On a request from my friend and piano teacher, Lori, I did a workshop today for moms in my community. Turns out it was an eye opening experience for all of us. They got a chance to explore what’s next for them, as they look at transitioning out of the role of full time mom. And I got a chance to see how much each of us is twentysomething again when we face big change.
Even though I wrote my book Choose on Purpose (for twentysomethings) with twentysomethings in mind, in my heart I knew it applies to all of us. Even my major reviewer said so, when she commented “Clear ideas for planning and implementing objectives are presented in a fun, accessible format… job seekers of any age would benefit from this book.”
But what you know, as I tell myself and others often, is not necessarily what you do. Seeing opportunity through someone’s else’s eyes is itself an eye opener. Much like young people seeking their first life steps, from career finding to partner finding, and location finding to friend finding, looking up ten years after your children’s birth can be a phase full of confusion and bewilderment.
This phase bewilders we think that ten or fifteen more years of life experience should somehow make us “know better.” Fact is, whether we get comfortable in the routines of college life or first job life, spousal life or parenting life, we’re always twentysomething in spirit when we face a change.
We have trapped ourselves into believing that the only time we “have our whole life ahead of us” is when we are young. But every time we pick ourselves up, pay attention to the choices we are making, and decide to change, we still have our whole lives in front of us.
I told the story today of my dear friend Mary who got her college degree in her late thirties, then went on for her doctorate in rehabilitation psychology in the tender years of her mid forties. The moms hearing that story today were so encouraged. How did we manage to make ourselves feel old at thirty-eight?
Never blame anything on menopause or old age, says my wise friend Ginny. I think we’d best heed that advice, follow Mary’s path of re-inventing ourselves at whatever age, and remember that twentysomething is a state of mind, not a state of chronological age.