Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Midlife Survival Skills

I have heard it said that if we feel stuck in an any arena of life, it suggests a skill deficit. In other words, if there is something we want to accomplish or overcome and we can't quite get there, it means there are skills we have yet to learn. I like this positive perspective as it so much more productive than imagining we are stuck due to external circumstances or some personal deficit about which we can do nothing.

So what are the skills needed for successfully navigating the notorious midlife crisis? I think they include:

1) The ability to deal with our inner conflicts and competing motivations directly and consciously.

2) The ability to keep a commitment to both your self and a commitment to those you are in relationship with - even if, or especially when, those needs seem in deep conflict with each other.

3) The willingness and ability to entertain all of your private dreams and fantasies WITHOUT prematurely acting upon them as concrete and literal new life directions.

4) The ability to cultivate a certain lightness and appreciation for the absurdities of life.

5) A commitment to working your life out, in some basic way, on your own terms and a willingness to take complete responsibility for your choices and their consequences. e.g. the skill of blaming no one or no thing else for your life just as it is.

6) The skill of tending to your own fire.

These are some of the skills that I believe are required to mine the true potential value of a crisis that comes at midlife and to avoid some of the major pitfalls along the way.

© Copyright David Aspenson

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