Midlife can be a tricky time. One minute you’re keenly aware of your age and acting accordingly, and the next you want to flip everything on its head and carpe (the freaking) diem.
As I journey through this time myself, fully committed to have a Badass Midlife, I have learned a thing or two about shifting into living mode and out of sands through the hourglass thinking.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau
Here are a few blissful, childlike behaviors that need to be resurfaced so you don’t get too comfy in your midlife rut.
Laugh at just about everything
Have you noticed how much toddlers laugh? A lot. Not only does laughter diminish as we get older, but it seems even worse lately. Things are funny. People can be absurd. Making light of things is life giving.
When kids bellow out a rip-roaring belly laugh, they do it out of genuine joy and amusement. They don’t look around, overthink, consult their inner barometer on why it might not be ok…they just do it. Come what may.
Seek out things that are amusing, laugh at the little absurdities of life rather than taking everything too seriously, and most importantly, let yourself laugh loudly and proudly, maybe even until you cry.
You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.
— George Bernard Shaw
Creativity without boundaries
As a lover of art and creative expression, I really dig channeling my little inner creator. However, I’m sure there are times that I have held back either in my writing, my interior design work, or even in how I chose to dress myself.
These limitations are all learned since we are conditioned to various levels of “social acceptance”.
Kids just put it out there. They allow themselves to freely create, play, imagine, or sing. No holds barred. And if cowboy boots feel right with athletic shorts, then that’s what’s happening. Ok, maybe you don’t want to go that far, but you get the idea.
Many times we are unable to access that level of freedom because of our daily stresses. Things like meditation, breath work, or yoga can help clear your mind and create some fertile ground for unedited expression and creativity. Find what works for you and open yourself up.
Curiosity and questions
While we may feel worldly and well-informed by a certain point in our lives, the fact is, being inquisitive and curious is not only good for our minds, but it sparks great conversation and builds rapport. Kids don’t think twice about asking questions about anything and everything, and neither should you.
If you have questions on a subject, big or small, religion, politics, whatever…you should unleash that little inquisitor and ask it. There is no harm in asking about something you’re curious about or honestly don’t understand. If someone has an issue with a genuine question, then that’s on them, not you.
Do expressive things like no one is watching
To say we are generally hyper aware of those around us is an understatement. But you know who isn’t? Yep. Kids.
Whether it’s dancing, laughing, playing, or singing, do it like the free-spirit you are. What’s the point of holding anything back? When you dilute your passion and expression, you’re actually diminishing any of the positive benefits.
The dopamine hit and release of other brain chemicals (oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins) you get from untethered dancing is much greater than what you’ll get from swaying back and forth. Moving your body to a favorite jam relieves stress and energizes, and those brain chemicals will positively impact our overall happiness too.
Say “no” whenever you feel like it
If there was ever a time to say “no” to things you don’t want to do…it’s now. You’ve likely spent a couple decades doing things that were not necessarily your first choice. Now is the time to ask yourself what you want to do, and make a true effort not to be guilted or persuaded into doing stuff you don’t like.
To summarize, do yourself a favor and release those midlife rules that shackle you an ordinary existence, and consider these mantras:
- I’m going to allow myself to laugh without holding back, because laughter feels good to me and it’s fun
- I’m going to find a creative way to express myself and way to work it into my life consistently
- I’m going to have childlike curiosity and ask questions without fear
- I’m going to be open and express myself without worry of how it may look to anyone else
- I’m going to commit to respect my time, spend it doing things that bring me joy, and say no to things I don’t wan’t to do.
These reminders will help add a sense of lightness and fun to your day to day and awaken that happy little thrill seeker within you.