If you’re like me, you may be wondering if it’s time for a life stage re-evaluation. As I was speaking to one of my longtime friends this week, I realized she had some of the same thoughts that were going through my mind.
We were both acutely aware that, as a natural progression of children and grandchildren growing up, our role in the family has changed. In fact, we both admitted that this change has seemingly taken us by surprise, along with some not so comfortable feelings. A life stage re-evaluation seemed to be in order
As I began to identify areas of change that were up for re-evaluation—priorities, goals, expectations, life style, self-concept, and a sense of purpose were at the top of my list.
It is normal and healthy for our priorities to shift throughout our lives. At this stage, I realize that my relationship with God is a continuing priority on an even deeper level, based on years of experiencing His love and faithfulness. This is also a time in life to enjoy my relationship with my husband and the comfort of trusted friends.
The re-evaluation of my goals brings me to realize that they are more present—not years away. They include health and fitness, and pursuing writing projects as well as just simply relaxing and enjoying life. And yes, without guilt! Most of us have worked hard for many years, raised children, and ran a household. A gentler pace is perfectly acceptable now.
As far as expectations go, I am understanding more and more that we can’t base our happiness on the behaviors of others. It is better to just let them be who they are and not have any preconceived expectations of how they should “bless” our lives . Instead, discover the greater joy of focusing more on how you can be a blessing to someone else.
Although I have had an empty nest for many years, I have also experienced the second empty nest of grandchildren growing up. Sometimes that is more difficult than the first one. Anyway, let’s get back to the life style changes I now have the opportunity to enjoy—travel and dates with my husband, hobbies, and even some self-indulgence and pampering.
And then there is the matter of self-concept and a sense of purpose. Along with the change of our role in the family, retirement can leave another void. It’s best not to get stuck there. Re-evaluate! Base your self-concept on how God sees you, not on what you imagine others think or say about you. You are a product of your life experiences and what you have learned from them. This adds texture and richness to your life and forms your character.
Find new purpose by looking for daily opportunities to make a difference in the world and in the lives of those you care about. I see great purpose in being loving and supportive of my husband in his life and ministry. Often, it is the small, behind the scenes encouragement that has the greatest impact. Although I no longer work in my counseling practice, I still find purpose in using the gifts God has given me to listen to others as they struggle with difficulties in their lives.
If you are trying to hold on to an outdated life stage that doesn’t seem to fit anymore, I want to encourage you to do your own life stage re-evaluation and start enjoying your life again!