The largest generation in the history of the world was born between 1946 and 1964. How large is this group? In the United States alone, we are talking about 78 million people. Among them is Jaclyn Smith pictured above at age 62.
We affectionately call them Baby Boomers, and they have had a major impact on society during their passage through every stage of life so far. Currently, this group is passing through the stage known as midlife. Let’s take a closer look at “midlife” and consider some of the challenges and opportunities associated with it.
What is midlife?
“Midlife is the old age of youth and the youth of old age.” -Proverb
Any attempt to define midlife solely by chronological parameters would be extremely shortsighted. For one thing, increased longevity pushes midlife into an older age bracket. But midlife involves much more than physical age.
There is a vast array of physical and emotional changes that occur during this stage of life. There are also many circumstantial and perceptual changes that tend to happen during this same period of time. Like every other stage of life, the midlife years are about adjusting to change.
It can go either way!
Like so many other challenges, it’s often the negative aspects of some people’s midlife experience that gets all the attention. We have all heard the term “midlife crisis” used to describe the experiences of those who have gone nuts during this stage of life, often with disastrous results. While this can and does happen, things certainly don’t need to go in that direction.
When we are faced with changing circumstances it always represents a challenge on some level. There are those who choose to embrace the change and view it as an adventure, and there are those who are overwhelmed by it. We have the ability and opportunity to choose which category we want to be in.
A walk on the brighter side
Midlife has the potential to be one of the richest and most meaningful stages of life. It’s a time when knowledge, experience, and ability can reach their fullest expression. This is exactly the kind of adventure you should aim for.
Yes, there will be challenges, and lots of them. But by the time you arrive at midlife, you have already had decades of experience in facing and overcoming challenges. This is the time when all that experience pays off. This is the time when you reap the rewards of everything that came before.
What does it take to thrive in midlife?
Your focus will determine the quality of your journey through this time of life. Some people will focus on the past with a sense of loss. This kind of mindset will pave the way for disappointment. It’s like driving down the road with your eyes glued to the rear view mirror. Nothing good can come from it.
To enjoy the journey, you need to live in the moment while maintaining a sense of eager anticipation for whatever comes next. Focus on what you have, and on continuing to grow and improve as a person. If anything, personal development accelerates during midlife.
Put your knowledge to good use
Handled correctly, this can be the time of life when everything comes together. We should know our own minds fairly well by then. We will also have a pretty good understanding of who we are, and what really matters to us. That’s a huge advantage!
Midlife is also an excellent time to work on the inner person. If we haven’t learned who we truly are on a core level, this is the right time for that endeavor. Have we been too busy in the past to master the advanced life skills that make life a richly rewarding experience? It’s not too late for that either.
The best is still ahead!
With the right focus, we can approach midlife with the conviction that the best years of life are right now, and in the immediate future. Think of how much you have learned along the way. Think of all the wonderful experiences that are just ahead.
If you greet each day with a sense of deep gratitude and great expectation, then each day will be better than the one that came before. Personally, I plan on being a midlifer at least until age 70, and hopefully well beyond. As far as I am concerned, these truly are the good old days.
What’s your take on midlife?
How much depends on attitude?
The lines are open
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