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!
“The days blur into one, and the backs of my eyes hum with the things I’ve never done.”
The term “radical” can raise our antennae and suspicions. It carries the energy of dramatic shift, and implies extremes.
Yet, the idea of extremities is only the word’s secondary definition. The primary definition is about going to the root of something, a fundamental shift.
Radical Forgiveness, Radical Happiness, Radical Restarts…all imply a going deeper than the surface norm by getting to the core of the thing itself.
To impact the drift of life often requires a radical wake-up, because it’s just too easy to stick to the norm. You hear of folks who took on whole new ways of living after sudden health scares, near-death experiences, etc.
The question is: do we need to wait for such an external wake-up?
I like the idea of fomenting a crisis proactively, meaning self-inflicting the urgency for shift before the shift hits the fan.
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that your body was about to give out next week for lack of care? How would your diet, fitness and sleep program look this week?
Alexandra and I recently looked at the logic-of-the-moment vs the generally-accepted-wisdom around sleep.
In the moment, there simply seems to be no choice but to get less sleep so that “everything can get done.” Yet, there’s the joke itself: everything will NEVER get done! And, allowing that thought pattern to continue – with sleep taking the hit from overzealous engagement – means that bodily rest becomes the red-headed, disregarded stepchild.
The generally accepted wisdom today, touted by many inspirational leaders and health experts, is that 7 hours is the minimum of sleep we need…for a boatload of reasons. So, the facts are in, and it’s just the question of “in the moment” whether we can go against our skewed logic and trust the facts. Who knows how much more alert, acute and astute we may become with solid nights of sleep under our belts?
So, we’ve taken on a commitment to our second half/best half of life including what seems like illogical sleep habits because if, as we say in The Back Forty, “we have yet to do what we came here to do”, we need the healthy bodies required to house the spirits to do that!
There can be many areas in which to foment radical change:
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that this job you’ve been hating will definitely end in a month? How would your career change efforts look then?
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that something is brewing under the surface with your mate that will have him/her leave soon? How would your efforts to communicate alter immediately?
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that your croaking was imminent, definitely within the year? What bucket list items or purpose fulfillment would you take on right now?
Consider this an invitation to look into your own life and foment your own crisis. It’s a real opportunity to put yourself in the driver’s seat of The Back Forty kind of life you want to live.
Here’s a few easy steps you can take to create some radical change in your own life. Start with one thing, and then apply it to others after you’ve had success.
Identify an area you’ve been nattering about, something you say you want to change but it keeps on keeping on just as it is.
Is it your work? Is it a relationship issue (either inside of one or wanting one)? Is it that “thing” you keep saying you’ll do – write the book, devote time to that charity, schedule a vacation, take that course?
Whatever it is, just find the top, most juicy thing you’re very logically convinced can’t happen yet.
Now, of course, I don’t mean to really kill yourself, but in your mind.
Consider that it’s all over now. Whatever you considered so important and critical that you simply couldn’t do that “thing”…all those reasons are now gone.
You exited the planet. Maybe you exited without having done that “thing”. How does that feel?
Maybe you exited the planet BECAUSE you didn’t do that “thing”? How does that feel?
Whoa! You just had a near-death experience! How radical was that?
Did you see light? Did you start through a tunnel? Did you hover over your body a while inside a peaceful state of ease and grace?
Well, whatever your experience, you’re back…back in this body, back in this life, and back with all of the same stuff and challenges and opportunities you left with.
What will you do about that “thing” now?
Consider that it’s time to get radical! Yes, you have all the time in the world…and yet not a moment to waste!
Frank Sinatra sings “The best is yet to come and, babe, won’t it be fine.” Let’s make Frankie right, ok?
“If you want to make any radical change in your life, then either give it a clear date and time or do it today. There is no someday.”