When we are young we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. When we are a little older we are asked to pick a career. Then life happens. We find a job, work our way up in the company, raise a family, get settled in our routine – and get stuck.
When was the last time you thought about what you enjoy doing? Even more importantly, how often do you do something to make YOU happy? Chances are you don’t focus on your own happiness nearly as much as you should and, at this age, you SHOULD!
Maybe you’re thinking, “It’s been so long since I’ve been selfish and just done things for me, I don’t even know what I want to do!” If this sounds like you, have no fear! I’m here to help.
So how do you find your bliss? Start by just sitting down (with a pen and paper) and thinking about it. What did you used to love doing? Reading? Writing? Creating art or crafts? What have you always been interested in trying, but have never seemed to have the time? Yoga? Skydiving? Meditation? Water Skiing? Traveling?
Make a list of all of these things, and then try them! “I don’t have time” you start thinking.Make time! Schedule an activity for yourself in your calendar. Just do one activity a month if you have to, but start exploring your interests and find what you love.
Once you find something that makes you truly blissful, don’t stop! Make sure that you keep going. Slowly start scheduling it more and more often until it becomes a habit. But don’t stop there. I’m sure there is more than one thing that causes you bliss – keep looking! The more activities you find that make you blissful, the happier you will be.
Just remember to always be open to new opportunities and experiences. Never stop being curious of the world around you. Be willing to try new things and appreciate the joy they bring you. Don’t get too stuck in your routine, be proactive and schedule the time you need to find and follow your bliss. Step outside of your comfort zone every once and a while. And, most importantly, trust that everything will work out. If it seems like everything is going wrong, it just means you haven’t reached the end of your journey. You have the ability to live your bliss, now go find it!
“Oh s**t! You want me to do what????”
Up until the moment the door actually opened at 10,000 feet, I was cool. Then it all turned upside down.
I am a little nervous but excited about our skydiving adventure, which is not even on my bucket list. A year ago, Darrell asked me if I wanted to go skydiving, and I said “yes” – because I have a thing for trying everything at least twice (in case the first time is a fluke) – and I hadn’t even done this once.
The prospect of jumping out of plane was a little scary, which is why I wanted to do it. Doing things I am scared to do is good for me. It expands who I know myself to be. My view of myself becomes bigger. I am learning to be courageous: having the fear and doing it anyway. Plus, I want my second half of life to be radical.
So, there I am, after signing my life (literally) away in the most severe Liability Release I had ever read, about to jump out of a plane nearly two miles up with a dude attached to my back. The dude has a parachute and is a professional. Millions of people skydive. I know it is safe. I am cool.
Until the moment the door of the tiny plane opens and my instructor tells me to put my foot out on the tiny plank outside of the plane…
This is where “Oh s**t!” hits me…
“Is it too late to change my mind??” flashes through.
Meanwhile, my foot goes on the tiny plank, and my body flies out of the open plane door… and I am free-flying… with the dude still attached. The view is magnificent, and what is even more magnificent is that I did it.
The fear is replaced by quiet and beauty. And this is what I learn: behind every fear is a door. When I get past the fear, I open a door to new possibilities, and a new expanded “me.” My world gets bigger, and I know that “If I can do this, I can do anything.”
I am now someone who can jump out of the plane at 10,000 feet. Radical.
Afterwards, a friend asked me if I would do it again. Yes, I would. And the second time will be even better – because I will be past the fear and more present to enjoying the flight. And that’s the real treasure – enjoying our flight.
Sooo… Who wants to go bungee jumping?
The mature human psyche rarely voluntarily jumps into the game of uncertainty.
As we get older, we can become ever more attached to the knowing of what’s coming next, the assurance of our needs being met, the certainty of the path before us.
A layoff, business downturn, or even the inner need to make a significant change in one’s work, relationships, life, etc., can bring about fear of the unknown.
Yet, in that quest for knowing everything ahead of time, we may miss interesting opportunities and sidepaths along the way.
Think about it: when we go on vacation, though we may plan certain activities, do we want to know everything we’re going to experience beforehand?
There’s no fun, surprise or adventure possible when we already know.
Though it goes against the default closing of the mind and human spirit, taking on uncertainty with an attitude of fun can be a game worth playing.
What totally uncertain aspect of your life could you bring into a game of fun and exploration?
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”
It’s a topic that no one likes to think about, let alone talk about. Our parents have always been the strong ones, the ones in charge, the knowledgeable ones. However, as we ourselves grow older, we are forced to come to the realization that our parents are growing older as well.
Sometimes we realize it all of a sudden, we go to visit them and suddenly they seem weaker and more frail. Sometimes it is a slow realization; they start forgetting things, walking becomes more difficult for them, they seem less energized, they become more irritable. However we come to the realization, it is never easy for us. As their children it is natural that we feel sadness, concern, anxiety, fear, and even anger at this realization. It’s normal and it’s okay. The important thing to focus on is the next step.
Depending on if you live near your parents or live far away, there are different options. Below I have created a couple links for you to start exploring your options. Helping your parents through the aging process is never easy, but there are ways to make it easier.
They May Not Mean To, But They Do (a new novel about aging parents)
Although this process is full of anxiety and sadness, don’t forget that there is always the opportunity for fun as well. “How can this be fun?” you ask. Just check out these photos by Tony Luciani who is the caregiver of his mother. Click here to see the whole article!
“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”
“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”
“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theatre, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You’ll be an old man before you know it.”
“Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Most people do the exact opposite: they only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.”
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
“It helps if you remember that everyone is doing their best from their level of consciousness.”
You get married, raise a family, work to support your family, and then you retire. That’s just the way it is. Right?
Wrong. Actually, retirement is a fairly new concept; and the concept of retiring in your sixties is even newer.
During the Industrial Revolution, many aging factory workers refused to stop working, even as their ability to work slowly started deteriorating.¹ It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the concept of making people want to retire was born with the Social Security Act. Since then, retirement has continued to evolve and change, but a bigger change is on its way.
According to a new AARP survey, over 50% of people surveyed believe that they will continue working past the age of 65. Now, that doesn’t mean that we never want to retire², instead, we just believe that we still have plenty to contribute to society. We still are skilled at our jobs, actually with all of our knowledge we have gained over the years, we probably know more than we ever have before.
Gone are the days of hitting 65 and expecting our life to be almost over. In the past few generations, the average life expectancy has increased by 29 years and shows no signs of slowing down.³ These days we know that we can still contribute to society, we can still help make the world we live in a better place, and, most importantly, we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“I felt liberated to look at my life and career thus far as the R & D phase for what I have yet to design…buckle up phase two!”
—Hilary C., Marketing Director
Imagine there is way more in you to be expressed and fulfilled. Imagine and believe that you can restart…or, better yet, really start for the first time!
Consider that the only start that matters is the one you do now, and that life was designed that way. Your midlife opportunity is awakening to discover all that you’ve learned from a first half of R & D (research and development) and capitalizing on it to design your own uniquely playful, passionate and purposeful second half.
You have yet to do what you came here to do. No matter what has come before — be it perceived major successes or miserable failures — as Frank Sinatra sings “The best is yet to come, and babe won’t it be fine”.
The Back Forty philosophy is radical. It says whatever has come before does not determine what comes next. It’s about a radical renewing of the mind into belief and action to play big. Come discover your Big Game Back Forty Future. It’s what you came for.
“I have done hundreds of courses in growth and development. This Back Forty Program has really impacted me. I’m 72 years old, and I can win my second half!”
—Gail E., Legal Professional