wine with your feet up, no financial stress, no to-do list, no pressures, no overwhelm…

The midlife reality check.

Although there’s so much to feel grateful for, the difference between what we planned and reality can be frustrating.

You never dreamed midlife would mean you’d need multiple pairs of eyeglasses to see anything smaller than a billboard. Nor did you consider you might have an achy back, sore hips or stiff knees.

You’re probably still working your butt off because you haven’t hammered out the plan for how (if ever) you can retire and not have to eat dollar store crackers and cat food for the remainder of your years.

You might be dealing with divorce and the associated rewrite of where you thought your life was supposed to go.

You may be coping with unexpected health issues, your own or a loved one’s.

Worse yet, you may have experienced the devasting loss of a partner, dear friend or other significant person in your life. A loss you never imagined would happen and will now forever alter your chapter two.

Maybe, like me, you’ve become a primary caregiver for your aging parent(s). Another scenario that we should have seen coming, but somehow didn’t factor into our midlife vision.

I know what you’re thinking. Gee, thanks for depressing me, I thought you were the positivity chick?!

I still am. Because I’m going to remind you that during what can feel like the destruction of the midlife we were planning on, there is still room to balance it all and find joy.

There’s always an upside.

You can be surfing the rolls and waves life brings you and still follow your burning desire for personal growth.

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

Your life may not be what you planned, but I know there’s space and energy in your heart, mind and soul to create the most purposeful, mindful, meaningful and positive life you possibly can.

“It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.” – Carl Jung

It is possible to cope with life’s challenges and still feel satisfied that at the end of the day, regardless of life not being as you envisioned, you’re doing the best you can.

You can push yourself every single day – to be the kindest, most loving, authentic version of yourself possible. You can find moments in your day to take small steps toward the future you want to live.

And you can do it with the power of gratitude in your heart. Because I know that’s how you roll.

Juggling it all in whatever ways you can to prioritize where your attention and energy go.

Let the little stuff go.

At the end of our days when the lights go down all that truly matters is love.

How we felt love and how loved we made others feel.

The sunset walks and the retirement dreams still may happen. But in the meantime, let’s not take our eyes off the prize – this present moment.

As imperfect as life may be for you today, choose to love more and to embrace life for all that it is.

Happiness and satisfaction flow north and south.

It can start as a feeling in your heart and move up to your mind or it can start as an intentional thought that then swells down to your heart.

This day matters as much as every one that came before it and every one that is to come. Whether it measures up to what you planned it to be or not.

Frustration is temporary (like most everything else).

When you feel frustrated, remind yourself that it’s called midlife because there’s more to come.

Find a healthy balance between your expectations and how to continue embracing what is.

Find things to celebrate

Cheers to midlife and all its unplanned, challenging, and imperfect glory.

Cheers to the plans that go awry, to the college tuition payments, to helping grandma find her teeth, and to the midlife pimples, wrinkles, and gray hairs.

Cheers to the future.

May it be filled with love and more plans for whatever you’re dreaming of – maybe peaceful sunset walks on the beach (and a few dollar store crackers!).
– Marlene

 


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