Changing careers in midlife can be an opportunity for you to…
- get in touch with your dreams and passions
- imagine new possibilities
- design a life/work based on your life purpose
- create a better balance between your work and your life
But midlife can also be a time of confusion and uncertainty.
- What used to be true for you may no longer be a good fit.
- You feel lost and unsure about the road ahead.
- And maybe you don’t feel like you have choices at all… you’re forced to find a new direction due to lay-offs, restructuring, or health issues.
“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within
a dark wood where the straight way was lost.”
~ Dante Alighieri
Dante’s description of midlife, written in the 14th century, is still true today. We spend the first half of our lives following the “straight way”, living by others’ rules and expectations. But in the second half of life you have the chance to figure out what you want to do and discover who you really are. Today, it’s possible to make a career change after 50.
It’s like standing at a crossroads. One road stands for safety and security, and the other leads to creativity and growth. You know you feel dissatisfied and restless, and yearn for something more, but thinking about midlife career changes can be frightening. You haven’t yet learned how to create your own path out of the forest.
“We must be willing to give up the life we’ve planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us.”
~ Joseph Campbell
I believe what we call a “midlife crisis” is the discomfort we feel as our true selves struggle to be recognized. It’s important for you to grieve the loss of your former self and then let go. Only then are you truly free to begin exploring and discovering, preparing to move forward once again.
Follow Your Bliss
Changing careers can be a way for you to express your new identity in the world. Joseph Campbell often spoke about the importance of following your bliss. To follow your bliss means to find out what it is that you are truly passionate about and then commit yourself to it. By committing yourself, you fulfill your potential and at the same time can be of authentic service to others.
The ancient Greeks had a word, kairos, which meant a critical or defining moment in your life, a turning point. What matters is not the moment itself, but what you do with that moment. Do you let your true self emerge and pursue your dream, or do you stay where you are?
Just imagine yourself…
- creating a vision of your future path
- finding your passion
- discovering work that feels like a calling, not just a source of money
- changing careers and doing something you love
Joseph Campbell also wrote about the hero’s journey. The hero, who is any one of us, receives a call to adventure. Like us, many of the heroes are reluctant at first and some may refuse the call. It’s always our choice. Will you accept the call?