With daily life under constant pressure from real or perceived demands, listening to a personal wake-up call is something we rarely treat as a priority. Instead, we deal with those things that require our immediate attention or affect other people. In quiet moments, or when something causes us to reflect on our own lives, it’s easy to feel anxious, worried or even fearful about the future. Uncertainty is unsettling. Our thoughts of ‘What if …?’ take us in a direction we’d rather not go. So we decide it’s better to avoid such thoughts and hope for the best.
Given free reign, imagination can scare people silly, so how many take the view that it’s easier not to think about the detail of our private lives? We just deal with the demands and try to focus on the nice bits, telling ourselves that surely something will change and it will work out. Sound familiar?
The ‘Wake-Up’ call!
Except, in the back of our minds is a niggle. We may not choose to admit it, but deep down we worry. These are not the everyday worries that it’s okay to talk about. Our private worries are the things we barely want to admit to ourselves, let alone anyone else. These worries are personal … and almost too big to contemplate. They stem from the way we feel about ourselves, the choices we’ve made and our ability to control or make more of our lives. Such worries often gain strength around the time we hit the milestone of our fortieth birthday, but they can snowball at anytime during that period we call ‘mid-life’. They include:
- ‘I’m not ready to be middle-aged. I still have so much I want to do with my life.’
- ‘How will I cope/what will I do when the children leave home and my partner and I are on our own?’
- ‘I’m on a treadmill and it’s become a way of life. Stop the world, I want to get off!’
- ‘What happened to me? My body has changed and I don’t recognise myself anymore!’
- ‘I’m not happy with my life and if I don’t do something soon, it’s going to be too late.’
“Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, whatever misfortune you may have suffered, the music of your life has not gone. It’s inside you if you listen to it, you can play it.” — Nido Qubein
Worry undermines our peace of mind and can become a fixture, taking up room and board in our head until it’s addressed. It cries out for action, served by our higher good. Not surprisingly, it wants to be taken seriously. After all, we’re thinking about our life and suddenly we’ve realised that our time is limited!
What matters to you and why
This is the point when we need calm, rational thought, not the fear-based reaction so often associated with mid-life crisis, particularly when already under pressure. Rational thinking is essential, along with the freedom to consider how you feel. Revisit your values. Look at them in more depth and ensure they’re in alignment with your behaviours. Think about what really matters to you and why. How is that reflected in:
- your actions
- the way you live your life
- the choices you make
The beginning of a new chapter
Think of it like this … the wake-up call around mid-life is an opportunity to reassess. It’s not an indulgence, but a time of re-evaluation to ensure the direction of your life is the one you want, just as you would evaluate your business, review your career or adjust your spending habits. Look again at the personal dreams that family life and financial constraints may have caused you to put aside for a decade or two. Those dreams are part of who you are. Now’s the time to rediscover yourself and listen to the music inside you. If you do it right, it can be the beginning of a whole new chapter, without the crisis! Your ‘wake-up call’ needs to be answered, not put on hold!