After a disappointing 20s and a heartbreaking 30s, I’m out to have the best decade of my life. I’ve studied the past and applied what I’ve learned to how I’m directing my future. I’m following five tenets that have changed and evolved to this point including connecting and engaging with relationships, being authentic without sacrifice, accepting love with grace, experiencing deeply, and going public.
I am less than a week away from another completed solar trip and so its time to take stock and revisit my 40s manifesto.
What a remarkable year already, even a quarter way in. Growth continues to occur exponentially. I’ve joined some great communities supporting my journey. When I look back at the December entry, it feels like I don’t recognize the person that wrote it! Or, that I have grown beyond those ideas… closer to the most authentic version of myself.
I am more secure with what I would have previously considered my shortcomings. Some things that I’ve experienced recently would have been catastrophic to an older version of myself. But with a greater degree of self-compassion and acceptance, they are merely things to work on and through.
I am more than halfway into my forty-second year. I wrestle with several illusions including not properly managing time, that someone else is responsible for my current station in life, and that the position I find myself in is responsible for my restless desire for more.
I just read a fantastic book on time management – or perhaps it’s an anti-time management book -, Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman. It describes our obsession with time management pointing out that we’ll never actually achieve the state of control we desire and that most of our truly memorable time is that when we are not concerned with it. This is the first illusion, time. (Defeats the idea of this whole 40’s manifesto thing, eh?) The illusion is that I (and perhaps we) are not being as productive as we could be with our time. I often feel I am wasting a lot of time. Yet, I sleep only 5-6 hours per night to be productive early the next day (not enough!) and feel defeated with a to-do list that never seems to be finished. There will always be more items to add to the list! And this is why it’s an illusion – the illusion of control.
Next, even though I pride myself on having an internal locus of control, I often feel (almost subconsciously) that someone else ‘put me’ in the position I am in. This is often a thought under the surface when things aren’t going well. But it’s there (and also kind of embarrassing to admit). Blame is a strategy that doesn’t work and often follows overwhelm. Bottom line: I’VE MADE THE CHOICES THAT PUT ME IN THIS PLACE IN LIFE! Therefore…another illusion.
The final illusion I reckon with is that of having a great life yet wanting more. As if this ‘more’ will bring more happiness or well-being. But truth be told, life is pretty good.
As I was describing a new business venture to a team member, she made the comment “But, haven’t you already ‘made it’?”
That was my thought, anyhow. My current position is nothing compared to my potential! The conversation triggered an existential fear best exemplified by the quote from the recent TV show Station Eleven, “I don’t want to live the wrong life and then die.”
Heavy, I know. But I do want more. I want a successful romantic relationship, a full-time career as a life coach, to backpack Australia for a month, to run 50 more marathons, and to publish my novel. I am not satisfied with the substantial successes of this past year including having the best financial year, the greatest degree of personal growth, and the best overall well-being in my life! I want more. ‘Restless desire for more’ – is that too strongly put?
I find myself faced with these illusions and still I know they are illusions. But when they arise, they are all-consuming to my awareness and therefore challenging to navigate.
Gateways and Synergies
I woke up early today and meditated for an hour. It went by in a flash. There was a time when I could barely tolerate ten minutes! I credit this to using a sensory deprivation tank or REST therapy two times per month. I float in saltwater, no light, no sound – NOTHING! This is very meditative and has been a gateway to deeper meditations. The space that exists between stimulus and response is extended. I am happier, less reactive, and better able to self-regulate. This synergy serves me well and causes me to consider whether the possibility of this type of synergy could exist in any other area of my life.
Overall, I’ve built a solid practice that has transformed my experience of living – and I’m just at the beginning.
The 40’s Manifesto Tenets
Connect & Engage in Relationships
The Vision: The value of my life should be sourced from relationships.
This tenet sits at number one for a reason. The relationships and the degree and depth to which I am engaged are key to the success of life in general. I can see the anxious-avoidant attachment style play out daily in my interactions. I seek to correct this pattern and feel secure in the engagement. This has impacted my success at work, in family, and in intimate relationships.
I’ll continue to face this head-on and continue to get comfortable with close relationships.
Be Authentic Without Sacrifice
The Vision:To be 100% to the core authentic with no second thought.
Boundaries. Probably the most success is experienced here. I’ve protected my time, space, and emotional energy from things that would have historically caused harm. I’ve also learned to be more accepting of what I deem my shortcomings. I’ve found that a lot of the time, what I consider a weakness isn’t seen that way by others. It may not be considered a strength, but instead simply a facet of my personality. Neither good or bad.
Accept Love With Grace
The Vision: Allow love and care to happen without second thought or impedance.
It was suggested to me to keep a compliment list. This is really just about putting up my antennae and becoming aware of the compliments I receive. This is a great activity because usually, I’m too busy tracking my weaknesses rather than hearing compliments from others.
The Vision: To be a source of wisdom, peace, and groundedness for all of those I come in contact with.
This vision is really credited to Kevin, one of my yoga instructors. I used it as a declaration for the new year on a coaching call last week and many others gravitated towards its meaning. Lately, I’ve begun reading one book of fiction, one for knowledge, and listening to one book on either. I have exponentially increased the number of books I read through this practice.
I think another thing that comes from this practice is to listen to what people say and think more deeply about this as well. In reflection of past interactions and relationships, I have come to be aware that many times I wasn’t listening in the right context. This is not for lack of trying, I certainly did all that I could to really HEAR. But I wasn’t always able. Often I need the space and time to properly reflect on what the other is really saying in the context of their own experience.
Another challenge is effectively using deep thinking to drive you towards goals and planning to feel a certain way in certain scenarios. You don’t want to overdo this and become robotic. Yet, it is a tool for effectively navigating life.
The Vision:To be publicly known for helping, inspiring, and coaching others.
At the direction of a life coach, I have taken on some clients myself to begin my journey as a life coach. I am currently constructing curriculum and coaching via zoom. I have not ever enjoyed anything more.
I will begin the certification process to become a yoga instructor in two weeks. I am excited about the hard work and growth that is coming down the pike this year.
Also, my new boss is supporting me to do a training workshop on Burnout. I am really excited about finally doing more to go public!
Happy New Year!
As I move into the new year, I am beyond excited about deepening my yoga practice, developing and growing my coaching business, and making some changes in my living situation to better support my goals.
The antiquated management philosophy of ‘you’ll do it because I told you to do it’ is no longer a valid or productive attitude. More than ever, being a leader in an organization requires being relational, emotionally intelligent, and a willingness to teach. In short, leading is coaching (and vice versa).
With the advent of technology keeping us “connected”, pandemics keeping us locked down and socially distanced, and our ingrained hopes that our significant others will be giving and passionate lovers, best friends, confidants, cheerleaders, and therapists, the need for someone to coach us from our corner is becoming an idea growing in popularity.
I am (we are) burning through this year (this fulfills the habit I’ve made out of commenting on time throughout this series)!
Three months into my forty-second year I feel optimistic, grateful, and excited. It has proven to be a period of more controlled growth while remaining exponential. I truly feel that I am experiencing some of the best periods in my life. I am stronger, more fit, and have more energy than I did when I was younger. I am trim, far less afraid to share myself, less judgemental, and far more aware of the blessing that is my life.