The Art of a Mid-Life Rebellion
Designing my second act: How I got a do-over at age 40.
Something magical happened to me when I turned 40. I stopped caring. I literally stopped giving a shit. No, I didn’t have a nervous breakdown or stop being concerned about myself, my family or friends. I stopped caring about the mythical “they”.
You know who I’m talking about.
The “they” that says you can’t wear white after Labor Day. The “they” that says as a woman in Corporate America, you have to dumb yourself down to allow the people around you to be a bit more comfortable in your presence. The “they” that says you have to stay in the career in which you’ve already invested two decades. The “they” that says you can’t love curse words and God at the same time. What the hell ever.
It was an epic, soul searching, gut wrenching shit fit of a moment.
The year I turned 40, I embraced my authentic self, instead of only occasionally visiting her.
So there I was, in Corporate America, after almost two decades in financial services — and I was having a moment. It was an epic, soul searching, gut wrenching shit fit of a moment. I literally felt like flipping the desk over in my cubical. I mean, I probably would have if it wasn’t screwed into the wall. But I digress…
I was pissed and having a one-sided conversation with God. “Surely you created me for more than this foolery. This cannot be what you meant my life’s work to be.” I had just finished having yet another asinine conversation with a “leader” who had asked my opinion and then had the audacity to get pissed when my opinion didn’t line up with his. Seriously, I lost track of how many times, through my actions and words, I conveyed that my ethics were not up for sale. My constant & consistent mantra had been, “If you are looking for a yes person, buddy, I’m not it.” And yet here we were again.
I began to try to figure out what’s next for me? What in the hell comes after this?? I cannot –I will not— have this life for another 25 years. I allowed myself to be open to the possibilities and, after much going back and forth with the big guy, I reluctantly decided to embrace entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship — who would want that burden? You’re exposed, every mistake available for dissection by sideline critics. My dream had always been to be a part of Corporate America.
Corporate America was, to me, the land of paid-time-off, paychecks every two weeks, and lots of policies and procedures. While other little girls were playing dolls and pretending to cook, I played business woman. I had my pens, paper and a rotary phone that wasn’t hooked up to anything. I wanted to be in Corporate America chasing that title, being in control and running stuff. I would be the first in my close-knit family to work in Corporate America. I pursued that goal with a laser focus, through two degrees, several companies, relocations, and motherhood.
Imagine my disappointment to discover that I had finally gotten everything I ever wanted only to find that it left me completely empty. I wasn’t happy, not even a little bit. Thank goodness I had a friend who had begun to teach me about the law of attraction and mindset. Thanks to her, I slowly worked past my resistance to thinking about the world differently and opened my mind up to the possibilities.
I considered that maybe –just maybe— the life I had been pursuing wasn’t the life that I was supposed to have after all. But it was a catalyst to finally get me on the right path. So on that day in my 40th year, I decided to take responsibility for intentionally building the life I wanted.
Imagine my disappointment to discover that I had finally gotten everything I ever wanted only to find that it left me completely empty.
I would create an amazing legacy for my family and others by being a servant leader. I would design an existence of which I could be proud, making up the rules of how my life would work as I went along. I would bravely rewrite the script of my own life. And so I quit Corporate America. I left it all behind and launched a personal concierge/lifestyle management firm. I changed my life completely, and now, finally, life feels like it is moving along quite splendidly.
If you are in the market to rewrite the script of your life, here are three things I highly recommend that you do/embrace:
Get ready to turn your current mindset on its ass.
I heard this quote somewhere (or maybe it’s the name of a book), but the gist of it is this: what got you here, won’t get you there. You have to be willing to do some heavy lifting, read some books, make some new friends, get rid of some lifelong friends. This is about going to a new level and unlearning some stuff that has been blocking you and holding you back. Everybody is different but, for me, this journey started with purging, decluttering my house and no TV watching (I know; this was in the 2nd or 3rd season of Scandal!! Talk about agony!).
Invest in yourself.
Again — buy a book, read it and actually implement the practices. Attend a seminar, listen, take notes and actually implement the practices. Pay for a coach, engage your coach, and actually do what he or she says. Have you noticed a theme? It’s not enough to just spend the money. You also have to strengthen your commitment to execute.
You simply cannot rewrite the script if you don’t put caring for yourself and your health high up on your to-do list. You won’t have the energy for it. I hate the gym, and I’m not a fan of working out. My trainer assures me that I will fall in love eventually, but it hasn’t happened yet. I work out because I HAVE to do it. I’ve noticed when I’m not doing a good job of taking care of myself, mentally and/or physically, my body will call me out and just not participate in my plans. I’ll start to get sick or start to get migraines.
My body is very clear about who is in charge, so to co-exist with it; I have to do my part by making good choices. Spa days have found their place on my calendar, as have frequent walks in the park. These are appointments with you, for you. Don’t be one of those people that are great at taking care of everyone but you.
Changing course at 40 or after isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is absolutely worth it. I am happy and free — and you will be too once you get out of your own way.