“Whoever, in middle age, attempts to realize the wishes and hopes of his early youth, invariably deceives himself. Each ten years of a man’s life has its own fortunes, its own hopes, its own desires.” ~ Johann von Goethe
They are solid citizens, most often in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who businesses bank on for their loyalty and commitment. And they’re not happy. In fact, they’re burned out, bored, and bottlenecked. Past research reveals that only 33% of 7,700 people surveyed feel energized by what they do to earn a living; 36% say they’re in dead-end jobs, and one in five is looking for another.
Yet huge financial pressures, such as their mortgages, school tuition or paying for the care of elderly parents means they are unable to quit their jobs for a different lifestyle. Welcome to Middlescence. Like adolescence, it can be a time of frustration, confusion and alienation. But it can also be a time of self-discovery, new direction and fresh beginnings.
Today, millions of mid and end-career women and men are wrestling with middlescence – looking for ways to balance work, family, leisure and retirement while hoping to realize potential and new find meaning in their life.
This condition is happening to people at mature middle age who have found the dreams they had for themselves earlier in life have come up woefully short; their life, far from filling them with a positive sense of fulfillment is weighing on them with a nauseous lack of purpose. Removed from having increased certainty, they are tethered to a sense of hollow disappointment. There is often an existential “my life has no meaning” or “is this all there is?” element.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are innumerable ways to engage middlescents and their hunger for renewal, growth and reinvention.
Each of us has inner promptings – dreams, symptoms, feelings of satisfaction – that support or oppose our chosen course, or if we’re even more fortunate, our true calling. But many have learned how to override these promptings. What we often have to do is shed the expectations of others and our adaptations – and recover a relationship to what excites, generates energy, fires the imagination – then find the courage to risk being the individuals we are meant to be.
It is doable. I frequently see this transformation in my clients.
Forward looking is great but don’t discount the now. In fact, revel in the present! While you’re in the present, pro-actively plan for your “retirement” or whatever lifestyle transition you want. Give due thought to coupling your passion(s) with what you know; it’s a good place to start.
And remind yourself that every day is a new beginning; that every day you have an opportunity to create a better version of you. You can become Me 2.0, 2.1 (for smaller improvements), 3.0 (for bigger changes), etc. You don’t have to completely reinvent yourself, but you can work out the bugs and improve the operating system. Small steps fuel progress. Right?
Today, baby boomers and cuspers are reaching the age of 60 at the rate of one every seven seconds, This is why each of us needs a strategy, now, to work fewer hours, learn new skills, heed your calling, tap your life experience, further your education, pursue your dream(s), and focus – ultimately, on enjoying life.
Middlescence – will it trigger your new start?