The purpose of a midlife crisis, perimenopause and menopause (from a spiritual perspective) is to move us beyond childbearing to birthing ourselves…and this is as true for men as it is for women. During midlife and menopause, we are invited to leave behind the life we have known to make room for the new life that is trying to be born through us. In birthing our new selves, we are birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we find fulfillment by contributing to the betterment of our world. In birthing our Soul, we are also birthing a new vocation and in birthing our new vocation, we are required to revision work, what it means to us and how we want it to look in the second and third trimesters of our lives.
Midlife and Menopause – Revisioning Work
While this is not true for everyone, the ideal outcome of the midlife process for men is a new relationship with work where work becomes less about being the “provider” and more about doing what they love. For women, the midlife journey transitions them from being a caretaker of children and partners to tending to themselves – specifically their creative gifts, passions and dreams and finding a new vocation in this. For women who did not choose, or were not gifted with motherhood, a shift in career from “work” to “passion” is the ideal outcome. In order to be open to this life-giving transition, however, both men and women have to revision work, what work means to them and what they want it to look like in the second and third trimesters of their lives.
Midlife and Menopause – Letting work define us
For many, in order to revision work, we have to confront old and familiar attitudes about work. For many, work comes to be how we are defined and how we find our validation. We come to associate ourselves with what we do. “Hi, I’m Lauri. I am a counselor.” “Hi, I’m John, I’m a financial planner.” Unfortunately, we live in a society which supports this illusion – that we work, therefore we are. The truth we learn in midlife, however, is that work is not who we are, it is simply what we do. The other problem with work is that we also live in a culture which says, “In order to be recognized, validated, loved, you’d better be working and productive.” Work then becomes a source of validation….if I’m working, I am good…if not, I’m being lazy or bad. In midlife, we are invited to learn that none of this is true. In fact, we discover that in order to be happy, healthy, fulfilled and whole, not only do we need meaningful work that engages our uniquely creative gift and in some way gives service to the world, we also need time to DO NOTHING! The outcome of a healthy midlife transition is a balanced relationship between doing (something meaningful and fulfilling) and Being…..in other words, doing nothing!
How are you being invited to revision your relationship with work – finding something that is meaningful and fulfilling and enjoying a healthy balance between working and doing nothing?
Lauri Ann Lumby provides guidance and support for those undergoing the midlife transition. To schedule your own personal, one-on-one mentoring session, call (920) 230-1313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sessions are available in person, over the phone and via Skype.
P.S. Thank you Bob Russo for catching me in the act of simply BEING! 🙂