It doesn’t have to be a redo of the first.
I will be 49 this year and have been feeling a little apprehensive about the upcoming second half of my life. Daily questions travel around my mind: ‘Happy with all you’ve achieved? Got everything you need for the next half?’ Creating an urge to max out on ‘zero to hero’ courses over the next year: ‘How to get fit quickly and effectively! Manage your finances better! Discover how to make better choices!’ call out to me.
But with a little openness and some research into the matter, I realise there is a great deal to look forward to in the second half, no achievement required!
Becoming comfortable in my skin and accepting myself for who I am is certainly something to get excited about. Decades of being consumed by what others thought of me got in the way of me being myself. It has been tiring, to say the least.
I discovered a beautifully written article by Carol McKeag, a spiritual coach, entitled ‘Saying Yes to the Second Half of Life’.
As I ventured through this article, I started to feel positively inquisitive about the next stage that awaits so many of us.
“The Second Half of Life, age 50 and beyond, is Your time; your time to be authentic, to love more, to contribute back and to share your wisdom. It is your time to harvest the fruits of all the experiences that make up your life… At this time you are at a place of choice, creativity and freedom to design your world from inside of you; from the place that makes your heart sing!”Carol McKeag
This article certainly made my heart sing.
Carol expands on three points in the article. (I love it when people break down their story into three parts!)
Living with passion and purpose
“This is the time in our life where wisdom and heart join … we know what has meaning for us, who we are, and what we want to do with this richest part of our lives”.Carol McKeag
I can already feel this, and I know I wouldn’t have felt this in my earlier years. When your days are filled with trying to keep your head above water it is hard to see anything, let alone meaning. Reaching the point of knowing more about ourselves and what we want to do is a wonderful midlife gift. It’s definitely worth putting in the mileage for.
Carol’s advice is not only for those who have reached a comfortable point with finances, career and family but also for those of us still ‘exploring’. The clock is ticking, but there is still time—to study, to try things out and to explore untapped passions. We can do this, with the benefit of wisdom from earlier decades.
Deepening our relationships
“This is the time in our life where we choose relationships that are authentic and meaningful to us… It may mean letting go of a relationship that no longer supports us or nurtures us and embracing new ones”.Carol McKeag
Relationships, and all that goes with them, haven’t been the easiest for me. A combination of wanting the world to love me and not being very discerning has resulted in a string of unhappy relationships. Getting to the bottom of this has been a journey. Something that has come in my late 40s, but the work has been well worth it. I looked at the connections that mattered, including some that required mending. Forgiving (myself included) and letting go of others.
I love those that are in my life now and appreciate every bit of what I put into those relationships and receive in return. My feelings of gratitude, acceptance and presence are noticeably different to my earlier years. This has had an impact on how I look at life, and I enjoy seeing the kinder, lighter side of life.
Contributing rather than working
“This is the time in our life where meaningful work, service, and leaving a legacy are calling to us. Many of us will choose to continue in traditional positions, sharing our wisdom and knowledge… Others will leave their former work environment and contribute their wisdom and talents in a volunteer capacity”.Carol McKeag
I took a course two years ago, and it amazed me how many people in their late 40s and early 50s were having a complete career change. Bankers now becoming yoga instructors and financial directors leaving the city to open a landscaping business in the country. It is a wonderful opportunity to finally be able to do what you love and give back to people.
For those of us still in work, finding time for volunteer work is incredibly fulfilling. Applying our talents and working with matters close to us satisfies an inherent need. My mother was a nurse all her life, and she now does volunteer work with older people. Her nursing knowledge helps constantly with the older folks, never mind her love for helping others and her strong empathy.
There are so many avenues through which our support and love can give value, whether it be with animals, children, older people, those battling addiction or other routes special to us. Like so much in life, contribution is more enjoyable if you do what you love.
These are examples of how my heart is singing as I head into the second half. I’m excited to look forward to connection and opportunity rather than more hurdles of achievement.