Does Your Life Feel Like an Adventure?
My friend and I spend time, as all mothers do, discussing our children and we recently ruminated on how, at the stage in their lives when they are striking out on their own, life seems like an adventure and how, at this stage in our lives as empty nesters, life seems, well less of an adventure.
Is This All There Is?
In our 20’s we set about seizing the things we think will make us happy. It is usually around the age of 35 to 50 that most adults take stock of themselves and their lives. By now we have experienced in one form or another, to some degree, the conditions common to being human; acceptance/rejection, fear/courage, gain/loss, success/failure, etc. There is really nothing new ‘out there’ to experience, just more variations on the same themes. We have achieved some degree of security by this point, but still have the sense that security is not permanent. Here we also begin to ponder our mortality, we are now midway between our birth and our death. Which makes us consider the ultimate question, is this all there is? This pondering, I believe, is built into our individual evolution. It is a guaranteed query dropped in every one’s life at some point and even at many points.
How Do We Make Our Lives the Adventure It Used to Be?
There are many ways, tried and true and some yet to be invented, I’m sure, to go about making life feel like more of an adventure once we’ve been around a bit. I’ve whittled it down to the most general three:
1) Make sudden shifts in your outside world.
- Do things like get a big red sports car, have an affair or quit your job.
2) Work hard to hang onto current lifestyle and modes of thinking and feeling, refusing to ponder the existential questions.
- Doing this may require mood enhancements like gambling, shopping, alcohol, sex, drugs, etc. in ever increasing amounts to either feel like life is stimulating enough or in order to feel numb to gnawing discontent.
3) Go within.
- Come to terms with who we really are, how we got here and what it is we really desire in our remaining future.
- Shift our focus from the outside – accomplishing, acquiring and achieving (seeking outside validation) to the inside—emotions, thoughts, experiences.
- Consider that life can be an adventure, even magical and that it's never too late.
A Life of Adventure Requires Courage
We will be expending energy doing any variation/combination of the above mentioned. The energy invested will have different payoffs. It takes courage to go within and admit who we really are and what we really want. It takes courage to acquire a new perspective. It takes courage to be our real selves.
Mid-life can be a crisis or a gift.
Mid-life, like your kids leaving home, sudden job loss, divorce or death of a loved one can be seen as opportunities for change and growth disguised as catalytic events. These events define us as either defeated or resilient. They can be a crisis of personal security or a gift of change.
Some people (not many) are capable of making large mindset and behavior changes all on their own. Most, however, myself included, require some kind of structure and definitely support.
Are you in it? I’d love to hear about it.
Need suggestions or support? firstname.lastname@example.org