Written by: Clarissa Kristjansson, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Do you ever get stuck or stumble over your words when someone asks you what you want to do when you retire? Yeah. Me too, partly because I’m not planning to retire in the traditional sense. After years of putting everyone else’s needs before mine, it was tough for me to focus on what I wanted. Especially when I had been busy just doing life.
How was I supposed to reinvent myself in midlife if I don’t even know who I wanted to be or what my passions were? I knew I wanted to be happy and to have purpose, but I wasn’t not sure what that looked like.
Social media feeds make it look easy, don’t they? The whole concept of manifestation. Envisioning and affirming the life you want and then poof, it magically comes to be. But you and I know there are a lot more steps in between that they aren’t telling us, right? Like say, work? We haven’t got to this point in our lives without realizing that you have to work for what you want. Sure, some things come easier to some than others, but all in all, we all must put one foot in front of the other to propel ourselves forward. I have no problem with work. It is a direction that I seem to lack.
I did know that I had a strong feeling that the life I was living right at this moment wasn’t me. A little part of me, but most of me wanted more than existing in that time in between work, life and death. I wanted to embrace my post-menopausal years with zest as I shed responsibilities to others and blossom into a life fulfilling my soul purpose.
So how do you pivot yourself in midlife? Especially when you don’t have a clue what to do. It all starts with eliminating what you don’t want, thereby allowing what ultimately makes you happy, come to the surface.
The following steps helped me, and maybe they can help guide you through that process of uncovering how or where to reinvent yourself.
1. Declutter and Clean Your Home and Mind.
For most people, and I’m one of them, it’s impossible to think in a messy or chaotic environment. After living in the same home for a decade, I had surrounded myself with a lot of stuff. And not necessarily stuff I liked or needed anymore.
The process of decluttering and cleaning allows you the time and mind space to weed out those things that no longer serve you and make decisions about what brings you joy. It’s a process. As you go through and consciously decide what stays and what goes, you are not just cleaning your physical space, but also help your mind prepare for the process of reinventing yourself.
2. Evaluate Your Relationships.
You have heard the saying that you are the average of the five people you interact with daily, right? Who are your five? Are they who you want to be? Do they make you strive to be better? Can you see yourself as friends in your future? We all get stuck in relationships because of circumstances. Or just because you have known them for a long time. Or because they were with you throughout a certain period of your life like college, work, or motherhood. I’m not saying you have to drop them. But what I am saying is that you can choose with whom and how much time you spend, cultivating certain relationships.
Listen. We all have toxic people in our lives to varying degrees. Sometimes these people are family. Cutting all ties is much harder, if not impossible. But you do control how, when, and the degree of real-time spent with them and the mental space we allow these people. Life is too short to hang with anyone that doesn’t lift you up.
3. Get Your Finances in Order.
In a perfect world, money wouldn’t matter. But it does. It’s all well and good to set goals and create plans, but I bet any dreams you have about reinvention will likely include a bucket of money to make them happen. Ok. That was a slight exaggeration. At the very least, you probably don’t want to worry about money when you pursue your new life. In the simplest terms, this means eliminating debt, reducing expenses, and creating a strategy for a sustainable income stream when your regular work life is over.
For some, this isn't easy. Believe me. I know. I used to stick my head in the sand when it came to money, tackling the most urgent as they came my way. It's a stupid way to deal with money, and it was the catalyst for many, many stupid decisions. Taking charge of my finances has been the absolute biggest propeller of reinventing my life. Not only has it helped me prepare and sustain, but it has also opened an opportunity. Having control of your finances gives you options. Options give you choices. Ultimately, that is what you want.
4. Get a Mid-Life Coach
Throughout your lifetime, you have probably had mentors and coaches. But what about your vision and goals for happiness and achievement in the second half of your life? A midlife coach can help you find purpose in what can become the most satisfying years of your life.
Admittedly, I thought by fifty, and I would have it “all together.” I would know where I was going and how I was going to achieve that. I would have all the answers. When I reached mid-life, and I realized that I didn’t, I had an overwhelming feeling of being stuck, bored and agitated with life. I needed to make significant life changes to make me happy. A midlife coach helped me recognize that change can be amazing if it’s aligned to your value.
I had to focus on what I wanted and make clear goals and plans to be successful. I was approaching middle age utterly contrary to everything I had done before. And that’s ok. What’s not ok, is spinning, trying to find an answer when the person has already figured out that part of the journey I wish to take. If you feel like you lack purpose and direction, I strongly suggest you find yourself a midlife coach.
5. Allow Yourself Grace to Pivot.
Making life-changing decisions and setting plans into action is super hard. You learn a lot about yourself. This may be the very first time you have allowed yourself to dream. You may be very unclear about what you want. You may feel a lot of stress or anxiety. Give yourself compassion to work through the process, and if something doesn’t work out or doesn’t seem to fit any more into your vision, it is okay to change it up.
It’s is your life. If you need to re-evaluate your goals and set a new plan, do it. You deserve to have joy and live life to its fullest.
Clarissa Kristjansson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Clarissa Kristjansson is an internationally recognized Midlife and Menopause coach & mentor who helps women reinvent midlife by becoming more aware of themselves, shifting their mindset, building resilience, and implementing profound compassionate change in their lives. So that they become that woman who lights up the room, confident and energized. Clarissa has 28 years of experience leading transformational change. Her C-Suite experience has been forged in multi-national FMCG and she has had seven years’ experience working with neuroscience, mindfulness, compassion and health coaching supporting women during major life changes like menopause, career and relationship shifts. She is a speaker, author of the international bestseller The Mindful Menopause and the host of the popular Thriving Thru Menopause podcast.