As young children, the beliefs we held about ourselves were formed from what our caregivers told us. We did not have the ability to filter information nor did we question what we were told by others. We simply took every word as truth because, developmentally, that’s what we were capable of doing.
During our school years, we were expected to conform. Conform to rules, routines, social norms, and even peer pressure. Yes, I’m making sweeping generalizations. But stick with me here.
We were told to stop daydreaming.
We were told what to make in art class.
We were told what books to read.
We took the exact same classes as everyone else regardless of our interest or talent.
We were told what we could and couldn’t do.
We were told no…a lot.
We were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, not who we wanted to be.
Then, off to college we went to become something, instead of following our dreams.
The first 20 years of our life were spent doing what we’re told or expected to do by others. The next 20-30 years were spent building the life, family, and career we thought we should. We collected things, lots and lots of things to fill the bigger spaces we attained.
Without warning, one day around the mid-life mark, we look in the mirror and are shocked by what we see. Signs of aging are beginning surface. This should be the pinnacle of life but what we are suddenly and keenly aware of is the lack of time remaining, the goals not achieved, and the dreams unfulfilled. We begin to question our identity and life’s purpose.
Some call this time a midlife crisis. I prefer to think of it as a midlife awakening. To this point in our life, we were focused on the outside world, what others expected of or needed from us. At midlife we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, find purpose and passion from within, and create our desired life.