“What do you want to do when you grow up?” As children, we replied, “A fireman,” or teacher, doctor, or my favourite, a movie star. We grew up, we all learned skills to fit in and advance in the world around us. We built a family and resources and maybe we got our dreams.
As we got older or crisis hit, some of us asked the grown-up version of that question, “Is this the life I really want, am I doing what I really want?” or “Do I even know what I want?
Adult development research shows that middle age is a valuable time to discover, grow and reinvent life. As we get older, we can climb with surprising strides to connect to our deep hopes, values, and vision. Losses in life are also an invitation to become more “inner directed” and discover the treasure of who we really are to more authentically enrich the world around us.
Jungian psychology of adult growth says that the first half of life is about surviving but the second half is about discovering our unique person-hood. The first half requires getting along and conforming but the second half is for becoming our individual selves and serving others with our unique gifts.
During the first half, the ego takes charge to ensure we survive and thrive in the world. Ego decides what is important and often disregards the input of our psyche or soul. Then the time comes and psyche starts quietly stepping forward to direct us to our true north and to push us inwardly. The psyche wants us to discover the joy of who we are, our unique contribution and the meaning of our life.
“In life, the first act is always exciting but it is the second act – that’s where the depth comes in.”— Joyce Van Patten
In the second act of life, we don't find it as rewarding to go along with other’s agendas and we ask “What am I really interested in?” Dr. Bill Sadler calls this “embracing your wholeness” to discover our unexplored interests, dimensions and ways of being.
Midlife is a time of growth and inner discovery. We can search out new and satisfying directions that flow from our inner person and offer others the richness of who we really are.
In my next blog I will help you with the "how to" of doing just that.
My blog has been focused on grief. But grievers want help in building a well-rounded life too. As a result, my blog has broaden to include more issues for thriving and living well in midlife, even with its many stress-ors. Look for more help and ideas to help you to launch a meaninful second act of life!
If you are facing loss, find out the best ways to renew your resilience in a complimentary coaching session with me. Contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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