Mid-Life Crisis or Opportunity? It’s Your Choice!

midlifecrisis“Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of life it may occur.” ~ Muriel Spark

At a recent gathering, I asked someone for the time as it was too dark to see my watch clearly and I did not have my cell phone handy for a quick check. “No one wears watches anymore. That makes you sound so old,” she pronounced. While I suspect people in droves are not tossing out their designer timepieces or condemning them to a junk drawer, her snippy observation gave me pause to absorb her words. Manners aside, I really do not care how you access the information; in this case it was a simple request for the time. Use a sundial if it suits you better but it was my reaction to being thought of as OLD that was noteworthy. Could one simple comment begin a rapid spiral of negative thinking or was something else available to me if I could step back and notice its impact?

Mid-life and the process of aging can take many of us by surprise. In fact, it can feel like a much faster trip than we planned for and not the ticket we intended to purchase…yet. In our youth oriented environment, growing older is not as honored as it is in some cultures. It may be a time for feeling marginalized; like someone who should take up less space, leaving room for the next generation, those who are energized with fresh ideas to lead.

On the other hand, at a recent workshop I conducted, participants were asked to name four words that best described “aging”. The responses were fast and furious, underscoring the negatives they associated with the word. As these descriptors were recorded, I suggested we look beyond our initial reaction and consider the following choices like:
• Wisdom
• Character
• Strength
• Confidence

How did that feel? It was as if a light switch had been flipped on and from this newly positive perspective, we were able to collaboratively fill pages with many more words that were energizing and a reflection of the pronounced shift in thinking.
The words you choose are very important. They can empower you as much as they can weaken you. Words can be used to create clarity or confusion; crisis or opportunity; motivation or disinterest. They are powerful tools with which you can shape your life. As always, it is your choice.

• Select a word at the beginning of each day as a focus for the day
• Notice the language you use positively or negatively
• Become aware of your choices and how you can influence others by making conscious selections


Spring Clean Your Closet

dresses-300x218Should it go or should it stay? Each season I approach my closet with a mindset of reorganizing everything to make way for shifting clothes from one space to another. It’s the kind of task that is energizing in anticipation of warmer weather and fewer layers to consider. There’s a beginning, middle and end if I can remain focused and unattached to the garments. Sometimes it is very straightforward and sometimes there are stops and starts, events to recall, and reminders of places where I’ve worn a particular outfit. Good thoughts and others mix in with the texture, fragrance and times of the past season…evocative and worth the pause to summon up memories.

However, when getting down to the real business of a seasonal closet reorganization it is easy to get off track and lost in the land of wishful thinking. Sometimes it calls for a merciless extraction exercise to leave you with physical and psychological space. It’s time to purge using the following guidelines:
• Stained
• Doesn’t fit now, didn’t fit then, won’t fit in this century
• Not trendy
• Smells
• Doesn’t convey the right message
• Worn out
• Wouldn’t buy it now
• You keep trying it on but wouldn’t wear it out of the house

Separate work wear from casual clothing. Does your go to “power outfit” still convey a strong image or is it dated? Five pairs of black pants may no longer be in style and/or not fit properly. Take your time and be honest with yourself. This is an opportunity to organize your wardrobe and simplify your morning routine.

Lastly, a reason often overlooked is the clothing you connect with a bad memory. It might be the gorgeous coat that you splurged on but you associate it with the winter you lost your job, faced a difficult family situation, got dumped or were going through a rough patch. Toss it! If it’s a piece left behind by a painful ex, a previous friendship, or anyone negative. Toss it! When you purge your closet of bad memories it is empowering and now baggage free, you can shop for replacements, adding things that you love!