The last two years my brown hair is turning grey rapidly and the first real wrinkles in my face are appearing. Not strange considering I’m over forty, but accepting these physical first signs of old age are hard. Especially when people around me start suggesting ‘natural’ hair dying. Luckily nobody mentioned botox yet, although in the area where I live botox and lip injections are more common than ageing naturally. Next to that I’m raising two teenage girls now, who are growing more independent each year. The process of liberation of me as their parent has kicked in and my ego isn’t getting the reward anymore as it was used to. My ego is suffering as well in the field of work accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong, I still like doing my work, but it is defining me less as a person. However my mind (ego) loves playing games with me on this topic of growing older as it wants to hold on to something familiar or instantly clings to something new. I’m definitely on a turning point in life; midlife.
Midlife part of human life’s journey
Inherently I know there are fases in my life’s journey. Life is a continuous progress. We all grow, develop and mature over time. As we grow older we should move from one stage into another stage and each stage shall have it’s valuable lessons. However midlife, more familiar as midlife crisis, has a bad connotation. But teens aren’t the only ones going through awkward transition phases, we adults deal with it too. Even we women have our midlife moments, just re-watch the episodes of Sex and the City. Most likely the serie was a huge success because we recognised some of the awkward life moments of Carrie and her friends.
When googling stages of life I found stages ranging from infancy, childhood and adolescence to adulthood, midlife and death. Developing an understanding of the different stages of life can help to better explain human life and the challenges it presents. The site that resonated the most was a description of 4 stages, mentioning that each stage can act as a trap as well:
- Stage I: Play, Imitation and Education
Birth – Infancy – Childhood – Adolescence
- Stage II: Self-Discovery, Enterprise & Adventurousness
Adolescence – Early Adulthood – Adulthood
- Stage III: Dedication, Contemplation & Benevolence
Adulthood – Midlife – Mature Adulthood
- Stage IV: Retirement, Wisdom & Renunciation
Late Adulthood – Death
Crisis or necessity?
So according to the author of the above journey, a grown-up person can mentally still be trapped in the first three stages of life. Which makes me wonder. Am I ready to start decluttering my life and prepare myself for the next stage? The last two or three years I was resisting change not knowing what could replace my work & life ambitions. Would my life become meaningless if I was to admit that I realised the majority of my goals? That I’m no longer striving for much more. Because there is a big gap between the ambitions I had as a 25-year old and the 43-year old woman I am today. I’m content with a) the house I live in, with b) the career I have and c) the way I’m able to provide for my daughters. They are both turning into great young women. In certain occasions I’m allowed to guide them through the stages of their lives. But how to redefine myself? With my former 25-year old view on the world. Having no career ambition left meant the same as being dead without dying yet. And that projection explains my resistance. Unknowingly I had become a dead-woman walking and so I had to change my perspective on life.
Now, there is one big ambition I haven’t accomplished yet; my financial retirement at the age of 50. At the start of my working career I already had my retirement in mind (begin with the end in mind as Stephen Covey would say). I decided to ‘retire’ much earlier than the Dutch gouvernement had in mind, I aimed at the age of 50. At 50 both my children have left the nest and the obligations and responsibilities for my (young) family and the growth of my career to be able to provide for them shall cease to exist. And thus my role in life shall change drastically from that moment on. A new generation will rule the world. More and more I’m getting to peace with the next stage in life and actually begin to look forward to it. Less obligations, responsibilities and insecurities and enough time to still enjoy life wholeheartedly.
50, here I come!