There are times in life when it occurs to us that our lives haven’t quite turned out the way we might have planned. In our twenties, everything is new and we’re getting to know ourselves. The next decade is where we have the opportunity to live out who we are, test ourselves, and find out what we’re made of. By this time we’ve usually chosen partners, pursued careers, and have had enough fulfillments to know what we need to be happy.
However for some, in our middle to late thirties, we find that things haven’t unfolded the way we might have hoped, despite our best intentions and committed efforts. We start to feel like it’s time for a change and that our life needs to take another direction. It’s important to take some time to figure out what we really want for ourselves and take a more active role in manifesting our destinies. Up until then it’s seemed as though life just sort of happened, which is of course true, but now we’ve seen that years have slipped by, almost in a blink. We’re now in our middle years and no longer have the luxury of allowing life to continue to unfold according to old default patterns, unconscious survival strategies, or the ruts we might find ourselves in. If we really want to we can re-set our minds and begin to visualize how we really desire our lives to be and set some new forces into motion so as to begin to truly create the life of our dreams.
That’s where we can start — with dreaming. As children it was okay to daydream but as adults it seems unheard of, who really has that kind of time? Start with some dreaming outside of the box, if you could do anything, anywhere, with anyone, what would that look like? Let your mind run free, outside of the grid of obligations and have tos and the ways we think we’re supposed to be. It may be helpful to find some support for this new freer way of thinking/being, perhaps with a therapist, life coach, or therapy group where you can get a clearer sense of who you are. Basically it’s a time to redefine yourself and to discover what you want most out of life, to really create a new template for your future.
I made such a change for myself after my marriage ended (a natural time for a life transition). After leaving an earlier career to pursue a spiritual path, I found myself back at square one with not as much of a destination in mind combined with few useable skills. I was in my late 30s and was literally starting from the ground up. I got a job with my friend’s company, The Baker, delivering bread, which entailed very long hours of very hard and unfulfilling work. Doing this to survive, I soon began to realize that much of what I learned on my spiritual and therapy path could perhaps be used to help others on their journeys. I began by taking some classes part time and through some synchronicity, discovered a way to train to become a Gestalt therapist. A few years later, with enough experience under my belt I used all of my previous marketing skills to begin building a full time private practice in Manhattan, while continuing on to earn a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and then a Doctorate in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The rest is history, except for now my life is nothing like my past; it is now so much more rewarding, abundant, and fuller in absolutely every way.
If and when you find yourself at a place in your life where you’re at an existential crossroads or in betwixt and between, embrace it. It means that deeper, important parts of you are yearning to be experienced, developed, and given the opportunity to become actualized. Take some time to really sit with yourself in discovering your true purpose, what your right livelihood might be, or how to manifest your perfect relationship. In doing so you’ll learn more about who you are at this stage in your life and what needs you have now that require attention. We all change as we move forward and more fully engage in this wondrous upward cycle of life, so let yourself be the change you’re wanting to see in you life or in the world. Let yourself take the next organic steps and over time you’ll find that you’ve moved through the transition and have begun to create the lifeof your dreams.
Michael Mongno MFT, Ph.D, LP is a licensed psychoanalyst, relationship counselor and holistic practitioner in Manhattan. He brings a wealth of successful experience with a wide range of couples issues as well as down-to-earth wisdom and modern sensibility to what it takes to create healthy, loving and empowered relationships. Please visit PresentCenteredTherapies.com or call (212) 799-0001 for more information.