As I approach the proverbial mid-life crisis of the empty nest, career wind down, and retirement planning, I am reflecting on the things to be thankful for and the journey that brought me to this point. It’s funny to see the generational differences play out it the people around us. I find myself drawn to the excitement of those hitting their peak in their careers, inquisitive of how the retired spend their time and wealth, and envious of the millennials who value time and experiences over wealth. Maybe it is time for a corrective mid-life call to action for the Gen Xer’s growing up in the dichotomy of Gordon Gecko’s ‘greed is good’ culture, while pouring our lives into their kids to make up for the Boomers who left them with the latch key. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, over eating in front of the TV watching football, maybe we reflect on the game plan of our life and explore our own ‘Halftime Adjustments’.
The game we play in the first half of life has little bearing on the final outcome. The first half is played according to a game plan with a presumption of control over endless variables all in a vane attempt to meet expectations set by others. Somewhere in the middle we get a pause, a brief period of time to reflect on the first half, question our goals, our dreams, and our desire to stay in the game. We evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly parts encountered. We relive the fumbles, the touchdowns, the success and failures that put us where we are right now..
Do we really want to play the same game in the second half? Can we close the book on the past and write a new game plan? Can we do what is unfamiliar, unexpected, even unimaginable, and play the second half with reckless abandonment? In doing so will we find a zest and love for life that wasn’t even considered in the original plan? No score, no penalties, no injuries, no winners, and no losers. Most of all no regrets. Who we were, what we did, where we’ve been, becomes meaningless and secondary to a passion for where are we going and who is coming with us.
This mid-life pause is an opportunity to make some halftime adjustments and change the vocabulary of the game plan. Love is no longer a feeling but an action. Learning is a passion instead of a career enhancer. Risk is exciting and exhilarating, not something to be avoided. Happiness is experienced and no longer a vague concept. Control surrenders to the enjoyment of the journey. Routines give way to adventures and wealth is shared not accumulated. What we need, want, value, and expect for the second half of our lives is overhauled to focus on our consciousness of BEING instead of constantly ACHIEVING.
Some may fear the second half. Some never get an opportunity to close chapters of their lives. Some never get the blessing of a pause, a halftime to rest and reflect. Some play the entire game with one game plan, with no adjustments, and end the game asking ‘what if?’ or saying ‘if only’. A few recognize the closure of the first half, make the halftime adjustments, play well the second half and celebrate it with those they love. These are the lives I envy, the people I adore, and the legacy I want to leave for those behind me. I am thankful for the cheerleaders, coaches, and fans of my life. And I am especially thankful for the opportunity to make halftime adjustments.