– PIRIE JONES GROSSMAN
ARE YOU AT A CROSSROADS IN YOUR LIFE?
Women are starting to see creative potential in their midlife years and beyond.
Age is no longer seen as a burden but an asset. Women have the experience and hard-won wisdom and are no longer willing to consider themselves too old to dream. When we approach 50, how we are seen in the world and how we see ourselves changes. Some call it a midlife crisis, but is that true? A crisis? I like to call it a reinvention. It’s a time to dream and live our lives the way we want—to live life on our terms.
Since the latter part of 2020, I’ve interviewed nearly 500 women between ages 45-70 for my book, Conversations with Pirie: 30 Stories of People Who Reinvented Themselves. Primarily comprised of women, these “reinventors” started new businesses, recreated how and where they lived, got married and divorced, became artists, activists, cancer survivors, philanthropists, and so much more. I discovered that women naturally experience a surge of creativity at midlife but don’t always recognize or acknowledge it. (Author Julia Cameron confirms that in her well-loved book, The Artist’s Way.)
In my column, “The Best is Yet to Come,” I’m going to write about reinvention. For those in midlife, renovation, or awakening, I will guide you on this journey.
But first, it’s why do you want to reinvent yourself? What is necessary to take your life in a new direction? How do you stay on track, ignore the cynics, believe in yourself, and stay focused on your vision against fear, doubt, and insecurity? Why reinvent at all? It’s challenging, defiant, often costly, and a considerable disruption in your life—yet, it’s the embodiment of the unknown. How great is that! And the bonus point here—you are the only one responsible for your success! No one else can do or have this journey except you. And wow, does the journey outweigh the risk because reinvention can fulfill lifelong dreams!
But how? During this reinvention, you will gain a true sense of self-worth and confidence, follow through with your intuition, and if you’re lucky, the process will lead you to your soul’s purpose. Another bonus point—it will quietly define that what worked in the past no longer works now or for the future. Example: Why does your inner voice speak loudly and urgently and say, “I can’t do this anymore! I can’t live this way anymore; I’m so unhappy?” Or why does it plead softly and incessantly, “I don’t want to die without having tried this,” or “I can’t imagine who I will become if I don’t change course.”
If any of the above thoughts sound familiar and have been weighing heavily on your mind and heart, it’s time to pause and remind yourself it’s never too late to start something new! The only timeline you’re up against is your own. New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown describes midlife with a sense of urgency as, “When the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you, ‘I’m not fucking around, use your gifts you were given, now!’”
We all have dreams, but we don’t move forward on them because our mindset gives us a million excuses such as, “I don’t have time,” “I don’t have enough money,” or “I don’t know how.” My favorites are “It’s too late” or “I’m too old.” But, are your best years really behind you? I think not! So, reframe your excuses and begin telling yourself you’re right on time.
I created a formula for my private coaching clients, and I’m going to share it with you—yes, you, the fascinating pro-aging woman. It’s called “5 Activator Steps to Reinvent Your Life.”
Through this system, I’ll help you figure out not only “how” to reinvent your next chapter but “what” is your next chapter. I know you have incredible dreams that you want to happen, and I’m sure they’re ideas that the world needs to experience or hear, and the Universe chose you.
But that doesn’t mean your idea will hang around forever. For example, in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, she describes how her book idea called “Evelyn in the Amazon” waited two years before she got around to writing it. But, guess what? It didn’t wait because the concept went to someone else who prioritized it and wrote it! “The idea had grown tired of waiting, and it had left me,” Gilbert affirmed. But, she adds, “…listen, follow your curiosity and trust that a new is idea is constantly looking for human collaborators.”
What did I understand from Gilbert? Don’t wait for the invitation to make a difference in the world! You’ve already received it. So now, how are you going to RSVP?
Starting this month, we will focus only on step one. First, I’d like you to grab a journal. You’ll be writing in it for the next four months as you begin your journey of reinvention. Use it to write down your thoughts and ideas every day.
You’ll get inspired if you make time to daydream, meditate, walk in nature, listen to podcasts, read, and do whatever you enjoy doing. This is a time for curiosity and self-discovery, and I suggest scheduling time. Don’t put this discovery time at the bottom of your daily “to-do” list—put it at the top.
Studies show that the best time to create is in the morning. According to the Harvard Business Review, the ideal work schedule is based on circadian rhythms. Humans have a well-defined internal clock that shapes our energy levels throughout the day. Our circadian process is often called circadian rhythm because it tends to be very regular. On average, the best peak energy times are in the mornings between 6 AM and noon and the afternoons between 3 PM-6 PM.
WHO ARE YOU NOW?
You will genuinely find your joy and purpose in life when you answer this question. This first step—getting to know yourself will make your life more meaningful. I added the word now because I don’t want you to describe who you were in your past or even tell me who you want to become; that’s the future. Instead, you will see how well you know yourself today by answering this question.
- –Make a list of characteristics and personality traits
- –Be honest and truthful
- –Describe who you are today
- –Be vulnerable; what are you struggling with at this moment?
- –Ask yourself, “Am I where I want to be in all areas of my life… mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually?”
- –List your strengths and weaknesses
- –Who are you outside of your work; in your relationships?
- –What inspires you now?
- –How will you be remembered now?
“We fear to know the fearsome and unsavory aspects of ourselves, but we fear even more to know the godlike in ourselves.” — Abraham Maslow.
Here are 10 questions to think about and answer to help you go deeper in answering, “Who am I now?”
- –How do I show love for myself?
- –Do I speak up when I feel I’m not getting what I deserve?
- –Do I feel guilty if I put my needs first?
- –How often do I say “no” to things and people who don’t bring me joy?
- –How content am I with my life?
- –Do I have any regrets or unforgiveness that I can’t let go of?
- –Do I believe I’m responsible for creating my own life? Or does life just happen to me?
- –What am I more afraid of—failure or regret not trying?
- –How often do I tell myself, “I can’t”?
- –In what ways am I contributing to the world or to my legacy?
Lastly, ask yourself, how would I describe myself so that the person asking the question would truly understand who I am and what is important to me.
I am looking forward to connecting with you in our next issue.
Get in touch with PIRIE JONES GROSSMAN
Photography by Amanda Nagy