Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of friends and business contacts half-heartedly joke about how they are stuck in some undesirable feature of their life, and if XYZ doesn’t change they will just have to buy that Harley and travel the world. Perhaps these conversations are simply triggered by our age. Or by the fact that I not so long ago decided to change what I do for a living, providing fertile ground for collective introspection (and some good laughs).
Shrugging off our desire to change our life because it may look like a ‘midlife crisis’ is in my view a real waste of potential. Midlife crisis sounds as if people have lost their way, but what if they have actually found their way? In our forties, we are experienced enough to know what we are good at, where we can really contribute and make an impact. Yet we are young enough to still pour lots of energy into what we do. I was once told that our energy and experience curves cross in our mid-forties, so there’s no time to waste. Midlife wisdom is now!
Culturally, our generation was taught that past the age of twenty you had to start being ‘reasonable’ and fit into the societal mold. Get a recognized education, secure a good job with a reputed brand name and continue to contribute to your employer. Well, the world around us is changing at a pace never seen before, and no longer are large corporations the primary market players. There are so many opportunities to disrupt and make a positive impact to our world.
So why should change be reserved to the millenial generation? In fact, I would argue that those in their forties and fifties who have a talent which is not being put to good use today, who are perhaps stuck with a lousy boss or an unproductive work environment, have an obligation towards the younger generations to rethink their professional activities. It can be incredibly satisfying to reinvent yourself and as an added bonus it definitely makes for more exciting dinner party conversation!