Do you wake up every morning excited to be alive, looking forward to the new day? Eric Erickson, a famous psychologist, described the job of midlife as, “Can I make my life count?” If the answer is yes, this leads to “Generativity,” a term for creating a life of purpose and meaning. If the answer is no, this leads to “Stagnation,” regrets, blame and fear. Generativity leads to better relationships with family and friends.
As a child, I memorized the soliloquy from Our Town. Emily looks down at the world saying, “Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?”
Now I understand the meaning. We tend to sleepwalk through life and go on autopilot. We settle instead into making the most of our lives. We can be old at 30 or young at 90. When we stop being open to the possibilities, opportunities and the miracles of life, we grow old.
We each have a choice. It is never too late to start. Holding on to regrets and disappointments from the past leave little room for creating a sunny today. We can never control what happens outside of us but we can choose how we wish to react and how we choose to live our lives today.
What Keeps Us Stuck And Leads To Stagnation?
- Regrets, focusing on past problems.
- Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- Blaming others or ourselves for our situation and problems.
- Living a life based on fear.
Real problems exist: finances, relationships, health and a myriad of other issues. Facing the issues directly, not blaming others or ourselves for their existence allows us to move on. Stagnation leads to unhappiness, bitterness and fear.
How Can We Be Fully Alive To Life?
- Be open to new possibilities and new opportunities. Be open to something wonderful happening everyday and it will!
- Appreciate the small stuff. Focus on the good stuff, on the miracles both large and small each day.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be open, honest, respectful, kind and worthy of others’ trust. Appreciate those qualities in others.
- Cherish and strengthen your relationships, both old and new. As we grow older some enjoy the richness of deep friendships and others struggle with loneliness and isolation.
- Do something each day to make the world a better place. Focusing on what we can do for others instead of our problems automatically increases our happiness quotient.
- Don’t retire. Reinvent. Now is the time to take up a hobby or get involved in volunteer activities. Start a business. What have you always wanted to do?
- Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would a best friend. Let go of all that negative talk and worry in your head.
- Walk. Stretch. Move. Exercise your brain, your body and your heart. Yes, unfortunately if we don’t use it, we lose it. Listen to what inspires and uplifts you and makes you laugh.
- Focus on what matters. Let go of the ‘what if’s’ and ‘what has been.’ What do you want to create now?
- Smile and say hello to everyone you meet. Smile at yourself every time you look into a mirror. Just try it.
Your choice “Generativity,” feeling fully engaged and alive: or “Stagnation,” living a life of fear and regrets.
If you would like a complimentary coaching session on being fully engaged in your life, contact Amelia at amelia@InnerOutcomes.com.