Last week I talked about life being a series of transitions from one event to another. I’m still thinking about transitions this week and those major life transitions in particular. What is a major life transition? These types of transitions can be all kinds of events but in particular, I’m talking about things like divorce, job change, kids moving out of the house, mid-life or a death in the family. These types of transitions can be hard to accept in our lives. Often we don’t even know this transition is coming or we’ve just pretended not to see it on the horizon. So, when you go into a major life transition without any planning, suddenly your life seems to be going all over the place with no real direction in the near future.
Like most people, I’ve been through at least some of these major life transitions. My husband suddenly lost his job several years ago. That was a huge adjustment to go through without any advance warning. Both of my kids have also moved out of the house and I’ve gotten to experience life as an empty-nester. There have been other major transitions and they all have taken time for adjustment in my life. And, yes some are definitely easier to accept into my life than others.
Some of these major life transitions can even take years for you to go through them. I’m thinking in particular of mid-life. This is a time that for many of us we start to think that life needs to change in some way. Often, if we have kids, this is the time period where they will start to leave the house for college or some other shift in their lives. We can begin to wonder what’s next for us? We can start to think that what we’ve been doing for the last couple of decades just isn’t going to work for us over the next 20 years. We’re ready to grow in our own thoughts and actions but frequently we don’t know what that will look like for us.
In that quest for change, this is when people will suddenly change a job, buy a new car, decide to get a divorce, or change something else major in their lives. Often this isn’t really the solution that you need. Think of this as a bandaid on a bigger issue. These changes may be needed but they aren’t going to make this mid-life transition smoother.
Often what we really need before we start to make these changes in our lives is to check in with ourselves. To take the time to get to know the person that you’ve become and to decide what you want to keep and what you want to change about yourself and your life.
This period of getting to know yourself won’t be done in an hour. It usually takes multiple check-ins with yourself to know where you want to go next in life. This is a process of getting to know your needs and wants. It’s not a quick review of where you are in the present moment. Instead it takes patience and perseverance to examine your life and determine what you need to change in order to really thrive in the next chapter of your life.
How do you see yourself in this next chapter? What do you want to do each day? How do you want to present yourself to the world? What is really important to you in this chapter of life? What do you need to let go of at this time? How would you change your job if you could? What would it be like to create a life that suited you rather than just existing as you do right now? How would you like to impact those around you? Right now, what do you want to change as you transition through mid-life?
These are all questions that take time to answer. You’ll not find those answers right away, but when you do uncover them, you’ll be glad that you did. So, if you’re in mid-life right now or heading into it soon, take some time to get to know yourself again. You’re focus for so long may have been on your family or your job. Now, it’s your time to rediscover who your really are and who you can become in this next chapter of life.
I have a few spots left for my Navigating Change Group that starts July 11th. It’ll be an amazing time of self-discovery as we get to know ourselves again. Sign up here.