Midlife Answers: How to stop letting life pass you by
Are you tired of feeling like life is just passing you by? OR that life is happening to you and you don’t really have any control? Or maybe you just think that making any changes would be too hard – take too much energy, time, or money… Well, today we’re gonna figure out how to stop letting life pass us by!
Read on and find out how I stopped letting life “happen” and how you can live your second half of life more intentionally! Just know that you DO have control of your own life, your own future! And, it’s not something that is reserved for “special” or “lucky” people. It’s available to all of us! YAY!!
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How Can Regret Help?
When we’re just going along day to day, not really making any conscious efforts or decisions, and life is happening TO us, we might get to a point where we have some major regrets.
Author Daniel Pink wrote a book called “The Power of Regret.” I was listening to him on a podcast recently and he suggested that there are two ways to make a decision:
- Look forward five years from now and think about what you would regret that you didn’t do; and
- What advice would you give your best friend about this decision?
For example, let’s say you’re thinking about changing careers, but are unsure because you’ve been in this same career for 20 years; you’re doing well, but you have this urge to do something different. Think about yourself five years into the future.
Does your future self regret NOT making this change?
One of the things that Dan Pink found that people often regret is not making bold moves. I totally regret not making more bold moves in my earlier years. (Read more about preventing regrets when you get to the end of your life.)
And, what would you tell your best friend? I’m always encouraging people to take risks. Risks can be…well – risky! But, also EXCITING! And who doesn’t want more excitement in their lives? (I know, not every day, but a lot of us don’t have much excitement at all.) I wish more people would’ve encouraged me to take risks. Think about that.
In some ways, this kind of thinking leads to more “on purpose” living, rather than sitting back and letting life happen.
An Intentional Midlife Starts with Awareness
If you’re anything like me, you are approaching (or in) midlife and thinking that you want to somehow make the most of your so-called “second half.”
This happens a lot when people get close to “middle age.” They start looking at what they’ve done so far and the time they have left and begin pondering.
This can lead to anxiety and depression, unfortunately. But it can also lead to making changes. (Yes, change can be scary or risky.)
I started living my life more intentionally when I was approaching age 50. Although I didn’t actually sit down and consider what I would regret in the future, I knew that I didn’ want to continue on the same path.
So I made some decisions and did some things that were outside of my comfort zone.
The bonus was that I got EXCITED about my life!
But, before all of that, I started to become AWARE. I paid attention to what was going on in my mind and what was holding me back.
I did this by being mindful (I took 2 courses on mindfulness), meditating (using an app), journaling, and listening to thought leaders explain how our brains work (hello podcasts!).
What I found was that THOUGHTS are what hold us back the most!
When I became aware and started noticing what was going on with me, I found that I could easily get through things and remain calm by just doing a few simple things (like paying attention to my breathing, noticing and focusing on things that made me smile, and just staying present when I would start to feel anxious).
That AWARENESS was one key piece that contributed to where I’m at today – calm, happy, content, and confident!
Acceptance & Action
Here’s where you stop letting life pass you by. Once you have that awareness, you can begin ACCEPTING (being ok with things, not judging yourself, etc.) and taking ACTION steps.
For me, it was baby action steps – but ACTION nonetheless. And, let me tell you – baby steps DO add up!
Sure, we know that, but a lot of the time, we’re just wanting immediate results. Think of the last time you tried to change a bad habit. If you weren’t “successful,” it probably had a lot to do with the fact that you gave up before those baby steps could add up, because you needed to see quick results.
The point here is that we don’t want it to be five years from now and look back and think – why didn’t I do that thing or take that chance?
Because, time goes by whether or not you do the thing.
The baby steps I took led to results. Which led to me feeling better about myself.
I gained confidence because I took action.
Action that I previously thought would be too hard and would take too much time and energy.
Action that I previously would not take because I thought all action needed to be the “right” action” at the “right time” – think perfectionism.
Action that I previously avoided because it was outside of my comfort zone and was therefore avoided at all costs.
The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.Niccollo Machiavelli
Stop Letting Life Pass You By
Because of the AWARENESS and then the ACTION that I took, I really began living life intentionally. Life passes by, yes, but I am no longer letting it pass ME by.
This is my story – what is yours?
What are you putting off doing that you might regret NOT doing, five years down the road?
Is it taking better care of yourself (physically or emotionally)?
Or rebuilding a relationship?
Maybe it’s changing your career.
Or moving away.
It could even be writing your memoir or starting a business.
Start your journey to living life with intention. It only takes a little bit of awareness and some baby action steps to really notice a difference.
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This Post Has One Comment
Fantastic post, Lisa! It’s never too late, and you’re never too old to create a life you LOVE!!!!