This second half of life thing, all that comes with it, rears up on me regularly. I’m now happy to “sleep in” to 5:30 a.m., a time that, when my son was a baby, I thought was the middle of the night. The aches and pains are more regular… When did that happen?? I could go on and on. But that’s not the second half stuff I’m focused on today. I’ve talked about one of my favorite artist/writer/ poets Brian Andres before. Love his stuff, love the picture I got today in my email.
I don’t know that I’ve lived as though the world is fragile. But what I have done is tread lightly through life. Afraid to make mistakes. As though everyone’s balance in life depended on what I was doing. Like I had that much control. Balancing everyone else’s expectations, desires, needs above my own. And for me that’s a fragile balance. I “promised to remember as long as I could.”
This is where the second half comes in. I realized it’s not my job to maintain this fragile balance.
For any of us, the more we work to maintain other people’s balance, the less we maintain our own. It can result in living with a lot of fear, fear that the balance will be disrupted and that we’ll have to make everything right again, which can be exhausting. But we don’t. We were not created to meet everyone else’s expectations, God created each of us for our own purpose. It likely involves helping others, but you have understand yourself first.
The thing is, a lot of us have been told that focusing on ourselves is selfish. And truthfully, it can be. There’s a difference though between “it’s all about me,” and “who am I? what do I want?” A lot of women I know approach the second half after spending their lives maintaining that fragile balance for everyone else. In doing that though, they find they’ve lost steam, they’ve lost touch with who they are. When you reach that tipping point, your ability to be there for others diminishes quickly. There’s a reason they tell you on airplanes to secure your own oxygen mask before securing others’.
I know. I’ve been there. And I’m taking a different approach on the second half. It’s been work that I haven’t done alone. Discovering what my purpose is, what God’s purpose is for me in this second half, has been the result of slowing down, of having someone who pushed back on me, caused me to look at what’s important.
Could you answer that question? What’s important for you? Could you share your top values? Bigger question…are you living in alignment with those values? I encourage you to take some time, list your top 5-10 values, and then rate yourself on how you’re doing in those areas. If you find that you’re not in alignment, get out of your head for a minute and check in with your heart. How do you feel about it? Incorporate both your head, heart and what your gut tells you and make a shift.
That fragile world? You may have been remembering to walk carefully, but forgotten yourself along the way. Whether you’re in the second half or not, you can make a change. Live authentically, in line with your values and the world won’t be so fragile. Your true self, your “on purpose” self? The world isn’t fragile for you, it’s exactly as it’s supposed to be.