E163 The Five Commencements of Midlife

A lifetime is marked by the celebration of milestones: A sweet sixteen party, a bar mitzvah, Quinceañera, high school graduation, college graduation, marriages, retirement, and finally, a funeral.

Doesn’t it seem that there should be a milestone event for 50-year-olds? A half-time party maybe? A Golden birthday party?

In the Netherlands the 50th year is marked with the biblical reference “Seeing Abraham or Seeing Sarah”, a reference to how wise one must be at the ripe old age of 50. Friends and family install large inflatable dolls of Abraham or Sarah in the front yard of the new 50-year-old.

I don’t really see that catching on around the globe but who knows.

I just feel like this is such a time of HUGE changes with our parents starting to seem more like our children and our children leaving the nest and our first colonoscopy and the first age spots appearing on our hands like cocoa crispies, ugh. We should at least get something more than an AARP card arriving in the mail.

I like to picture a graduation ceremony with a commencement speech offering us the guidance of a mentor to pave our way forward with the wisdom of experience in transitioning through midlife.

With the benefit of a whopping 6 plus years into this 50s gig, I’m taking a stab at what this commencement speech might sound like:

Graduates, be seated.

Today, you commence the second chapter, the next act, the back forty of our time on this earth.

I give you- not the Ten Commandments – but, the Five Commencements:

#1 Today, I commence a new relationship with my parents.

My advice:

  • Express gratitude for all they did for you.
  • Have acceptance that they did the best job of parenting me that they were capable of.
  • Realize that they are real people and forgive them their shortcomings
  • Hold respect for their independence.
  • Hold respect for your own independence.
  • Accept the responsibility for supporting their desire for happiness without forfeiting your own.
  • For all these reasons, they will appreciate you more.

 

#2 Today, I commence a new relationship with my adult children.

My advice:

  • Celebrate the memories of their childhood and accept that it is a closed chapter
  • Allow them space and the grace to fail and dust themselves off
  • Grant them the dignity to make their own choices
  • Realize that they are real people and forgive them their shortcomings
  • Hold the greatest expectations of them
  • For all these reasons, they will appreciate you more.

 

#3 Today, I commence a new relationship with myself.

My advice:

  • Accept full responsibility for your own happiness and life experience.
  • Lovingly care for your body, mind, and spirit.
  • Open your mind to new ideas, feelings, perspectives, strengths and be vulnerable enough to recognize your own shortcomings.
  • Realize that you are a normal human being and forgive your shortcomings
  • Celebrate that you have the gift of time to mend fences and build new bridges
  • For all these reasons, you will find more happiness

 

#4 Today, I commence a new relationship with my significant other.

My advice:

  • Welcome a new beginning with an old lover.
  • Accept that the relationship is in a time of change and be curious in reacquainting yourselves in midlife.
  • Release your partner from the burden of exclusive rights on making you happy.
  • Bring joy to the relationship
  • Have high expectations for your partnership.
  • Focus on loving your partner rather than judging their love for you.
  • For all these reasons, they will love you more.

 

#5 Today, I commence a new relationship with my friends and extended family.

My advice:

  • Acknowledge that these are the people who will sustain you. Be good to them.
  • Tend this garden with love and patience. Remove weeds with the diligence of a professional gardener.
  • Invest your time in these assets. Not in just thoughts and intentions, but your time and attention.
  • For all these reasons, they will appreciate you more.

 

“It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

This can be the very best time of your life. So focus on this time of your life. Not your past, not your future, but right now, in this very moment be focused and intentional in all things.

You’ve got this.

Mary Rogers Mentoring

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