Once upon a time, I set out to conquer the world. I was in my twenties, and I wanted it all!
Maybe that’s a product of being young and wanting to set the world on fire.
So I worked hard. I got my first job. Moved around. Got another job. Moved up the corporate ladder.
Eventually, I moved to life as an entrepreneur. I created a six figure business model. Then I doubled my income, and doubled it again.
My success was recognized, and I was approached by a publisher to write my first book. That book became the crux of my very first infoproduct. It’s what I used to set up my very first coaching website.
I grew that site from scratch, and morphed it into one of the premier photography business sites online. Then at its peak, I sold it, and used that to finance my next act.
Now, I realize I’m a bit of an overachiever. I’ve always loved business and marketing. I’ve truly believed things like: Why write one book when you could write two? (Or ten. 😉 )
But something happened in my transition from my twenties, to my thirties, to my forties, and now into my fifties.
It’s Not All About The Money
I’ve had my business successes. And I’ve had my business failures. It’s the life of an entrepreneur, I suppose.
But because of that, I don’t have retirement all figured out. I haven’t built a pension in the way 9 to 5 workers have watched them grow. That’s been entirely driven by my own doing. I’ve made mistakes with it along the way. I’ve failed … big. I pulled from it for a business venture – oh, if I could only go back and do that over again.
But I can’t. I’m not complaining. I’ve had big wins. And I’m living a very good life.
Still, I’m working on setting up my retirement so I can live it well. (I know Social Security and Medicare won’t exist for us Gen Xers, so I’m planning entirely on my own.)
Of course, I’m still blogging, and building a business online. But what I’m seeing, the ads I’ve watched popup on my Instagram, Facebook, Google, and elsewhere lately have captured my eye. And not it a good way.
See, I don’t want to be a “filthy rich writer.” I don’t want to focus on earning six, seven, eight figures and get there as fast as I can.
I don’t want to build an income stream that takes up all my time. I don’t want big promises on how to set up my life, knowing full well they probably won’t deliver.
Ugh, the ads are making me quite queasy. Their promises are just so … young? Can that be it? I feel like they’re reaching out to people that are starting life from square one. (And truthfully, they probably are.) Been there, did that – maybe that’s it. Or maybe they just aren’t speaking my language.
You notice it too?
I’ve reached this special place called midlife. And I’ve already experienced a lot of what they promise. I’ve moved on. I’m on a new path. What I want now is to find fulfillment on this part of my journey. I want to enjoy every moment of my life, from today forward.
I want my days to be perfect … for me.
For me, five o’clock is a beautiful hour of the morning. It’s dark. It’s quiet. I can do my own thing knowing I won’t be disturbed. I meditate, journal, enjoy a mug of tea, write, think, read – I use the first hour to reflect on my day ahead.
For me, my morning walks are everything. I spend an hour outside being one with nature. I may walk with friends. I may walk with Andrew. Sometimes I walk alone. I treasure my river walks near my home – I’ve seen bald eagles, hawks, beavers, and seals. If I’m traveling, I enjoy whatever the local scenery is – one of my favorite beaches in the world (so far) was in New Zealand, where I walked along a beach so thick with seashells they crunched beneath my feet.
For me, I tuck away all digital devices outside of working hours. I go to lots of workout classes – Zumba, Nia, Yoga, Cardio Fusion anyone? I play all weekend long. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest. I’ll continue to travel the world. I have trips planned months in advance. Travel IS a part of my life because I made it a part of my life.
I’m no longer willing to give up my time for long days and empty promises. I’ve cast a lot of “me time” in stone, and I’m not willing to budge.
It’s All About The Lifestyle
What the ads promoting being a “filthy stinking business owner” or a six, seven, or eight figure entrepreneur don’t focus on is what I really want right now, here today, in the center of midlife.
I don’t want to find a husband, get married, start a family, raise a child, build my dream home, or save for a rainy day.
I’m here – RIGHT NOW – in the center of midlife.
And I’m all too aware of what the potential might be.
Call it the curse of Gen X.
I watched my dad dream big. He wanted early retirement, a chance to have a small income coming in, one that would let him try his hand at something else. But he died two months short of his goal, at 54 years old, before he could enjoy any of the fruits of his labor.
How young he was isn’t lost on me, now that I’ve turned 54.
And that’s not all.
I’ve stepped into the caregiving mode.
I’ve had friends have heart attacks of their own.
I’ve been downsized, lost businesses, and jobs.
I’ve lost a very good friend to heart disease a few years ago.
I’ve faced the empty nest and have adjusted to living with an adult child.
I know things like Social Security and Medicare won’t exist when I reach my mid-60s. I know that if I expect anything for my old age, that’s all on me.
Yep, this midlife thing puts a lot into perspective.
It also makes me question the goal of how to save for a rainy day. Of building this gigantic business that’s worth millions. Of putting years into a business venture in hopes it’ll be around for decades.
Why stack away millions of dollars, why build a six, seven, or eight figure business, why work 8 days of the week trying to make it so, if I haven’t figured out yet how to enjoy it?
This Isn’t All Worries and Downers
Honestly, I’m not one to think for a moment that I only have a few weeks or months left. I’m not one who’s focusing on “a few good years remaining.” Nope.
In fact, quite the opposite.
Because my dad died at such a young age, I’ve focused on being the best I can be. I work at my health. I’ve studied nutrition. I also appreciate “the now” just a little bit more. And I’ve spent a lot of time working on me.
I question western medicine. I’ve integrated a lot of alternative practices into my life. I just had a complete physical, and when my doctor looked at my blood work, she said, “Wow, your numbers are incredible for a woman your age.” Not bragging. I’ve worked hard, thanks to my dad, to learn all I can about heart disease. I’ve had twenty-five years of reading, studying, and trying out what the “experts” say will be a “cure” for heart disease. And so far it’s kept me at the top of my game.
But there’s no guarantee.
My dad lost his life at 54, I’m all too aware of how short life really is.
Maybe that’s why my goal has never been money.
And why now, in midlife, the thought of creating a business that focuses on money makes me a bit queasy.
Instead, I want to focus on today.
My writing hour before anyone rises for the day.
My walk in the park, listening to the osprey sing their special song.
My book talks with my daughter.
My happy hours with my friends.
My weekend getaways with my husband.
I love today.
Yes, I want to build a strong future – I only have me to rely on.
But I don’t need the 8 figure business model to give me the lifestyle I need – crave – right here in the now.
I no longer judge business opportunity by the money. I judge it by what it can bring to my life. Yes, I want to write. And I want to be the best writer I can be. I want to create meaningful material. I want to write words that people want to hear. And more importantly, say what I want and need to say.
What I know for sure is that everything I say, there are people out there that resonate with my message. When you “find” where you’re supposed to be, who you’re supposed to be with, you “get” it. Everything falls into place.
Maybe my life has changed my perspective. Maybe that’s given me a different approach to life. All I know is I’m all about today. My goal is to create a lifestyle I thoroughly enjoy … today.