(Note: I’m happy to say my course on “The True Promise and Potential of Aging” is coming along and I plan to offer it Monday May 23. The course will be available at my blog as 8 downloadable pdfs plus a workbook. I feel a bit like a Mom giving birth — though what do I really know about that, for Pete’s sake. There’ll be a special discount for the first few days).
Following is a guest post by Daniel Offer. Daniel manages an interesting Facebook application called Emoinstaller. Emoinstaller allows you to add extra Facebook emoticons as well as Facebook smileys to your Facebook chat experience in just a couple of clicks.
Do you feel fulfilled? Is there a nagging feeling that something is missing? Do you stuff your feelings with shopping, food, excessive exercise or drinking? If so, a few self-evaluations might help to shed light on why you feel the way you do and provide a clue into changes you can make.
It is important to uncover who you are at each stage of life. Just like graduating high school, change is part of life. When a job you once loved begins to feel stale after five years, a desire for change is normal.
Everyone should be growing and changing. It’s not healthy to stay stuck in who you were years ago. The sooner you figure out who you are now and how you want to live your life, the closer you will be to finding fulfilment.
Here are a few exercises that might point you in the right direction:
1. In order to figure out who you are right now, make a list of all the things you really enjoy. Do you love coffees out, gardening and reading historical fiction? Do you prefer working in a large office or small one? Do you love outdoor activity?
2. Ask yourself what interests you have put aside that maybe you could focus on again. Sometimes the busyness of raising children gets in the way of personal interests. Maybe it’s time take a dance or yoga class, take out your paints, or write that book that’s been rumbling around in your head.
3. Get a picture in your mind of someone you admire. Maybe you’ll want to combine several individuals into one. Perhaps, for instance, you like the casual nature of Martha Stewart and her love for all things crafty, but you also admire the smarts of Condoleezza Rice and the values of your grandmother. Picture how you can adopt all the great traits you admire into your own character. What would you be doing if you were that person? What would you be wearing? Who would you be spending time with? What would you be doing with your time?
4. Take a look at your strengths and nurture them. Look for opportunities to grow in these areas in practical ways and stop spending time on what you aren’t good at. If golf isn’t your game, why beat yourself up with golf lessons? If you are a good mentor to younger women, help at a drop in centre.
5. Remove items around from you that no longer fit your identity. Change your wardrobe and environment to suit who you are now. Take charge of what happens in your life. Say “no” to things that don’t fit the new you. For instance, don’t agree to a job where you have to dress in a business suit and wear artificial nails if you’ve decided you work best in more casual gear and want to dig into the garden with our hands after work. Don’t agree to meeting first thing in the morning if you aren’t a morning person. Schedule it for one o’clock.
6. Pick a goal and start working on it. Make a great to-do list that will help you get closer to your dreams. When you make the list detailed enough you will gain more momentum and satisfaction by conquering small steps along the way.
If you don’t make any changes in your life, your life won’t change. It will become lacklustre and boring. The only way to stay fulfilled is by taking the reins of your own life and instigating the right changes at each stage.