Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mid Life Happiness – the 3 Basic Rules

There are 3 basic rules to ensure midlife happiness:

Rule 1: Be happy in your own time
Some people find it hard to accept that they are growing older, they seek perpetual youth.

Some have facelifts, botox injections and other cosmetic surgery to try to keep the ravages of time at bay. This may look very attractive for a time but often ends with the person looking a parody of his or her previous self. ‘Trout pout’ anyone?

Some wear clothes that would look much better on their children (rule 1a – If you are old enough to have worn it when it was in fashion last time around, don’t wear it this time!).

Some people in midlife decide to start again with a younger partner – ‘Cougar’ women take a toyboy, midlife men might opt for a 20 something female with long legs. Whilst this might seem attractive in the short term, once the initial excitement has died down, the couple find themselves living together with little in common. They watched different TV programmes when they were children, they grew up listening to different music and they wore different styles of clothes – they come from different ‘times’ and unless they are very fortunate, they are very unlikely to feel comfortable with each other in the long term.

Rule 2: Be happy in your own skin
We are all born with the hand of cards that we are given. Some will grow up as beautiful people, others won’t. Some will become thought leaders in their spheres, most won’t.

‘Show me the boy and I will show you the man’, a popular saying that rings very true. Most of us don’t change greatly as we get older, we play the hand that we were dealt.

Many people, though, are not happy with the cards that they were dealt and call ‘foul’. Most women are not happy with some aspects of their looks. Some go to great lengths to change their appearance with nose jobs, boob jobs, tummy tucks and all kinds of plastic surgery. This goes far beyond trying to keep their youth (see Rule 1) and is an attempt to change their looks, to give themselves characteristics that they wished they’d been born with.

Whilst some attempts at remodelling your looks can be beneficial, particularly for self-esteem and confidence, it is important to draw the line.

A midlife crisis is often triggered by a person not being able to come to terms with living in their own skin.

Rule 3: Be happy in your own life
Many people feel that they need to ‘fit in’, that they need to conform to a norm with which they aren’t really comfortable. Teenagers, in particular, feel that they must be part of a crowd and fall victim to peer pressure. Their friends all have tattoos, so they feel that they should have tattoos, even if they don’t like them (and will regret having them in later life, particularly if they include someone’s name!)

Midlifers are less inclined to worry about peer pressure but the ‘green-eyed monster’ of jealousy is a very real part of the life of many people in midlife. We all lead different lives and however happy we are, however well off we are, there will always be people who seem to be doing better than us. Some of them will indeed be doing better than us, either because they were dealt a better hand at birth (see Rule 2) or because they work harder than we do (often both).

The grass always seems greener in somebody else’s life. However, when the green-eyed monster rears its head, take a few moments to consider the other aspects of the person’s life – these may not be quite so rosy. Your rich friend may be doing very nicely in the big house, driving the expensive car but behind closed doors their relationship may be falling apart. Their kids might be taking drugs and mixing with the wrong ‘friends’.

Don’t try to ‘keep up with the Jones’ out of jealousy, to make yourself look better or more acceptable to your friends. You may find yourself deeply in debt if you overstretch yourself unnecessarily.

To be happy in your life, accept what you have – but don’t let that stop you from striving to achieve greatness. There is a difference between making the most of your life and trying to live your life imitating someone else.

What do you think? Please leave a comment. Thanks, Rob

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  1. Living in my own time is so liberating! Thank you for the succinct reminders and advice. Of course I would not mind having my younger body back though exercise helps me find it......