The challenging terrain of midlife

I was looking at what audiobooks are available by David Whyte, one of the authors mentioned by Jerry Colonna, when I came across this sentence in the description of Midlife and the Great Unknown:

On Midlife and the Great Unknown, you will engage with poetic imagination as it was meant to be experienced: as your companion and guide for the challenging terrain of midlife.

And these words struck a chord with me: “The challenging terrain of midlife”.

Damn right, midlife is a challenging terrain. As a child you don’t think that far ahead. When you’re young, you can still dream of all of the things that are possible in your life. When you’re in the late stages of your life, it’s too late to alter the choices you made and their consequences.

But midlife is when you realize that the choices you’d made didn’t lead you to where you’d hoped they would. Midlife is when you still have time to make course correction, but you’ve already made many choices that have consequences that you cannot escape. Many career paths are closed to you now. It’s too late to be a top soccer player, for example.

And at the same time, midlife is when you have the most responsibilities - family, mortgages, and the challenge of finding what’s right for you, what will make you fulfilled so you can meet those responsibilities from a place of strength, without bending to the pressure and succumbing to stress.

I’ve heard it said that 20th birthdays are fun, but then 30th, 40th, and 50th birthdays suck. When you hit 60, they begin to be fun again. I think this is why.

Midlife is challenging terrain.

Kudos to everyone who decides to rise to the challenge and wrestle with it in an authentic way.


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