We’ve all been guilty of it. I know I have. Who hasn’t wished that their life could be different?
To live in paradise instead of Pittsburgh; to be married instead of single; to take that risk rather than play it safe. Why do so many of us dream about a future that’s so different from our present?
Here’s my theory: because it sounds good.
The one thing that many of life’s most enduring themes have in common is a good storyline. From rags to riches to happily ever after, tales of redemption, overcoming the odds and transformation are the spice of life.
Everyone loves a good story. Maybe life feels unsatisfying to you right now because you haven’t written yours yet.
To be clear, living your best life doesn’t just happen. To do it successfully means figuring out what’s important to you then creating a plan to achieve it.
That’s where my download Getting What You Want comes in. We do lots of marking early in life. We have graduations, we start careers and we have children. Once we reach a certain age, though, the daily and dutiful obligations of our middle years start to set in making life routine and maybe even a little boring.
Figuring out what comes next, or setting goals for ourselves, forces us to think deliberately. My worksheet will help you reimagine what life could look like if you take the time to think through what your happily ever after looks like.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Have fun intentionally – Don’t wait around for fun to find you. Seek it, then seize it. A friend of mine does a live stream from the roller rink almost every week. She looks like she’s having the time of her life and it always makes me smile.
- Find interests unrelated to work and family – Throwing yourself into a hobby can improve your brain’s function and boost your overall physical health. One of my coworkers aways has a weekend project he’s working on. To him, building cabinets, restoring an old boat or fixing a broken appliance is like solving a crossword puzzle and he enjoys every second of it.
- Create challenges for yourself – Even the smallest victories prove that we can learn new tricks in our middle years. One of my best friends started running after she turned 40 and swears by the app Couch to 5k. Every day, it gives you small milestones to reach over an eight-week period as you work toward running your first 5k. Ready? Get set! Go!
- Engage enthusiastically – According to research, the brain loves novelty, otherwise boredom and neglect can set in. In essence it starts to theoretically atrophy. I’ve seen no truer example than in marriages of people who are together for a long time. My hubby and I try not to get mired in the every day; we have date nights, we plan trips, we explore our city. It gives us new things to talk about and keeps the lines of communication open.
- Choose purpose over happiness – Happiness is fleeting, as most emotions are. They come, they go, they’re up, they’re down. But, investing in projects of care and focusing energy on and using influence for a larger good is far more impactful and long lasting. My youngest daughter attends a school for special needs students. The director, whose son also is intellectually challenged, saw a need and she went on a quest to fulfill it. It turns out that finding a deeper purpose and pursuing it carries an unexpected bonus: It gives you life.