It’s a pretty powerful word. This word has inspired countless men and women to lay down their lives for what they believe in. This world is what our country has been built on. And it is because this word is so powerful that we are devoting this post to what freedom means to us.
Many people would argue that we have to give up some of our freedom as we grow older. We have more responsibilities now. We have a job where people count on us, we have a family to support, we have retirement to save for. There are so many things that we have to do, so it just makes sense that we have to give up some of our freedom.
Well, those of us at The Back Forty have a problem with that belief system. Why do we have to give up our freedom as we grow older? If anything, we should be gaining more freedom as we age, not the other way around.
Regardless of if you currently feel like you’re Failing Your Midlife Experience or if you just haven’t taken the time to Consider Your Purpose recently, we believe that your personal freedom has a lot to do with that purpose.
Wherever you are on your midlife journey you have to believe in your future. Whether you still feel that you need to Free Yourself From Your Past or if you need a reminder that You Are In Control, believing in your future is the first step toward freedom.
Midlife can sometimes feel like a time where nothing new happens and everything bad happens all at once. Your job can start to feel mundane and boring and yet your family life can be changing drastically (or vice versa). So today I am bringing you an A-Z list of words to describe the way things SHOULD be in midlife. If you’re reading through this list and any of these words don’t mesh with where you are in life, maybe it’s time to try something new. Read through this alphabet and let me know which word resonates with you the most.
As we grow older, we often find ourselves thinking, “I can’t do that”. We think this way solely because of our past experiences and this sometimes causes us to act in a certain way for your family or your boss or your friends. Instead of hiding your true self, choose to be authentic by, first, rediscovering who you truly are and, second, showing the world the incredibly unique person that you are.
If you are being authentic, then you should also be bold. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you are and what you can do. Boldly show the world that you have yet to do what you came here to do!
“Throwing yourself on the sword takes Back Forty Boldness, and definitely Back Forty Badassity…and yet, what else do you have to do in the next 40 years anyway?”
At this point in your life, you’ve been around the block a few times, so be confident! You have a unique set of skills that you have been honing your entire life. Be confident in what you know and share your knowledge (and confidence) with the world.
It is important to be determined to reach your goals. After all, you have yet to do what you came to this world to do. Think about what goals you have. Have you been actively working towards achieving them? Or do you find yourself thinking, “one day”, “once the kids are out of the house”, or “after I retire”? I challenge you to commit to a goal and be determined to reach it.
When was the last time you were truly enthusiastic about something? Is there something that you strongly believe in? When was the last time you shared that enthusiasm with others? Remember, enthusiasm can be contagious and if you believe in something deeply you should share your enthusiasm with those around you.
The more we grow, the more we tend to keep our eyes focused on the past. We remember what we know to be true from the past. But we must also remember to keep an eye on the future. The best is still yet to come, and if we keep our eyes on the past, we just might miss it.
Who has time to pretend to be what others want you to be? And, honestly, isn’t it better to be genuine anyway? When you are genuine, you pull others towards you.
They say hope springs eternal. Well, I don’t know about you, but sometimes my spring seems to dry up. We need to remember to always stay hopeful. With each setback, we need to remember that we have these setbacks for a reason and that we will still achieve our dreams.
We have the power to inspire others. We can inspire our co-workers, our family, our friends. The first step towards inspiring others is to be inspiring. Take on life wholeheartedly and never give up. You will achieve whatever you put your mind to and that is the most inspiring thing of all.
Don’t let life get you down; and when it does get you down, don’t let it keep you down. There are hundreds of moments each day that can make us joyful – just as long as we choose to notice them. From the beauty of a sunset to the smile of a loved one, we have so many reasons to be joyful each and every day. No matter how many things may seem to be going wrong in your day, remember to pause and appreciate even the small moments that bring us joy.
You have your own, unique set of gifts and talents that you have accumulated throughout your life. Some of these talents you have chosen to learn and others were forced upon you, but, regardless of how you learned these different skills, you now have this knowledge. Never forget that no one has the same accumulation of knowledge as you do – your unique experiences have made you valuable in a way that no one else is.
“So many of us resist change when we see it coming, and yet there’s nary a one of us that can’t claim some new understanding, skill, capacity, awareness, knowledge or personal improvement on the other side of any change.”
Sometimes we need to be reminded to be playful. Stop taking life so seriously! Go out and have fun! Jump out of a plane, or go to an art show, try a new restaurant. It doesn’t matter what makes you lighthearted and playful – just remember to take some time to play from time to time. Life is too short to be serious.
