It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now
Midlife can buoy you up or get you down. It definitely varies, depending on your attitude and how you feel day to day. If you’re looking for explanations about why your midlife often feels so unsettled, read Barbara Sher’s book, It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now.
Despite all the positives I found in this book, there’s one area that I disagreed with. Sher believes midlife starts at age 40 and goes until about age 60. Whenever you try to associate an age with specific thoughts or beliefs it just doesn’t work for me. We have our physical age and our mental age. And then we have our emotional age.
You’ll get more out of this book if you can set aside references to specific ages. Look at midlife as more of a spectrum of thoughts, beliefs and experiences. Don’t try to compare your age to her examples.
The book is divided up into 2 parts:
Book One: “Nature and Instinct: Your First Life”
Book Two: “Reclaiming Your Original Self: Your Second Life”
In Book One, Sher offers insights on what’s been causing you to feel conflicted about entering midlife. You’ll be challenged to change your ideas and offered exercises to help you look at your life in new ways. In addition, she spends time talking about how common it is to have a “midlife crisis.”
You’ll find that you need to think beyond the more commonly accepted views about a midlife crisis. She explains there’s more to it than sports cars and dressing like a 20 year old. Sher says midlife represents transition. All the discomfort and mixed emotions you feel, relate to your move through this transition. The bottom line is that you need to feel unsettled so that you can move forward.
She takes you through the common experiences of childhood and young adulthood to illustrate her points about understanding midlife transition. You’ll see that your experience in growing up wasn’t unique. In addition, you’ll discover that others often feel as conflicted about this stage of their life as you do.
In Book Two, you’ll find strategies for coping with all the changes associated with midlife. She suggests that it’s time to let go of the expectations and beliefs that guided you through the first half of your life. It’s the letting go that allows you to look forward to, and enjoy your midlife years. Again, she includes exercises to guide your thinking towards actions you can take to make the most out of this time in your life.
One of the quotes that I found inspiring was:
“So ignore conventional wisdom that advises you to focus only on what you already know. You should focus on what you already love. And if you haven’t found what that is, start opening up your life to new experiences.”
In the end, you’ll see how important it is to accept change and find ways to make it work for you.
If you’re looking for reasons why accepting your age is so difficult and wanting some answers about what to do about it, you’ll enjoy reading this book. Midlife often feels uncomfortable at times. It’s reassuring to know that feeling this way doesn’t only apply to you. And especially good to know is that there actually is something you can do to reframe your thoughts about it. After all, it’s only too late if you don’t start now.
People of all ages struggle to live a more meaningful life, but the struggle to identify a meaningful retirement is very real. Working with a certified retirement coach can help you frame what’s important to you and how to work towards it in order to find a meaningful life in retirement. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your journey and how we can help.