There are significant life events most people experience and we look at them as milestone or thresholds. The milestones happen at predictable ages from 18 to 65. The life stages seem irrelevant as some people have more energy and others have less. Are you feeling exhausted at the thought of what’s next?
Let’s take a look at the milestones:
According to Gail Sheehy, author of Passages and New Passages, early in their careers, baby boomers got used to having two things: Choice and Control. When things get rough, “people in their forties are likely to feel more out of control than ever.”
Today that doesn’t seem to be the case. Many people feel out of control at every age unless they take measures to be more in control of their lives. You can let things happen and without having a backup plan, you will feel out of control.
Sheehy’s research indicated the major influence on the sense of well-being for women in their fifties is not money or social class or marital status, it’s that “Older is happier.”
The same is not true for men who experience more uncertainty in middle life than women. Studies at the University of California at Berkeley indicated that men and women who emerge psychologically healthiest at 50 are those who “shape a new self that calls upon qualities that were dormant earlier.” In other words, the passage in the fifties and beyond can be made more positively by finding your passion and pursuing it.
Now comes the time to make the choice between passive aging and what gerontologists call “successful” aging. Successful aging is to make a conscious commitment to continue self-education and development of a new set of strategies. Resilience and an ability to respond to life’s accidents and conflicts without blaming or bitterness are qualities that serve those in this life stage.
The comfort of mature love and a continued excitement about life both factor into a sense of well-being. And for those who compartmentalized their nurturing selves and achieving selves earlier in life, grandparenthood can offer a rich second change to bring both into harmony.
To fare well during this stage of life is to let go of that which doesn’t matter and focus on a few fine-tuned priorities. Those who thrive live in the present but always have plans for the future.
Rather than focusing on time running out, this life stage says live in the moment. Accept that which cannot be changed—loss is inevitable. But life has so much more. The sixties, seventies and beyond are times of spiritual growth.
We have noticed that the wisdom gained from personal self-development gives you the wisdom of elder years earlier in life. Whether that’s based on experiences of the loss earlier in life or wanting a life that’s rich at a younger age.
Today many people struggle with what’s next. You can wait for the milestone to come and reflect on what you’ve missed out on as if the half-empty glass is your fate or plan to fill the glass so it’s overflowing.
No one has the answer for how many milestones you’ll be able to enjoy. It’s filling each day with the joy and purpose that fill life to live without regret. The choices and control you had at 40 are still available at 50 and 60 and 70. When you’re choosing to add more to your life to fill your life to overflowing and enjoying the life you create.
I hear from many baby boomers that they can’t make a change. Yes, you can. It takes preparation and planning and you can be in control of the life you desire. Plan your next milestone year with all you desire. You’ll be pleased with the results.