You have yet to do what you came to this world to do…and you are here to do something meaningful. Think about it. If each and every person on this earth decided to do one truly meaningful thing with their life, how much better would this world be? What are you passionate about? What have you been holding off on doing because you don’t quite believe you can achieve it? Your life is meaningful, and your legacy should be as well.
Everyone wants to be considered noble, after all, who wouldn’t want to be considered moral and good? But, being noble doesn’t mean you are more moral or better than those who surround you. As Earnest Hemingway said, “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
We each have our own voice, sometimes we just need to remember to use it. Be outgoing. Be friendly. Be candid. The more you share your true self with others, the happier you will find yourself.
This is one that I have held strong beliefs about for as long as I can remember. It is so important for you to be passionate about something. Anything really. I don’t care if you are passionate about feeding monkeys at the zoo – just be passionate! When your life is full of passion, it is full of meaning.
I’ve always considered being called quirky a compliment. Quirky is defined as having unexpected traits and I feel that those unexpected traits are often the most powerful. Take a moment to think about what makes you quirky and you’ll often realize that those traits are also the traits that make you the most unique.
Being radical is defined as “affecting the fundamental nature of something”. I feel that when we live our (mid)life to the fullest and prove that our best is yet to come, we are affecting the fundamental beliefs about aging. We are not destined to slow down and get boring as we age and I believe that viewpoint is still relatively radical. By living each and every day of our lives to the fullest, I believe we are all being radical.
Being spirited is an important aspect of midlife (and life in general). When we live our lives being as full of enthusiasm, determination, and energy we are truly living life to it’s fullest.
We are meant to not only survive but to thrive. So many of us just survive in our current situations while waiting for something better. Instead, decide to thrive. What does it mean to you to thrive? Now take the first step towards that.
To thrive in your midlife, you must first decide to plan for the future instead of dwelling on the past.
People who are winning life aren’t just improving their own life, they are also uplifting others. It has been proven that the more you uplift others, the happier you will be as well. People who give to charity and/or volunteer are over 40% more likely to be happy than those who don’t. This statistic holds true for those who express gratitude and help others as well. So do what you can to be happy and remember to uplift others.
Be vibrant. Shine for the world to see.
Be a little wild sometimes. Being the responsible one can get boring, and as we age we are often forced to be responsible more and more often. Not that being responsible is a bad thing, it is actually very important. But sometimes it is equally as important to be a little wild and let your crazy side show. Plan a night out and decide to be a little wild.
I admit it took a little digging to find this one. Xenodochial (pronounced zeena-doh-key-ul) means to be hospitable. Making others feel at home is truly an art. When you can make your friends, family, and even strangers feel as if they truly belong, you are making the world a better place.
I’m always hesitant when it comes to saying two words and those words are “young” and “old”. These definitions are becoming so circumstantial that I cringe when using them. But at the same time, let’s be honest, we are getting older. I believe being young-at-heart is part of what keeps us young even as we age. Remembering to embrace life through the eyes of the young helps us live life to the fullest. Becoming set in our ways helps no one.
Finally, be zealous. Live your life with zeal and passion and it is almost guaranteed that your best is yet to come. You have so much life to live, now go out there and act like it!
As I sit down to write my final tip in this series, I am realizing that this tip is the easiest…and the hardest tip to follow.
What is so easy and yet so hard?
None of the tips I have given you will be of any help at all if you don’t truly believe that your future will be even greater than your past.
Believe that you do have power over your future, believe that you can achieve your dreams, believe that it’s not too late, just believe.
Today I ask you to do your part. You can help turn around the cultural conversation around aging, simply by proving others and the media wrong.
As you leave this post series, I want you to truly believe that your best creativity, ingenuity, relationships, careers, health, fitness, and self-expression are all still ahead.
Thank you for reading my Winning Midlife Pro Tip Series and remember to always believe in yourself!
As we start out this new year, I want to bring you an important message. It’s easy to see things in our past (especially life-changing things) as something that we didn’t really have control over. After all, when something is out of your control it can’t be your fault.
But today I want you to think about your past differently. Take a moment to read the following quote:
You have always had a say. Even though sometimes it seems that you had no control over a situation. When you think of your past as being created from all of your decisions instead of being created by things out of your control – life suddenly becomes easier to manage.
Happy Tuesday everyone! Or maybe not so happy?
