Midlife: Now What?

Written by Keri Brenner

You've long since graduated college, forged a career and maybe even had kids, so what's next? Create your journey.

Do you feel your life would be easier if someone would just give you a road map? Just a little guide to tell you where you've been, where you need to go and how to get there?

Marilyn Powers, author of The Bridge Between Two Lifetimes, offers her own blueprint, tailored for midlifers. Everyone's journey, says Powers, evolves in seven stages: The first three are from birth to midlife; the last three are from midlife on.

A Seven-Stage Journey To Midlife and Beyond
Stage One: Enlightenment through pain
Stage Two: Developing a positive self-concept
Stage Three: Having what you want
Stage Four: The bridge between two lifetimes
Stage Five: Discovering your life purpose and plan
Stage Six: Seeking answers to life's ultimate questions
Stage Seven: Coming home - union with source

Midlife, she says, is the fourth, or middle stage, the "bridge between two lifetimes." The first "lifetime" is the one that you were in your early life (stages one to three), shaped by your parents and the dominant culture, and the second "lifetime" is the one you create at midlife and then live out in the last three stages.

"The bridge involves a major shift from personality, success and biological family to soul, service and global community," says Powers. "The `we' replaces the `I' and the attitude, `How can I serve?' replaces, `What's in it for me?'"

In addition to writing the book and a companion workbook, Powers, of Phoenix, offers workshops and seminars. Here are some questions from Powers' readers and workshop participants.

    What do you mean by, "Retirement is as antiquated as the typewriter?"

    At the time the Social Security system was established in 1937, life expectancy was 57. Now, because of the longevity factor, we can anticipate living to 100. It no longer makes sense to retire; it does make sense to re-career and recreate our lives. We are not over the hill at 50; we are at the bridge.

    Describe the two "lifetimes."

    The first lifetime focuses on personality, success and biological family. The second focuses on soul, service and global community.

    What are the four tasks people must complete at midlife?

    A major life review; embracing "the shadow"; setting priorities; gleaning the wisdom.

Watch this video of Debbie Ford explaining what our "shadow" is.

What happens when we cross the bridge between two lifetimes?

On the other side of the bridge we identify our mission and purpose; ask the ultimate questions about life and death; unite with source.

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