If you knew your time left on earth was limited, would you change your current routine? If the answer to that question is yes then consider yourself warned; your time is limited. Everyone's is. Although I turned 51 a few months ago, some days I feel like I am still that kid in high school who was contemplating what she should write in answer to the question: What do you think your life will be like 10 years from now?
Back then ten years sounded like a lifetime away. It was hard to imagine specifics in my life -- I wasn't even positive which direction I would head as I went off to college. My truthful answer was that in ten years I hoped I'd be happily married to the man of my dreams, with kids and a house, & money in the bank. I don't think I wrote that because I felt the pressure to add more to it, like the plan for my career to ensure I was successful, independent and responsible. Trouble was I couldn't really see my future as anything specific, just the desire to be happy.
In my effort to get through college spending the least amount of money I could, I graduated with a degree in Journalism with a heavy emphasis on Marketing & Advertising. After graduation I sort of fell into a 30 year career based on connections I made via a temporary summer job. Marrying the man of my dreams, that took a little more work, although I recognized him almost immediately after walking into the lobby of my college dorm. Trouble was, he didn't reciprocate my feelings right away. In the end it all worked out. And so did me graduating early from college and him graduating one semester late---which put us college graduates at the same time, engaged 4 months later, then married one year later. Perfect. We became home owners after one year of marriage and our first child came 12 years after I graduated from high school. I missed the mark on my original ten year plan by a little there.
In retrospect I had accomplished all I had set out to achieve by the time I reached my mid forties. But all that planning and achieving left me unprepared to face what came next ---now that my "job" raising my kids was done, who was I? What did I want to do next? That is when I discovered what I really needed was to spend some time with myself, to tune into me.
If you are my age or even over 40 you might be facing some of the same questions right now. What comes next for you? If you were to sit down and do the passion test with me, it will more than likely show a focus inward (mine started around age 45), which makes most people feel they are being selfish, when in truth they need the "me" time to recalculate.
At some point after all the accomplishing it is necessary to begin focusing inward and living life for you, not living life as you think others want you to. We were taught by the generation before us that we could and should be able to do it all. Problems come when we get away from our true selves and begin living the life we think we should, and not the life that would make us happiest.
It took me a long while to understand that now it is time to play the role of ME. The role I was born to play --before I got swept up in a life of accomplishment and achievement. It was hard for me to begin to know how to "play" me again when I had lost touch with my true self. Having spent a year + digging in, I understand what so many others now face. If you are also finding yourself out of touch and overwhelmed, please consider taking a personal growth class, hiring a life coach or attending a vision board workshop with a group of your friends to help get you started on the road to rediscovering the authentic you.
Maybe you, like me, will find that once you get through the crap you will find that you actually like yourself, maybe even always have. It all starts with rediscovering what makes you tick, learning to accept yourself just as you are, and using that knowledge to direct what comes next.