I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things in life. One of those is that a good sense of humor goes a long way. There are things that I did when I was younger that I no longer do. I probably shouldn’t have stopped doing some of those. Then there are things I do now that I’d never have dreamt of doing in the past. The point is, we are still constantly changing and evolving and it’s not the time to head to the rocking chair on the front porch. Here are a few tips for making the most of your mid-life.
Adventure. Everyone needs an adventure at some time in your life when it really does something for you. Take that trip to Europe or to the coast. Do it with a friend or alone, but get out there and see something and do something you’ve never done before.
Be Brave. That orange and tan blouse that you think is too loud? Do it. Buy it. Wear it proudly. It says I am confident and I don’t care what you think because I like it! Step outside of your box and be free!
Confidence. It should exude from you by this age. You know what you are capable of, what you are willing to do and how to sell yourself. So, don’t sell yourself short! If you aren’t feeling it, fake it, but do it with confidence!
Date. If you aren’t married, you need to be out there dating. I don’t mean picking up someone at a bar or club. I mean asking someone out that you know. Maybe it’s a lunch date with a friend, a wine and paint party with a group of friends, or a date to learn to sky dive. Don’t depend on a friend to set you up with men. At this age, most guys could be losers that they dated or someone they know dated, or divorced for a reason. Widowers are often a good choice because chances are they at least knew what it was to have a good relationship. Just do a casual day date for coffee or an evening with a movie and dinner. No pressure, just friends. See where it goes. If you are married, chances are your marriage could stand a little revving, so ask hubby out on a date. Do something you both enjoy, free of cell phones, kids, grandkids or outside interference. Just the two of you and a lot of romance. Either way do not sit at home and watch your life go by without you actively participating in it.
Enjoyment. Do something just because you enjoy it, not because you have to or it’s expected. It might mean taking your shoes off and walking in the grass or sitting by a quiet lake in the sunlight. Maybe take up scuba diving or join a book club. It might be good music, a fire in the fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate with your legs wrapped in a fake fur throw. Whatever it is, take the time to renew, refresh and rejuvenate.
Food. It is not your enemy. It is a staple of life. Most of your life you’ve worried about every bite that passed your lips. Find something scrumptious (you don’t have to go crazy) and decadent and eat it without the guilt. Savor it, relish it, and here’s the tough part, swallow! It didn’t stop the world or kill you. Now go back to eating well and healthy until you feel the need to indulge again. Just don’t let it happen too often.
Grace. As a verb it means to do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence. As a noun it can mean a) simple elegance or refinement of movement or b) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. One way or the other, be worthy of graciousness.
Heroine. No, not the drug, the person. Be someone’s heroine by being a mentor, rescuing an animal, or joining a cause. You still have time to make a difference in the world. Don’t pass it up.
Ignorance. It is not bliss. It is not excusable. Re-evaluate some of the things you’ve taken a stand on whether it’s religion, politics, or sex and open yourself to new possibilities. Question whether or not you’ve picked up some new things along the way and now take a different approach. Maybe you’ve been missing out on something because you didn’t allow yourself to go there. You might be in a great place, the right place for you, but make sure that it is really how you want to be. If you can’t give a good reason to feel the way you do, it’s time to do a changeup. Regrets are one of the hardest things to go back and fix when it’s all said and done.
Jealousy. What a waste of time and energy. It doesn’t matter if a co-worker has a great marriage, 2.5 kids and a beautiful home. Good for her. Maybe she’d trade places with you if she could. If you want something someone else has, then go out and get it for yourself, but being jealous of another person is just spending time and energy better spent on taking care of you. You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors and that seemingly perfect scenario might be anything but.
Kissing. It is not overrated. It goes well with hugs. You’ve had years of practice and are probably pretty good at it. It’s a great way to reconnect with your spouse when things just get too crazy to spend time together. It’s personal and intimate and yet, doesn’t usually cross any lines for propriety’s sake. I don’t suggest you just go around kissing strangers. They do tend to frown on that. Sloppy wet kisses from kids are nice too.
