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Midlife Can Be a Bear ~ Some Words of Wisdom

January '20

Your midlife transition can be like a bear coming out of the woods—scary, daunting and totally unexpected! Sometimes feelings of confusion and discontent creep up on you so gradually, you don’t recognize them. Finally, one day you wake up and realize you’re not hopping out of bed to greet the day with your usual excitement.

You start to wonder where your life is going and why you’re feeling so restless and unhappy. From an objective point of view, all may well. Your job is a good one. And/or your kids are relatively content. And/or your husband loves you. So what’s wrong?

For most women, feelings like this at midlife, mean she’s entered period of transition where she begins to sort through her lifestyle choices to discover the woman she has become and what this woman wants. It can be a challenging process and takes time.

Pena Chodran, a Bhuddist nun, provides some wise words for dealing with any period of transition. In life we think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem. The real truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together for a time, then they fall back apart. Then they come together and fall apart again. It’s just like that. Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

The midlife transition is often just like that—a time when things fall apart. In fact things need to fall apart so they can come together in a new way to meet the wishes and desires of the new person you are becoming at this stage of life.

Chodran has some further advice to aid this process. Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery is self-inflicted, when we are expecting the “idea” to overcome the “actual,” or needing things (or people, or places) to be different for us so we can then be happy.

Indeed, it is always expectations that create suffering.

Chodran goes on to say, Let the hard things in life break you. Let them effect you. Let them change you. Let those hard moments inform you. Let this pain be your teacher. The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don’t cop out on that. Don’t run away and hide under your covers. Lean in to it.

Tough advice, but true. I might also suggest that if you need to hide under your covers upon occasion, go for it. Just be aware that’s what you’re doing. But you will not move forward until you acknowledge the storm that’s brewing, and take the time to look inward and discover the new you, and what she wants. Then go after it!

Wishing you a successful journey,

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