Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s what is happening in my life at the moment. It really could be a whole host of things.
Yet every lunch I have, every “old” friend I’ve chatted with over the past few months, the conversation always turns to “what’s next?”
I have friends getting divorced. I have friends getting married. I have friends selling their homes. I have friends with kids leaving for college. I have friends with kids getting married. I have friends having kids. I have friends starting up new careers. I have friends taking new classes.
It seems we’re all trying to find the “what’s next?”
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how old we are. What matters is what we are facing – right now – at this point in our lives. And how we handle it.
In some aspects, timing matters.
When you get married for the first time, or have your first child, life looks different. You have so much ahead of you.
But when the kids leave for college or you downsize your home, it’s almost like a step backwards. All of a sudden time isn’t on your side. You can’t restart your career and do what you’ve always dreamed of doing. Can you really be a prima ballerina at 50?
So maybe at some age, the “what’s next?” turns into something more. When you’re 20, you have a lifetime yet to figure out what to do. If it doesn’t go right at 20, try something else at 25. You’ve got a lot of time to decide.
But if you’re 50 and ask “what’s next?”, there is almost a sense of hurriedness to it. “I have to decide quickly”, you think. “How could I not have figured this out yet”, you say over and over again.
And that may truly be the problem.
Instead of putting the emphasis where it belongs – on the “what’s next?” – you put the emphasis on your failures.
“Why haven’t I found my passion yet?”
“I only have a few good years to do what I want to do.”
“I haven’t achieved “this” yet and now time is running out.”
And so deep in your mind, the tension, stress and anxiety starts in. Hurry. Do it fast. Find it now. And the stress builds. And builds.
“What’s next?” doesn’t have to be some monumental moment in your life. Instead, it’s all about doing one thing to move you forward.
Maybe it’s selling the house and downsizing.
Maybe it’s taking an art class.
Maybe it’s giving up the lattes for a year so you can afford that trip to Italy you’ve always wanted.
It’s all about action.
Forget the high achievements. Instead, look at one thing a little differently. By making one change – doing one thing you’ve always wanted to do – it will impact you in so many other ways.
Don’t reach for the impossible. Instead, let it happen.
Do one thing. And it will lead to another.
And that’s all we can really hope for in this life.