Have you ever had one of those days when you just feel stuck? I’m sure you know the feeling, you feel stuck in your routine. You want to change things up, but you can’t. You’re so busy and you have work and a family to worry about. The last thing you have time for is adding something else to your list of responsibilities.
It’s because of thoughts like these that I give you today’s quote. Take a moment to read it:
It’s a pretty radical thought. To be completely free from your past decisions? To not be locked in by the choices you have made? It seems like a bit of a daydream. But what if I told you that it’s not a daydream and that you just need to be open to the possibilities?
Most people feel like they are stuck with the choices they made when they were younger. I’m here to tell you that’s simply not true. Try thinking of the first half of your life as research and development for your second half of life. What have you learned about what you enjoy? What do you hate? What are you curious about? Take all of this knowledge and build yourself the future you desire.
It’s not too late, actually, you’re right on time! It’s time to create your future based on the knowledge you have gained in your first half of life. All that’s left is to take your first step!
So many people think that they don’t have control over their future once they find themselves in the midst of midlife. We want to change all of that.
The Back Forty teaches that:
“The only way you will ever be able to create your own radical future of play, passion, and purpose is by enabling yourself to have a say over how life will go from here on out.”
– Darrell Gurney, Co-Founder of The Back Forty
Take a moment to think about that. How many times have you caught yourself thinking that you are who you are or that you can’t change the path of your life?
The Back Forty teaches that you have a say over how your life will go. You can control your future, if you just take the time to invest in it. The second half of your life can be full of playfulness, passion, and purpose. You just have to decide that you want it to.
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
In our Back Forty, the second half/best half of life, it’s easy to make statements like “this is just the way I am”, “been there, done that” or “I see where this is going”…because, face it, we’ve been around the block a few times, yes?
However, when we come from all the infinite “wisdom” that we’ve amassed, it can actually restrict us because we rest on fixed and immovable opinions about ourselves, our world and what we perceive (from our also amassed and very logical interpretations) as possible and what’s not.
I recently began to explore my “mood of being” in the world as I play my Big Game Back Forty Future and noticed that, even as the pieces of my game puzzle are falling into place in wonderful ways, I was carrying around a resident mood of hard work and struggle.
It showed up like this: no matter that more and more manifestations of good were showing up with ease and grace according to my game, I was using other outside venues to be “frustrated”: traffic on the freeway, customer service issues with vendors, and various other so-minor-they’re-laughable problems.
A friend in my Back Forty Community suggested that I take the time to actually be “present” to all the good happening, to actually drive in peace as I focus on how good life is becoming, and to watch my tendency to bring old patterns into my life just because I’m used to them (e.g., venting when various issues arise with phone, internet, services, etc.).
I saw that I was in a new place, where life is really good and getting better and better. Yet, I hadn’t let go of old, perhaps subconscious, patterns I adopted when working to “get there.”
It had me realize that I’m probably not the only one who – coming into what can be “the best is yet to come” part of life – might be carrying forward certain undistinguished ways of being adopted from past situations and circumstances of life.
If we’re to really fulfill on this second half/best half of “what we came here to do”, then being able to play in the PRESENT is critical.
Perhaps “presence” has three aspects we can consider.
One is our actually being “present”, which means not only staying out of the past and future so as to be in this moment with the people we’re with right now…but also being present to our internal state of thoughts, feelings and emotions vs. projecting them.
Another is the “presence” we bring of our Self into any situation. The small s “self” rarely brings the same value that our big S “Self” affords.
Yet one more is the “Presence” which we allow to move through and guide us, whatever we consider that bigger-than-us intelligence to be. It’s actually one of the “7 Critical Embraces for a Radical Second Half”, the tag line of our upcoming book, “The Back Forty”, and the content of our INFUSE Program.
Your Big Game Back Forty Future will require all of YOU just as it will require all of me. If we consider that the first half of life was just R&D, research and development, to only DISCOVER who we really are and what we came here to do, a renewed relationship with presence is required.
“Presence is more than just being there.”
– Malcolm Forbes
Ever accomplish a goal (or not) and have a big blank space in front of you?
Sometimes there’s even a post-featal downturn in mood, when the juice of the previous activity drive has ceased surging without replacement.
It’s then when our best ingenuity is called for: actually creating what comes next.
To generate and invent a future to live into — and then to be empowered (vs. diminished) by the gap that shows up — is the ultimate creativity.
It’s the games people play that create life and living.
Where can you intentionally generate an empowering gap to live into today?
Got generation gap?
“It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.”