Love. Now that’s worth the time and energy. Love yourself, love your family and friends. Love whatever catches your fancy. You have a lot to give and it will make the world a better place. Show that love in the things you do and the way you behave. Enjoy the exuberance of loving things. It’s ok to love Rocky Road ice cream, disco and your husband, all at the same time. It’s even ok to admit it.
Money. Either you have it or you don’t. By this time there is probably very little that you NEED, but still a few wants left to satisfy. Whether it’s an expensive car, a charity you want to support, or a trust fund for your grandchildren, if you have it to work with, then just do it. If you don’t have it, make what you have count. Lighten the load by unloading. Do you really need all of those earthly possessions? Have a garage sale and make some money. Could you do better in a smaller house or a different place? Do what it takes to make life more comfortable.
Niceties. Ah, the niceties of life. Maybe you are tired of always being the nice one or the one who thinks of others first, but it is important. Sometimes people around us have come to expect us to always be the one who takes care of something. If you don’t do it, they may be totally lost. If you want to stop, at least give fair warning and offer training to take over. Remember a smile, a listening ear and a few kind words go a long way without putting an unnecessary burden on you.
Openness. Be open to new things. Don’t get stuck in a rut and think you are done learning or experiencing new things. Fall in love with something or someone. Get out of your comfort zone by doing something you thought you never could. Look for answers and forgiveness. Be ready to forgive.
Potential. Have you truly lived up to your potential? If you reached many of your goals, tackle a new one. It’s not unusual for women today to have two or three careers. Crack open untapped gifts and talents you may have left unused.
Quitting. Quit being so hard on yourself. Quit doing things you hate to do. Quit pushing yourself so much. But don’t be a quitter. What?? Don’t give up easily because it’s harder to do something now. Know the difference.
Rest. Put your feet up, take a nap, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Be a couch lizard for a little while. It is impossible to keep up the pace you did when you were younger, so stop trying to. Your body and mind will start to betray you if you burn the candle at both ends. If you want to be your best, treat yourself well.
Sex. You aren’t dead yet, remember that. Be sexy and feel sexy. It is perfectly reasonable to expect your sex life to be good well into your 70’s or even 80’s if you stay active and take care of yourself. If there is a medical reason that things are not going well in that area, see a doctor. You might need a hormonal boost or some other treatment that will allow you to resume intimacy. It is still a great stress reliever and a good way to feel alive. Dig through the pjs and find that red teddy!
Time. It will feel like you just don’t have the time to get things done. It seems to be going much faster than it ever did. Don’t race the clock. You will miss too much. It can be your friend or your enemy. Make every moment count. Don’t put things off because they might never happen.
Understanding. We have seen a lot, been through a lot and know a lot. Use some of what you’ve learned to share with others and to help them through difficult times. It is amazing what you can learn to be tolerant of, as well as, what you refuse to tolerate anymore. A little understanding goes a long way in family, friendships and in the workforce.
Victory. See the victory in everything you accomplish from the not so perfectly decorated birthday cake to the job promotion to the 5K you competed in but couldn’t finish. The win is in the attempt, not necessarily reaching the goal.
Wellness. Mind body and spirit. If you find you are not taking care of these three things, it will affect your entire life. It is so important to keep each of these cared for and well fed. Take up yoga, do service work, read more and eat well, whatever you need to do to keep a balance in your life. We are no good for anyone else, if we don’t keep things balanced.
X-rays. At this age, sometimes it’s the only way to find out if you genuinely need to treat an injury. You won’t recover as quickly anymore, so the right treatment is the best way to go. We tend to put off doctor visits, believing it will just go away. There is no sense causing yourself more problems down the road from not taking care of something when it was needed. That way when you are ready to trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro, you’ll be good to go.
Yawns. Doing that a lot is a signal for two different things. Either you aren’t getting enough oxygen from being sedentary or you are downright tired. Take a walk, get up and move, change activities to increase your oxygen levels. If that doesn’t work, resort to napping. Naps are good. Naps are recharging your batteries. Taking a quick doze can give you a fresh start to everything you are doing or taking a long one on a Sunday afternoon gives you that much needed rest to get through the coming week. Find out if you might have sleep apnea.
Zeal. Never lose your zeal for life. As long as you can still get excited about things, look forward to things, try new things, life will never be boring. Share that joie de vivre with everyone!