”The goals you pursue in your second life, because they come from your deepest gifts and unimpeded by the obstacles of youth, can lead you to greatness.” – Barbara Sher
While sitting on the back deck, drinking a cup of coffee, I made the realization that the second part of life, the part after our youth is spent, after raising our children, after family obligations and taking a job to earn an income, is an abyss of personal responsibility. Yet, on the heels of this heavy thought of responsibility are the feelings of exhilaration, exuberance and excitement. This is my time, how will I spend it?
Being a late bloomer into the later life arena, I’ve wrestled with the awesome notion of being responsible for me, for my direction, my path, the creator of everything I want. Wow! Responsibility is really the act of being responsive rather than reactive. For many of us, our first part of life, from the time we were born until this realization sometime in our 40s, we react to what was going on. As children, we had not the intelligence, resources or means to respond, we did what our parents told us to do out of a primal existence that we needed to be taken care of, we didn’t make waves. Our teen years were spent trying to fit in, to feel connected and rarely did we respond with thoughtful responsibility, but out of another primal need, one to be part of the pack, to be accepted so we weren’t left behind.
Fast forward to our 20s/30s, and for many of us, thoughts of marriage settling down and raising children, all reactive to our culture, our family and sometimes without questioning if this was really what we wanted. Often, we were handed the idea to have children, get a job or a career, buy a house, purchase 2 cars, a dog (or a cat) and live the dream. We reacted, and did, yet frequently found ourselves unfulfilled, stressed, tense and overwhelmed trying to handle everything, particularly, figuring out where we fit it.
Perhaps there was a seed of doubt as to this isn’t quite what you wanted, but you quickly set it aside and plowed through daily life checking off boxes, feeling productive and accomplished, yet empty. Deep inside, we might feel guilty as we try to contain the Jack-in-the-Box feelings of this is not what I really want that pop up every so often. These feelings get tamped down, often not exploring them as we don’t have time to do so, and because of what might come up.
Our 40s arrive, and something gives. A dawn of realization that we’re aging and time is marching on arrives ferociously. As you linger in despair as seeing half your life gone, we wonder, now what? Our body is changing, pre-menopause kicks in, and if you haven’t had children and want them, you are feeling the ticking time bomb. It is during this turbulent crossroad, that the party is just beginning and you are the honored guest!
This second half of life begins to shape up as we’re able to drop being driven by pure instinct and obligation and wake up to a new, clearer and more purposeful life. It may not feel like it right now, but you are in the process of a magnificent transformation, one that lets you use all that energy to fuel different, long-lost goals and dreams.
Being young comes with lots of baggage, most of it around expectation, doing what’s right, and being someone that someone else thinks you should be. The second half of life is about you, putting you first, bringing everything you put on the back burner while frantically living and now shining a light on it. It’s a bit frightening, yet exhilarating to know that life does not end any longer at 40, 50 or even 60. This is a mighty transition, a powerful transformative time, yet is an explosive opportunity to reach our potential.
Coming of age in your 40’s (or 50’s even 60’s!), is about arriving into your second life, getting back to the real you, exploring your gifts, your uniqueness, the true essence of you – it’s about the complexity of where you’ve been, the subtleness and intensity of where you currently are and is loaded with revelation and insight into where you want to be. There are many stories of women leading their best lives, discovering their highest potential and being brilliant in the second life. You’re here, and its’s both a privilege and an honor to arrive to this magical time of your life.
Today, is a new beginning, it’s a beginning where you no longer have the urgent need to control the outcome, and you can be and are responsible for whatever you can do. Yes, there may be fears or things that need to happen, but your 40’s and beyond walks you on the path of gold for your second life. Think about it, you’ve lived 20, 30, or 40 years as an adult, experienced just about everything life can spring on you and survived. The second half of life is about you, what you want, how you now see yourself or want to see yourself, what would you like to experience. You’ve been there, done that, now is the time to find more clarity, more purpose and more of you and what you’re all about.
What will you do for your next second debut of life?