What is a MidLife Review?

In an earlier blog, I talk about midlife as a wonderful opportunity to reflect. In a Midlife Review we can:

  • draw breath
  • check our progress.
  • celebrate how far we’ve come
  • start planning what’s still to come.

So, today I’d like to share with you an exercise for a MidLife Review.

I did this exercise recently and had a real shock. I was checking in with my 20-year-old self and thinking forward to my 100-year-old self. (See below for some specific help on how to do this.) I realised that, assuming I do make it to 100, I have as many years left as I’ve already had since 20. I’m pretty much in the middle of that span. That thought certainly put things in perspective!

I started thinking about what I’m going to do with all that time. There’s time enough (and more) for a whole new career. Or two or three, depending on how long you think a career could be. It’s certainly long enough to achieve a lot more with my life.

It was a similar review a couple of years ago that led me to rethink my business, to focus more on coaching – a role I can continue well into my senior years and more easily than travelling the world to run training courses. Since then, I like to do a regular review, although I avoid the whole New Year thing.

In a previous blog, I’ve suggested some ways you might like to check in with your 20-year-old self. It’s time now to think forward to your 100-year-old self. You might like to find somewhere quiet to sit where you can be free of any distractions.

Who will you be at 100?

Imagine you are 100. Really think yourself into it – picture what your clothes might be like, what hairstyle you’re sporting, what the design of your chair might be like. I know this is probably summoning up images of a science fiction scene, but you can let rip here and imagine whatever you like.

While you’re sitting here at 100, you are going to think back to your current age (how old you are in ‘real life’) and consider the story of the time between. Here are some specific questions that might help you think through your life story.

  • What have you done since your MidLife?
  • Did you continue working and, if so, how long for? If you retired, how long ago was that?
  • What ambitions remained to be achieved since you hit MidLife? Have you now achieved them and, if so, how?
  • Have you celebrated those achievements and how did you do that? Indeed, how did you celebrate your 100th birthday?
  • Are there any of your MidLife ambitions you haven’t yet ‘checked off’ and are they still there to be worked on? Or has your life taken a different turn?
  • As you look back on your life between MidLife and 100, what is the story of that time that you would like to share with others? What are you most proud of?

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. (Maya Angelou)

When you’ve finished your review, change your position. I suggest you stand up and shake off your 100-year-old self. (You can always revisit that wonderful person whenever you want their guidance!)

What are your insights?

By changing your perspective, in this case, changing your age, you quite often get some insights into how you want to live. By the time you’re 100, it might be too late to achieve some of your ambitions. Maybe you need to start working on those dreams now in order to ‘check them off the list’ before you’re 100! This exercise is great for focusing on the fact that 100 may not be as far off as you thought. Alternatively, it might even make you realise that it’s plenty long enough to achieve a lot more than we imagined.

Grab a notebook and make a list of the dreams you have for the future. In future blogs, I’ll suggest some ways you can capture more of them by thinking about your legacy, and also how you can start planning your route to achieving them.

For now, it’s enough that you’ve started imagining how your life might turn out and the changes you might have gone through between now and 100.

Let me know on Twitter @JPCoaching what insights you’ve had from this exercise. If you would like help with your MidLife Review, do get in touch or take a look at my MidLife Transition Workshops.

(Photo by Javier Graterol on Unsplash)