The title screamed at me.
How To Find Happiness In Midlife!
And because I’m a click-junkie for anything related to self-help and midlife, I clicked just as fast as I could.
I almost laughed at the predictability of the article. According to this writer:
If you want to find happiness after 40, there are easy ways to go about it. Take more selfies. Sing karaoke. Engage in random acts of kindness. Go to bed earlier.
Are you chuckling too?
Okay, there is some merit to the advice. I mean, how can you not be happy if you’re screaming your favorite songs at the top of your lungs with your BFFs? (I’m an introvert, and I have a blast doing it!)
But happiness in midlife? I think advice like this totally misses the boat.
I’m over 40 and have been around the block a few times
I was comparing notes with a friend on all the jobs we’d held between us.
- Grocery clerk
- Pizza delivery
- Bank clerk
- Daycare worker
The list is truly huge! (You can probably create the same list with the women you know.)
And that doesn’t even include the jobs like mother, caregiver, Girl Scout leader, and soccer coach.
Here in midlife, we have skills to the Nth degree. We’re smart, and know how to use those skills to shorten the curve on every job we pick up.
Multi-task is our middle name! (Even after we learn that multitasking isn’t a good thing. I’m still working on that one …)
And let’s face it. Success leaves clues.
If you want to be a successful Girl Scout leader, they have a plan for that.
If you want to be successful at your job, watch what those around you do. Follow the steps. Do it better.
That’s the thing about success … anyone can be successful if you just FOLLOW THE STEPS.
Because very few things in life haven’t been done before.
Trying to be a successful parent? Billions of people have parented before.
Trying to be a successful entrepreneur? Millions of people have done that right too.
Success. Leaves. Clues.
You just have to follow them, and you’ll find success.
And here’s a big BUT.
What’s really difficult is being happy AND successful at the same time.
Ever forgotten your child at school and said, “I’m a horrible parent.”
Ever had to declare bankruptcy from a failed startup?
How’d that make you feel?
Those are HUGE events. But I’m betting it doesn’t even have to be that big to make you second guess your happiness.
As women, we challenge our behavior every single day. If you’ve ever:
- Dropped a crying child off at daycare
- Stayed up past midnight baking brownies for the bake sale
- Worked instead of attending a school party
- Pretended like you didn’t see the email/text/letter/phonecall come through
You know exactly what I’m talking about.
We try to be successful at everything we do.
And a lot of the time, it leaves us miserable.
Look at the hours in a day. Where does your time go?
I truly believe that school needs to be turned upside down and focused on waayyy more important things.
From the time we enter, success is drilled into our brains. And success looks like:
- An A on a test
- An A on a report card
- Clubs and activities that make us look better
- Honor society
- A diploma
- A degree
- Marrying the right person
- Getting a job
- Getting a promotion
The ultimate goal is success! To look even better than those around you.
You’ve felt it as a mom. I remember reading those “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” books like a religion. I kept buying them. What To Expect The First Year. What To Expect The Second Year. I’d pour over them, checking off every milestone my daughter had, ensuring we were excelling and on track.
Success was measured in the form of a checklist. And I had them tacked up all over my house.
Until one day, I dropped from exhaustion. I no longer could survive on four hours of sleep.
And that’s when I traveled down an entirely new path.
How many hours do you dedicate towards happiness?
We all look at it a little differently.
My idea of happiness is different from yours. Yet even with that said, a lot of us simply can’t define it.
That’s the autopilot in us, chugging along, being everything for everybody. And never really looking at our own lives and what WE WANT.
We know how to ask: What do you need? What do you want?
But we never turn it around and ask:
What do I need? What do I want?
Because even IF we think about asking those questions (and that’s a very BIG IF), most of us have NO IDEA what we need or want. Because we:
- Keep promises to everyone but ourselves
- Fill our days with stress and turmoil
- Feel stagnant and stuck
- Struggle to finish (yep, I’m talking to you. I know you’ve said you want to “write a book” or “learn Spanish,” and you keep pushing it off year after year after year.)
- Constantly worry that you’re not good enough
- Feel frustrated and burned out, wondering when it will all change
And that is a real problem.
We’ve been brought up in a world where everybody else is a priority. Yet with all the craziness going on in the world, that’s left each of us feeling drained, tired, and alone.
Ever felt alone in a crowded room? You weren’t heard or seen. You were just there, existing, because you probably planned the whole thing.
It’s time to plan for happiness
What would a perfect day look like to you?
Would you rise early or sleep in?
Would you have coffee with friends?
Would you jam out three hours of work before going for a walk in the park?
Don’t worry if you’ve never thought about this before. Here’s your permission to do just that. Sometimes you have to learn about it, think about it, and do something about it to get it done.
For example, I chunk my days down into daily time blocks to do what I want to do. I rise at five and have three hours to myself, meditating, journaling, and writing for myself. I choose this because it’s what gives me energy. Then I schedule time for a walk to recharge and refresh.
I’m disciplined in doing this day after day. I wake without an alarm clock, and rarely miss it no matter where I am. Because this is ME time, and it’s important to ME.
I’ve learned the importance of planning for happiness from all the mentors I’ve had over the years. Mentors are what keep me on the right path, and help me be the best ME.
If you resonate with my messages, you might resonate with a mentor I’ve found here in 2022, one I’m spending a lot of time with and learning A TON more.
Ever heard the phrase: The teacher appears when the student is ready? Yep, I believe that about Jenni Parker Brown. Her teachings and wisdom have truly made me think deeper this year, and once again, it’s making all the difference.
I invite you to explore Preeminence. See if it’s right for you. Is this a gift you can give yourself this year?
I’m pretty good anymore about defining my own happiness. But even so, I need accountability to ensure I’m always on track with doing things for myself. So that I can be better for all those around me.
Preeminence has been just what I needed to stay in touch with myself, define who I am, and what I need right now in my life.
You can do that on your own. But I’ve found it helps to have people around you to help you do it too. And that’s where accountability groups come into play.
- You learn from them
- You grow
- And you excel
Because you look at life differently than you did before.
And after the past two years we’ve all had, that’s more important than ever.
What I’ve learned is that success and happiness DO NOT go hand in hand. Success leaves clues. If you want it bad enough, define it first, and do what it takes to get there.
Happiness works the same way. What do you really want? Define it. Find it. Be held accountable for it. And keep striving to bring it into your life.
It makes all the difference.