Can midlife career changes really lead to midlife renewal?
Remember those dreams you used to have? You were going to change the world, make a difference in the lives of others, express yourself artistically. But somewhere along the way you got sidetracked.
Maybe you followed what made sense financially, or you found yourself trying to be what others thought you should be. Trying to meet their expectations, their goals.
But those old, not quite forgotten, dreams have a way of calling to you… sometimes in a soft whisper, other times more urgently. Maybe you’ve tried to ignore those whispers because they call you away from what feels secure and comfortable. But your dreams will not be still.
“To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best,
night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight
the hardest battle which any human being can fight….”
~ e.e. cummings
Midlife can be a wakeup call to re-examine what’s important to you. And midlife career changes can be a way to return to what matters most to you.
Between the ages of 40 and 60 many of us encounter an urge to live more authentically and discover what’s right for us. Time begins to feel shorter and more valuable. The thought of working primarily for “material things” in a career that’s grown stale may not be so attractive anymore.
According to Carl Jung, meaning and purpose become important in midlife. It’s a time for becoming whole and real. It’s a time to give up the persona you’ve presented to the world for so long. And it’s also a time to listen to your dreams, act on your insights, and find a way to actualize them in your everyday life.
Your midlife career change can be how you express the real you – if you allow yourself to listen to your dreams.
Midlife Career Changes To Suit The Real You
“‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that
happens to you…. You become. It takes a long time.’”
~ Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
The real you has a way of making itself known as you get older. But even when you begin to glimpse your real self, you may still be reluctant to give up those things in your life that seem so safe and certain.
If you want to live authentically, it’s time to let go of your attachment to who you were so you can fully embrace your new self as it emerges. But give yourself the time you need to reclaim what’s yours. Allow yourself to see past the “shoulds” and “oughts” of others.
As you explore career change possibilities, you may feel lost and disoriented at first. But as you become engaged in the process, you’ll begin to feel more whole and ready to begin a new life and career.
When changing careers at midlife, it’s important to ask yourself:
- What’s not OK in my career?
- What is unfulfilled?
- What are my fears?
- What is not working? And be able to let go of what’s not working, of what no longer feels right.
- What do I want my life to be? Allow yourself to dream, to envision how you want your life to be.
- What are the steps I need to take to get from here to there, one step at a time?
This is your chance to reinvent yourself, to return to your ideals, and to live according to your vision.
Until midlife we tend to define ourselves in terms of our work. We ask each other, “what do you do?” But in the second half of life, midlife career changes allow you to integrate your career with the totality of who you are.