There is no doubt that we go through many transition times, and midlife transitions are no exception.
The Midlife Transition of the Empty Nest
One huge challenge is facing the empty nest; after years of giving your all to your children and preparing them for their flight into the world with confidence, you may be asking yourself, “What’s next?” or “What purpose do I have now?” Simultaneously feeling proud and excited for them and their future and wishing they were small again, so you had more time with them.
Or perhaps you are ready for them to charter the world alone, and you are excited for your next chapter and time to put yourself first.
Menopause is a Midlife Transition
For women, the transition towards menopause is huge, throwing up many different challenges for each individual. How do you navigate those changes and keep yourself and those around you sane? Perhaps needing to change up your whole wellness routine to reduce stress, eat nutrition-rich food, and exercise to help you sleep better at night and reduce the ups and downs.
Reevaluating your life in Midlife
Midlife also is a transition in itself around reevaluating what is important to you in your life. The earlier part of our lives, we spend learning and gaining qualifications, building our careers, getting married and having children, and buying a family home to settle in.
Then at midlife, you start to evaluate the second part of your life. There may be something missing that is an integral part of your fulfillment. What you had before is no longer enough, and I don’t mean financially or the ‘things’ that you have. At midlife, we start to be more connected spiritually. What you have been striving for all these years may not have the same meaning.
You may want to switch careers to something more meaningful, start a business to share your passion, or explore the world and different cultures.
Your priorities have changed.
What is a Transition?
By definition, a transition has three stages; the first stage is losing something that you can’t get back; it’s gone forever, and what was will never be the same. If you think of this concerning your adult child leaving home, they will be back for visits, but you know that you won’t have that 100% time with them again in the same way. What went before is no longer possible.
In the example of a career change, you might not feel the same fulfillment you did when you were younger; what worked for you before is not working for you now. There is no going back and resurrecting that passion that came so easily earlier on in your life.
The ‘not knowing’ transition stage
The next stage is the ‘not knowing’ – or messy middle stage. And this has no time rules. The length of time each person spends in this stage is varied and can’t be rushed. It’s a time of processing, of grieving, of gradually coming to terms of what’s next.
A time of contemplation.
And it is very uncomfortable. No one wants to feel unsettled, not to know what the future holds, unhappy, lost. Not having a plan, purpose or focus.
But it helps to a certain extent to realize that this is normal.
When you have so much uncertainty and ‘not knowing’ it can negatively affect your state of mind. This is a time to be self-compassionate and treat yourself with the love and kindness you nurture your children or close friends with.
Give yourself a break when you are having a tough day; you will get through it. In this stage it helps to make yourself a list of things that bring you joy, that can raise your spirits and help you move forward one step at a time towards the third stage of transition.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Then the third stage of transition is finally when you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, see the possibilities of the future, and start moving towards them.
You are ready now to start making plans and goals and taking steps towards them.
There is no rushing through midlife transitions; the key is finding joy, giving yourself compassion, and showing yourself kindness. Work out tools that help you sit with the unknown, and you will get closer and closer to that light at the end of the tunnel until one day, you break out into a sunny day, ready again to take on the world.
To fully embrace life!