Sometimes, the life of a the over-40 must be completely shaken, shifted and reshuffled to bring him or her to where they were meant to be in the first place! Some events that make those shifts necessary are beyond our control: losing a job, children moving back home, a health crisis or death of a loved one. Other life events open up the time and opportunities to explore new adventures. Even if you are experiencing issues that have hindered your ability to do what you love, read on and think about how you can incorporate your desires into your everyday life.

You? Getting Older? You Are Just Getting Started!

Could it be possible that age only counts with wine and cheese? By the time we hit 40, 50 and beyond, many of us have pushed important dreams and goals deep into the back of life’s closet. Situations, obstacles and excuses may have taken up residence in our homes and our heads, replacing our dreams with the ever-changing world we call “life.” News Flash! It is never too late to pull those boxes of dreams down off the shelf, tear them open with childlike enthusiasm, and initiate your plan. Yes, our lives may have taken a different course, filled to overflowing with work and relationships that left little or no time to pursue our original goals. By the time we are parents/grandparents, we may feel there are several reasons why it could be too late to get out of that all too familiar box. Some reasons may be legitimate for a season; others are based on fear or lack of self-confidence. The more time and energy we expend entertaining those reasons, the farther away we become from grasping our own brass ring.

It is Never Too Late to Grab the Brass Ring!

 Several years ago, I read the story of how the term “reaching for the brass ring” originated. This phrase has always symbolized reaching for, and achieving, one’s goals. The brightly painted carousels had beautiful wooden ponies that pranced up and down on shiny brass poles to the sound of calliope music. Children excitedly stretched high with determination to grab a fist-sized metal ring from a dispenser suspended just outside of the carousel. Most of the time, they would get a black ring. How joyful they were when, every once in a while, someone would grasp a “gold” one, the brass ring! That brass ring came to symbolize adventure, passion, joy, and having the ability to achieve their biggest hopes and dreams. If an 80 year old woman can earn her Bachelor’s Degree and a 65 year old obtained her pilot’s license, let me encourage you to go in hot pursuit of your dreams too! Have you grabbed your ring yet?

What steps can be added, or changes made, to your current lifestyle to bring those dreams to fruition? Let’s assess the experiences in your life to see how they can help you kick your way out of the box and live life to the fullest:

  1. What is a true heart’s desire—a meaningful and important goal—you want to accomplish in your lifetime? Answer honestly without worrying about “how” to accomplish it.
  2. A positive image is a vital secret for living the vibrant “mature” life. What do you believe your personal and professional image is at this time? What would you like to change? Start writing.
  3. Up until now, how much time have you spent on yourself, your family and career? How has this impacted your ability to fulfill your desired lifestyle? How can you change it? Take a class that will beef up your career skills, join a mastermind group to restructure your focus, learn to say “no” more often?
  4. What is different now? An empty nest? Are you married/divorced/widowed? Have you obtained a higher education? Is it necessary to now be a caregiver? Have children who were gone returned home? Do you have more or less time and money now? You will begin to see what pieces of your life’s pattern now need to be removed and replaced.
  5. How can you use these experiences to build new opportunities and help others in the process? Your experiences, and what you did and did not enjoying doing, can strike a creative match in your mind to which new path to take. Life lessons are awesome teachers that equip you to scale new heights. It’s a new year. Time to create new pieces to your life’s pattern.

Dust off those dreams and true heart’s desires and get going! You can’t move forward while looking the rearview mirror! Add more roads (steps) to your life map and enjoy the ride.

(stay tuned for Part 2)

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