Shaping Up: Career, Relationships, Self

by Alina on December 23, 2016

in Am I Good Enough?, Career Change, Decision-making, Happiness, Need a Change, Power

potterybymartincathraeYou don’t need any more pressure during this holiday season – your plate is full, I know.

Still, no matter how full your life is at the moment, I know you make time for self-reflection this week.

Because it’s who you are. Ok, I’ll put my cards on the table: “because it’s who I am”, and I know we have a lot in common.

You are at the stage where you probably don’t make New Year resolutions anymore. Instead, you just do what you want to do, whenever you feel ready to do it. (Has it been working well? Let me know if I can help.)

You know yourself. You know what’s working well, and you know the gaps between your current and desired career/relationship/self.

After 10-20 years in your career, in friendships, relationships, and living with yourself as an adult, you probably have a good sense for what shape you are in.

You’ve dropped (or are in the process of dropping) connections, habits, and projects that are not working for you. You are on the lookout for the next grip, the next step, the next effective routine that will get your body, career and relationships in shape you desire.

Then why does the process often feel more like a mess than a controlled action of an experienced expert that you are?

Here’s the thing about mid-career, mid-relationship, and mid-self: it’s all about choosing what to keep and of what to let go. This is hard because “new” feels unsafe and uncertain, and “old” often has sentimental value and comfort, even when you’ve outgrown it. It’s also about finding just the right mix of rest and drive.

When you were younger, your life was all about drive and energy: push, ignite, explore, explode, create, move, be moved.

Later in life, another 20-30 years down the line, I think a large part of life becomes about making time just to be, reflecting rather than expanding exponentially.

In mid-life, you want to enjoy what you have, and you want to push forward (and sometimes be pushed forward); you want safety and adventure; you want a home and a journey; you want the comfort of familiarity and you want to be surprised…

You feel spent (you’ve worked hard!), and you want and need to invest into career growth and meaningful relationships.

You want rest, and you want to be an energy generator in order to feel alive, interesting, and attractive.

You accept yourself, and you want to keep changing – become better, faster, stronger, smarter, more present, and more radiant.

My articles that get the most readership are all about change and making choices: handling life changes, necessity of change, what to do when things change, what to do when you need a change, how to know it’s time to leave your [fill in the blank], 50 signs you need a change


Maybe, just maybe, in mid-career / mid-relationships / mid-self, what we need is a gentle shape-up rather than an earth-shattering change?

Much like in pottery-making, we may need warmth, mindfulness about the shape we want to take, gentle pressure, soft attention, an expert’s or artist’s eye on our progress.

Nothing is the same as it was 20 years ago, but we are not done shaping up.

We are still on the throwing wheel.

We are shaping up into forms that are more stable, more artful, forms that can hold more of what we need, and withstand more of what we must, forms that hold a balance of rest and energy that fits our growth.

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