My friends and I have been engaged in some chat about what I call the Midlife Axis.
On the X axis (across the bottom) is your age.
On the Y axis (down the side) is the level of investment you’ve put into whatever you’re doing with your life right now (a working professional, stay-at-home parent, student, retiree, etc.).
Think about your own Plot of Investment. I plotted my investment (of time, energy, emotion, education, money, etc.) as a small business owner, assuming it was zero on the day I was born. You can do the same for your own job, your role as a mom, dad, volunteer, superman or woman, or any other role. Mine looks like this:
By mid-life, many of us have invested a great deal into our jobs and other positions in life. Because we’ve invested so much, we can become scared about making a major life change (a move, a career change, a divorce, etc.). We’re afraid to start from the bottom again.
What we forget to consider, however, is the equally important Plot of Happiness. Do another Plot, but change the Y axis to your overall level of happiness. Mine looks like this, assuming I was off the chart baby-high at age 0.
Next, overlay the two Plots.
If you are smack-dab in the middle of this cart and your Happiness level is below your Investment level, you might be going through a midlife evaluation period. I am. It seems like I’ve put a lot of extra effort into my business lately, but my level of happy has taken a nose dive.
If you’re like me, you could be wondering if all the investment you’ve put into your life position so far as been worth the effort…wondering why…after all the hard work…your happiness level is not sky-high. Some people never have these thoughts, but many of us do.
We feel like we’ve flat-lined and don’t know quite what to do about it.
I’m not going to make any specific suggestions on how to handle it, because I’m a far cry from Dr. Phil. Changing paths may be right for you, while charging ahead on the current course might be right for someone else. My point for now is that many of us get to this stage in life. It’s common….it’s normal…and it frequently happens after age 40.
Whether you take baby steps or one giant leap, it’s never too late to bring your life into X/Y Axis Balance. If you feel out of balance, then this may a perfect time to re-evaluate….to take stock in your accomplishments…and to take charge of your future. What makes you happy? Are you investing enough in that?
What do your plots look like? Do you have any advice for making major, midlife decisions?
Tomorrow ends the A-Z Challenge, so don’t miss the final post!