Finding myself in this new, often strange “in between-place” of a midlife transition, I can’t help but wonder how I got here. One year I’m loving my long successful consulting career and then the next year, I’m aware I’m done, totally spent, declaring my career finito! This begs the bigger question in my mind, what are the forces which propel us from one place to another in our lives? I believe there are three primary forces which launch us into a new place or state of being.
The first force seems to come out of nowhere. We are literally “jolted” out of our present state by an event not of our own conscious choosing. After many years of marriage, a husband comes home and announces he doesn’t want to be married anymore. Our boss summons us into a conference room and we are told our job has been eliminated. Our best friend suddenly decides to move away to another state. You know what I mean. Our initial response is to sit dazed for awhile until the dust settles and we can wrap our mind around it.
The second force of change also shows up unexpectedly, but as a positive, great “opportunity”. We are suddenly drawn to something new and interesting. It seems to magnetically pull us out from our currently comfortable life. This could be an invitation to join a nonprofit board and you become passionately involved in their mission, instrumental in gathering resources to affect a positive change. It could be a long-single woman unexpectedly meets and falls in love with her perfect mate and decides to give marriage another chance. An opportunity could show up as a book idea one morning, and you suddenly begin to live a new, fascinating life of a writer/author. In situations like these, we feel positively drawn forward by an event, idea, or person and our lives are changed dramatically.
The third force initially feels like a slow, deliberate energy shift or “transition” over time gently moving you in an entirely direction. Barely perceptible, small, incremental changes in activities, interests, and decisions, slowly send us on a new path or into a new direction. It is like that lobster in a pot of cold water on the stove, never noticing over time the water begins to boil. I’d always enjoyed short morning runs, which over time became a bit longer and faster. Then one day I started signing up for half-marathons, thereby becoming a “runner”. It could be like a friend of mine who enjoyed beading, creating bracelets and necklaces. Her keen interest in beads, color and composition lead her to Italy to take classes in Murano glass bead-making and she now creates exquisite art pieces. Such change typically occurs over a longer period of time and is not necessarily in response to a singular, discernible event.
Whichever force sends us to a new place in our lives, it is best we sit for awhile as the sun rises over the change, get comfortable with the change, relax and enjoy this new view and appreciate where you are.
Agree or disagree, we encourage you share your perspectives and experiences with our community. We’d love to hear which force has moved you recently.