The kids are back to school, soon the leaves will be changing colors, and the lazy days of summer will come to an end. What does that mean for you? Are you ready to make a change in your life or career? Now is the time to take stock of who you are and who you want to become in your next chapter.
For many of us we have focused on our families playing an amazingly important and rewarding role on center stage. You may be searching for a new script and a role that fits who you are now. One recent client told me that 20 years ago she landed the perfect part as a Full Time Mother working day and night, with very little vacation time, no time off, little financial compensation, but the rewards…priceless! Some of us have worked outside of the home, but it was a job that fit best with our family and perhaps not one that was aligned with our interests, and values. Now is the time for self-discovery and exploration.
As many of us turn fifty, we feel the need to make the mark on the world and a need to affix a label to ourselves besides “Mom”. We will always be Mom, but maybe in a supporting role.
Three steps to nurture the post-parenting stage of your life:
1. Take the Needed Time
Just as you wouldn’t expect your college freshman to learn all the ropes the first week on campus, be patient with yourself as well. Figuring out your next steps is a journey of self-reflection and reinvention that takes time.
Do some soul-searching and think about how you will shift gears. Some questions to ask yourself, “Who am I now? What am I engaged with? What is my life’s meaning? How am I needed?
2. Take Stock of Your Work Life
For many, fulfillment at work peaks at this transition — good pay, important responsibilities and years of expertise. But others may need to make adjustments caused by burnout, losing jobs, changing paths, retiring early or re-entering the job market after a long period devoted to caring for children and running a household.
By midlife, most people have a spouse or partner, grown kids at college and perhaps grandchildren and elderly parents, all of whom may require financial support. Midlife adults also have more “stuff” than emerging adults do — a house, a car, a retirement plan — and may not be able to walk away from the job that pays for their stuff, even if they dread going to work each day. Assessing your future work choices involves an evaluation of many factors—job satisfaction, family dynamics, work values, and financial responsibilities.
3. Try Something New
Novelty is the spice of this time of life. On your own, with a friend or partner or for your community, make plans to do something you’ve always dreamed of doing — as simple as a nightly post-dinner stroll, as challenging as learning a new language, as helpful as tutoring at a school or as adventuresome that trip you have dreamed about.
I can remember crying the entire way home after we dropped off my first daughter at college, all the way from Ohio to New Hampshire. As time went on, I took time to figure out what I wanted to do next. It really is a clean slate opportunity to discover what is most important to you as a person, not just as a Mom. It is new role on center stage and you are the director of what comes next! WHO DO YOU WANT TO BECOME!
Once your kids are well launched, you can focus on your own goals and dreams. Enjoy every minute of the process. If you would like help and the support of other women going through this process, consider joining the next Jumpstart Your Career Change group through Demarest Directions. For more information, contact Sandy at 603-801-6689 or firstname.lastname@example.org