Posted on October 28th, 2009 by Colin and is posted in Midlife
Midlife is trying to guide us back to wholeness. At the midway line we’re only half way to achieving that goal. More development is needed but there’s a couple of ways we can get lost on the way to happiness.
Midlife can be a confusing time because of the many changes that are taking place. Our life structures don’t seem to fit us any more and we don’t know why. Relationships we once enjoyed can suddenly seem unfulfilling. Things that once brought us pleasure now loses its desire. A career that was once rewarding leaves us feeling empty. Values that we’ve held dearly can start to grate and become intolerable. A lifestyle that made sense can all of a sudden seem senseless. Suspended in this state of confusion we don’t know whether to go forward or turn back.
Not A Time To Go Backwards!
The danger at this stage in our midlife quest is to desperately try to hold on to our old persona and return to those youthful values and activities that were once meaningful. We make one last stand to regain our youth. Maybe a new sports car will do it? Maybe a younger lover will make the difference? Maybe it can be found in a new wardrobe, cosmetic enhancement, or new hairstyle?
But nothing can mask over profound inner changes taking place. We must remember the state we’re really after – wholeness, can’t be found by heading backwards. Inwards and forwards is the only way to finding our deeper selves we do not know yet.
Meet The ‘OMAS’ Tribe
Another way we can get stuck is by playing the blame game. When we play the blame game we make someone or something else responsible for our happiness. I made up a “tongue in cheek” acronym to describe the tribe of midlifers who get stuck playing the blame game. I call them the Omas tribe. Omas stands for over-stressed, middle aged, affluent slaves.
Over – stressed, meaning they’re living their life out of balance with their core values
Middle-aged, meaning they’re between the ages of 35 – 55.
Affluent, meaning they’re doing well financially (this is not usually acknowledged)
Slaves, meaning they’re surrendering they’re integrity to the will of others.
By far the most controversial and emotive word is “slaves”. Whenever I use this acronym with an audience I can see which word causes a furrowing of the brow and a rising of they’re inner defences. Nobody likes to think of himself or herself as a slave. Most associate slavery with the selling, buying and controlling of another human being. That was outlawed over a hundred years ago.
That form of slavery was physical slavery but that’s not what I mean when I use the word slave. What I mean is a form of slavery that’s far more insidious and far more widespread in the midlife population. It’s a form of psychological slavery that affects us all if we are not careful.
Its not at all uncommon to find midlifers spending 60% of they’re time doing work they hate (how many times have we heard the expression, “A slave to his job”), living in an environment which they don’t like, spending time with somebody they don’t love, going places they don’t want to go, doing things against their deepest values, and in many other ways surrendering to the will of other people.
The result, if they don’t stop blaming everyone and everything and do something proactive about their situation, is a less than happy and fulfilling second half of life. It’s a life of toleration rather than one of fulfilment, purpose and meaning.
Break The Chains
Taking full responsibility for our lives and breaking the chains of psychological slavery is a major step towards wholeness. Midlife requires us to stop defending who we are and where we’re at and be open to the mystery of what we’ve not yet become, who ever we might be.
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