Outstanding article by Douglas, LaBier, Ph.D., a business psychologist and psychotherapist, is director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, D.C. on Huffington Post. His intro paragraph follows.
That's how a man in his 50s described his life to me not long ago: "It's my long slide home." He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him. I often see the "holiday blues" strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one's life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression -- especially during midlife.
If you don't have time to read the whole article, here are the key takeaways:
1. Continue your personal evolution. Research shows that older brains are not slower but wiser. Use your lifetime of insight and perception to grow mentally, physically and spriritually.
2. Revise the meaning of loss and change. Fully absorb your emotional experience of whatever's changing or evolving -- including sadness or regret. But at the same time embrace and feel gratitude for what now exists in the life you have, at this moment in time. This shift of perspective can be helpful to you if you've suffered a career loss, as well.
3. Build a sustainable relationship. Studies of couples who are able to maintain a highly positive, energized connection for the long term find that they learn to "forget" themselves and become more focused on serving the relationship itself.
By "forget" yourself, I'm referring to conscious actions that serve and support the relationship between the two of you, not just your own needs. That is, think of your relationship as a third entity, with a life of its own.
4. Serve something greater than yourself. Service to some issue or purpose larger than yourself at midlife often triggers a strong yearning and action to create more positive, authentic connections in your life. It can awaken you to the reality that beneath surface differences, we're all one; all organs of the same body, so to speak.
Photo credit: Richard Howe Sr., Flickr