Are You Ripe for Reinvention?
Chances are, if you’ve passed that four-or-five-decade milestone, there are a few things left unanswered by the path you took from childhood to where you are today. Sometimes our life’s course takes a pretty much predictable route, and other times, it veers off unexpectedly at turning points we never suspected were major intersections until long after the fact. Either way, there are probably some forgotten dreams littering your trail.
So, retracing our life steps a bit, what dreams, large or small, did you end up leaving beside the road when you needed to lighten your load? Oh, it happens to all of us. Something is hugely important for a time, then it started to get pushed back a little by other, more urgent “life priorities.” Pretty soon, it seems kind of silly and selfish to keep trying to cram that square peg into an increasingly round hole, so what do we do? We decide to “grow up,” “get realistic,” “put away our childish things” and move on to more respectable ground.
Well and good. There’s no arguing that jobs and careers need a personal investment of time and energy and focus. If you decide to add a family to that mix, babies need to be nurtured and school children need time space and attention. Teenagers require more mental energy than most of us have, not to mention all our available resources. Bills do have to be paid and groceries have to be bought. Clothes have to be washed and so do those dang dishes. Over and over and over again, Monday Friday Monday Friday . . .and the next thing you know, the kids are gone, the only dishes in the sink are yours (and maybe your husband’s if you still have one) and you look around and say, “What now?”
Welcome to your empty nest. What will you do now? Where do you begin this strange process of reinvention that is the obviously the preferable alternative to sitting around watching daytime TV (although a little of that is permitted until you get your bearings. You probably need to see that you’re not missing much) and waiting for old age to set in.
We’ve all read the hype. “50 is the new 30! “ Whatever. It’s not news that today’s 50-year-old is not the same gal her mother was at 50—and especially not her grandmother (remember those waggling upper arms as she waved goodbye? We are SO not having those!) So here you are. What are you going to do with this unexpected shot from the fountain of youth, compliments of pop culture, the media and hopefully, clean living on your part? You still have a lot of life left in you, old gal — what are you gonna do with it?
Author, entrepreneur and visionary Joan Lunden tells us on her Health Living site at www.joanlunden.com that today’s 50+ woman is better able to reconcile her self-image as she moves from caregiver and nurturer to family and children to taking care of her own health and wellness needs: “Be investing in yourself,” she urges, “ . . . think about what kind of life you want to have in 10, 20, or 30 years.” Joan’s palpable conviction that we must take charge of our health and wellness on physical mental and emotional levels is something we should all take to heart. “The key to staying vibrant and relevant,” says Joan, “is figuring out how to continually reinvent yourself.”
Oh. Back to that. But what does “reinvent yourself” even mean? And for many of us who have all but forgotten who we are, isn’t it important to circle back a little bit first to answer those questions before deciding who it is we’re going to be next?
And of course, reinventing ourselves is a fine thing to talk about, but how do you actually do it? How do you find your “soul path” rather than from bounce from thing to thing like a wayward pinball? (Haven’t we all witnessed this behavior in others trying to “find themselves” or “reinvent themselves?” Really. Haven’t we all snickered a bit at this idea at one time or another — most likely when we were too young to realize that we, too, would be wrestling with this issue someday? How do we know when we’re really ready to make this bold transition from empty nest to full life?
According to our midlife BFF Joan, signs you’re ripe for reinvention include saying “yes” to any or all of the following three questions.
- Wonder where it all went and who you are now?
- Have a clear vision of who you want to be at 50, 60 and 70 and beyond?
- Frequently take time out from your hectic schedule to recommit to your health, renew your spirit, and reconnect to your sense of wonder?
Want to know more? Follow along this month as we explore the concept of reinventing yourself with the help of horses — and how anyone can benefit from what noted “horsewhisperer” Koelle Simpson calls “adding little equine energy to your life,” in or out of the saddle. Post your own “reinvention” stories on our Facebook page and be sure to follow me on Twitter!
Whether or not you ride, know about or have any experience with horses, this is one time of life when horses can be the most powerful help available in rediscovering who you are on the inside, bringing to light amazing insights about what you really really want (and need) — and how you can get there from where you are right now.