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  • Diana Fletcher

What's Next? Navigating Life

Life is always changing. I know this. 

I remind myself that nothing stays the same, but this time, at this point in my life, it's a whole new ballgame.

This is the second half of my life.

Some say that this time in a woman's life is like adolescence all over again, and that is true in many ways. I am not sure about men, because obviously, I cannot feel what they may feel. I imagine it is similar. The body changes and each day is a new little adventure, not always a fun one. The body gradually ages. That's how it is. I feel young inside, and while I do all the things I always did (sort of), I am doing them differently.  

“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” Carl Gustav Jung

You may read this quote and be thrown a little bit by the word, lie.

This is a quote I read almost every day. I focus on it, trying to interpret it. On the surface, it means to me that everything changes, we won't stay young, and as we grow older, our ideas and our beliefs may change. I don't think that we become different people, but we realize that there are different things that are important.

Then I dig a little deeper and think Jung is also telling us that as we get older, we are able to view the world differently. We have different ideas about what matters and what doesn't. We learn as we get older, and unfortunately some younger people also experience this: Everything can change in an instant. Everything.

I interpret the word lie to be a warning: Don't assume you can keep doing everything the same way. It won't work.

I think we spend the first half of our lives trying to get our bearings, learning how to live and survive. We have jobs, careers, families and friends. We develop healthy or unhealthy habits.

Then, just when we think we may have it figured out, at least a little, Boom! Everything changes again and you enter the second half.

You need to make different decisions about your life; you need to make different choices.

Looks cannot stay the same. We are going to age. Our bodies will not cooperate in the same way and sometimes we have serious decisions to make about health.

If you choose not to accept that and perhaps keep trying to stay young at all costs, you are going to stay in a state of unhappiness.

So I am telling myself to embrace it.

There is really nothing that we can do to change the facts.

There is so much we are capable of as we age and I think it is important that we rise to the challenge. Feeling sorry for yourself is just silly. We need to keep moving forward. 

I have developed a few rules for myself that I would like to share in the hope that they may help you, too. These are written for those of us heading into that second half, that afternoon of life, but also for the younger who have their own struggles handling inevitable life changes.

  1. Keep learning. Always. Challenge yourself to learn new new skills. Don't ever say you are too old to learn.

  2. Always have something to look forward to in the future. It could be as simple as sipping that new tea tomorrow, or a vacation in three months. Find something.

  3. Take care of your health. Even if you have totally ignored healthy habits until now, start today. 

  4. Laugh every day. 

  5. Look for beauty. It is everywhere. It's time to see and notice.

  6. Keep moving forward. Do not waste time with regrets.You cannot change the past. You can however, make decisions and choices that will help you have a positive future.

  7. Be kind.

  8. Stand for something. Something good.

  9. Take time to be quiet. Everyday.

  10. Love. Whether it is another person or persons or a pet, spend time loving.

And as you move through the morning, the afternoon and evening of life, just know there will always be surprises. That's life.

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