Links In This Episode: WAITLIST Midlife Re•Imagined, Design Your Next Best Chapter
Hello friends and welcome to The Midlife. Today I wanted to talk to you about the most wonderful time of the year. No, don’t worry, I’m not busting out the holiday decorations just yet. I do not subscribe to rushing through the year and not savoring each season for what it is. A few weeks ago I went to Costco and was shocked to see halloween costumes. I mean come on, can’t we enjoy back-to-school for a little bit? Which brings me to today’s topic.
I love the start of school more than I love the start of the new year. I’m sure it’s a carryover from being a kid because I really did like school. In retrospect, I didn’t really appreciate it enough and certainly could have studied more and procrastinated less, but you know, youth. I’m making up for lost time now.
There’s something to be said for fresh notebooks, pens and pencils. Ticonderoga in the box, yellow, with the flip top only, please. There is an air of optimism and renewed enthusiasm that this year, I’ll do all my reading assignments and start my papers early and not wait until the last minute to study for my tests. And even though none of that is personally relevant anymore, I still get the new school year butterflies.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am actually alone today. I work from home and it’s just me and Penny and it’s both quiet solitude and somewhat eerie.
The biggest boy went back to school over the weekend. Big sigh on that. The middle boy and little person are in person full time, hallelujah. For them as much as for me. Which leaves me my thoughts and a sense of renewal.
I want to suggest to you today that you take this opportunity to create a fresh starting point too. What goals and dreams have you been putting off? How can you improve your days to be able to go sleep every night with a sense of accomplishment?
The ladies going through my transformative course Midlife Re•Imagined, Design Your Next Best Chapter with me right now and I came up with a little slogan we’ve been throwing around often. “Live the shit out of today”. I thought you may want to borrow it as both a motto and a question to ground yourself with. Use it as an intention in the morning as an assessment tool when you go to bed. And the more you focus on expecting a full life, the more full your life will become.
I know it’s not easy. I was going to say “right now” but the truth is, it’s always something so why do we let all the outside things get in the way of living your best life now? Of course I’m never talking about the catastrophic horribleness that people, maybe you, have to deal with at times. If you or a loved one are sick or you are fighting through a loss, you get a pass from ALL of my pep talks and I’m here for you when you get to the other side of those challenges.
For the other 99% of us, I’m suggesting it’s time to stop allowing the uncontrollable to derail your pursuit of happiness and purposefulness. For those of you new to the podcast, I didn’t just misspeak; I subscribe to a policy of purposefulness, not purpose and you can listen to Episode 22 for clarity.
So how about you join me in the start of the new school year and start living the shit out of your life?
Sounds great in theory but how do you actually do that and why does the prospect of actually doing what you want to do paralyze you?
Some thoughts, if I may. The paralysis is actually the programming we’ve had installed that says follow the path. Don’t question where it leads. Don’t look up.
I want you to imagine me hiding in the bushes as you are walking that worn path, jumping up and down and yelling to get your attention. You hoo, over here. Snap out of it.
I hear a lot of “I don’t know what I want to do, I just know it’s not this”. I know that’s an honest answer in the moment but also, I want to challenge you to start asking the tough questions and allowing your truth to reveal itself. I know it’s scary. But imagine leading a life that is deliberate instead of reactionary. Be a gymnast on a balance beam instead of a soccer goalie. You instigate the motion, the moves and the result, you don’t wait to defend against what’s thrown at you.
You don’t have to have a perfect plan and you don’t have to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. But if you are feeling stuck, under utilized, bored or lonely, you have got to alter your reality. You have got to set some goals.
The cost of doing nothing is the assurance that you will feel exactly as you do now a year from now, five years from now, maybe forever. If that made your stomach drop and you broke out in a cold sweat. You’re welcome. I want more for you and I want you to want more for yourself. And I want you to understand that you are completely empowered to change your life, change the attitude you wake up with in the morning, and change your feeling of satisfaction when you go to bed at night.
I do want to make a distinction about feeling satisfied at day’s end. That does not mean you crossed everything off some crumpled todo list. It means that you achieved meaningful steps towards your personal goals in many different aspects of your life. A full life isn’t just success at work, or just tending to your family. It includes time with friends, personal learning, health and exercise. Maybe for you it includes your faith or community service. It means showing up at a cocktail party, if we ever go to those things again, and having something interesting to say about the time that you have been gifted to live on this earth.
Here are the guidelines for your goals. There aren’t any.
Goals can be personal or professional. They can be absurdly large and audacious. They can be small and slightly goofy. What you’ll find though is that your sense of general day to day wellbeing will skyrocket when you’ve chosen something to work on or towards. Creating mini personal missions miraculously makes the outside chaos and the drama others create infinitely easier to deal with.
Let me give you a little mini assignment. Spend the next week filling in the blank of the following sentence. “If I could do anything, without thought of time, money or other people’s opinions, I’d_____.”
Write down as many things that pop into your head. Don’t judge the thoughts for realism or achievability. Just let the most creative piece of you spew out your deepest desires. No one is watching. No one is making you commit to any of them. Just let the thoughts flow.
I should warn you about a little side effect up front. Once you start allowing yourself to truly express what you want to accomplish in this life, you can’t turn it off. You will be bombarded with interesting idea after interesting idea and you’ll be slightly ashamed that you allowed yourself to get comfortable with stagnation when there is an entire world of learning and experiences available to you.
And maybe, just maybe, pick one. And make it your back-to-school focus. Who knows what you may accomplish by the end of the first semester?! Imagine what it will feel like to look back on this August day and see how far you’ve come.
And believe me, goal setting and success is addictive. So much so that you will see you don’t have time for the mundane things that occupy your time now.
This is a little window into the kind of work we are doing in Midlife Re•Imagined, Design Your Next Best Chapter. Our July cohort is finishing up next week and I couldn’t be prouder of the work these ladies have done to start building lives that they are excited about.
The next cohort of Midlife Re•Imagined, Design Your Next Best Chapter is opening up soon for the end of September. You can join the waitlist now and you’ll receive details about the program and how to enroll when it’s available. There’s a link in the shownotes and you’ll also receive a special worksheet download to get you thinking about where to start.
In the meantime, set the intention every morning that you’re going to live the shit out of today and confirm that you were true to yourself each evening by asking if you did.