We make our biggest decisions between the ages of fifteen to twenty five and spend the rest of our lives living with the results of these choices. This is the time we choose what life work we’ll do, and which socio-economic group and relationships we want.
Later when when we hit our mid-life crisis we start to question where all we’ve chosen is taking us. By then we’ve lived half our lives, and are starting to ask what our priorities are. What do we want to do with the second half of our life? What’s happening in our inner life? Who are we really, without all our stuff?
So we ask new questions and start to face our inner emptiness. We search for deeper meaning and reality. The answers we find to these questions are profound and are where our strength lies. When we get in touch with this person we can say, “This is who I am — take it or leave it. ” So we come home to our true self.
In the first half of life we tend to live from the outside in, with questions like, “Am I okay? Am I enough?” Our second half of life should be lived from the inside out. “This is me. I am unique.” When we take the risk of becoming ourselves, our later life can become a different story. Life becomes far richer as we enjoy it in greater depth and see a bigger picture.
All of us are good people who’ve had bad experiences. We all are broken. Our parents, however much they loved us, made mistakes. We fear rejection and long for unconditional love. We’ve all felt that we ‘ll be accepted only ‘if’ we are enough.
So how do we manage to get to that place where we can live more fully? We do not need to live just reacting to our ‘mess’, which will just get us deeper into it. It’s not whether we’ve had a good or bad start to life, but how we manage what we’ve been given.
Most of us live as if we have many days ahead so don’t really look, or see people and fully engage with them. We anesthetize ourselves and waste precious time with distractions. But something in us dies when our life perspective gets tied into this.
So how are we doing? Do we blame others so we don’t have to take responsibility for ourselves? We can be the easiest person to fool. If we break through that and face ourselves, then we come to a place where we really have the most to offer. Hopefully then, as an older person, we can give back some of the wisdom of our lives, without being preoccupied with our image. At that stage we know we don’t have forever on earth and are aware that we need to enjoy each and every day.
We’ve heard that men often don’t like to stop and ask for the way as it means admitting that they’re lost. But in life we all need to do just that. Are we waiting for retirement so we can do what we really want to do? If so then we’re wasting our days. It’s sobering to visit an old age home to hear those who’ve chosen to narrow down their lives to a smaller and smaller reality.
So, if you’re not doing now what you’ve always wanted to do, ask yourself, “Will I ever do it?” If work is your meaning then why would you stop? Your last years are meant to be your best – for then you’ve got the most to give. It is when we actually come into our own.