Finding purpose in the second half of life
Reflecting on meaning and purpose in your 40s or 50s is no small thing.
It's a process of discovery that requires courage and a serious level of honesty with yourself.
It's all too easy to bail from this self-enquiry or pretend it doesn't matter.
You joke about a 'mid-life crisis', using humour to avoid feeling fear and anxiety.
You distract yourself by working too hard, or drinking too much or by grabbing your phone as soon as you feel a pang of, well anything really, flatness, emptiness, impatience, irritability. Often all of them.
In my experience, it pays to slow down and give what you're going through the respect it deserves.
A first step can be to turn towards your uncomfortable feelings and experience them for what they really are.
The instinct is to pull away, but progress lies in moving closer.
It's a truism, but the only way out really is through.
You can do some of this work alone, but it often takes working with a skilled coach or therapist.
On the other side of this meeting with yourself is fresh energy, a feeling of expansiveness - a renewed alignment with who you really are and how you show up in the world.
You outgrow some of the ways you thought you had to be to get on.
And become more accepting of the truth that you can't control everything - that life is inherently uncertain.
There's a real power in this more grounded, authentic way of being.
Over time, you trust more of your intuitions. And new possibilities arise.
Don't expect this mid-life development to be something that happens overnight though.
Often it can take months or even years.
But it's worth it.
Start by taking seriously questions like these:
What is the work that is mine to do?
Where's the drive to fit in still holding me back?