How to Navigate the Next Phase – A Gen Xer turns Fifty
Years ago—somewhere in my early 40s—I created an intention for myself. I told myself that I wanted to be self-employed by the age of 50.
I didn’t know much more than that—I didn’t know what I would be doing, or how or even where I would be living. I just knew that I didn’t want to continue working like I had been: for someone else that I didn’t respect very much, doing something that I didn’t truly love. I couldn’t see any of the details. Then, I forgot about my intention.
Fast forward to today. I am self-employed, doing something I believe is important. I’m living in a different place (I didn’t wander too far, I’m just across the street). I have no boss, other than those who I consider clients. I made it happen. And I have no idea how it happened.
I mean, I can lay out the timeline of everything that happened, but it just sort of fell into place this way. I introduced myself to my neighbor who has now been my partner for seven years. I completely fell into teaching yoga, which has been a huge blessing in many ways. It’s the thing that has allowed me to earn a living and has helped me be a better writer. Oh yeah—I rediscovered my passion for reading and writing. So there’s that. Did I mention I’ve published two books on Amazon?
So here I am, counting down the days to my 50th birthday. The road to this place hasn’t always been easy. It’s flowed, but I’ve encountered my share of doubt, frustration, ego smashing, sadness, fear, and stress. But I’ve made it.
An Idea for the Next Twelve Months
Herein lies my idea. Here is my plan. Albeit a very loose one.
It is time to stop searching, and time to start owning.
This doesn’t mean I’m not a seeker. I’ll always be interested in learning new things and taking new roads of thought. While I’m not a very adventurous traveler, I’m always thrilled to see where my mind goes next (although I do hope to do more traveling in the next few years).
What I mean by “stop searching” is that it’s time for me to really own who I already am.
For now, I am a yoga teacher. I am a writer. I like to think that I’m pretty damn good at both, and that they go together. And that for now, this is who I am. I’m smart enough to know it would be silly to rule anything else out, because how the universe puts things together for us is truly a mystery and if I make a list of all the things I’m not going to do (open a coffee shop that also sells yarn, become a world-famous painter, get rich selling hand-made lip balm, etc) then I’m making my world smaller. But what I can do, is simply follow where I am led, rather than keep assuming I’m on the wrong path and spending so much time looking for the right one.
There have been times over the last few years that I’ve really been unhappy teaching yoga. But the opportunities keep coming, and not once have I shown up somewhere and taught a class and regretted it. I have been unhappy because it’s been hard for me to create a routine around my teaching schedule. I need routine. This has been one of the biggest challenges since I left the banking business, where everything was scheduled for me.
And of course, what I do for a living is only one facet of who I am. I am a woman, I am smart and funny. I am loyal, compassionate and fair. I am also scared, sometimes lacking confidence, and have a hard time showing emotion or kindness. It is challenging to be vulnerable.
I know I’m not THE voice of my generation (which is Gen X, the best of all the gens, natch). But I realized lately that I can be A voice of my generation, and that this is just as, if not more, important. Who will write about being this age right now? How will I and my generation be remembered? What do we have to say? As I prepare to turn 50, I realize with even greater force how fleeting this all is, how we should savor each minute and each breath and each bite of food. We should laugh, spread joy, further the consciousness of the entire planet.
This is who I am at 50.
Over the next year, I’m going to blog every week about what’s going on in my life, and I’m going to make an effort to do more new things (maybe not big things, but new for sure). I’m going to write about my experience following my path, wherever that may lead. I guess you could say this is more for me than for you, but in a way, it’s for everybody. I don’t mean that to sound so egotistical. I just mean this blog will be thoughts and ideas that will become part of our collective consciousness—both for my generation and for all generations. We all have a voice, this is how I will use mine.
If you want some birthday cake on Sunday (the big day), let me know and I’ll message you my address.