Positive Thoughts About Mid-Life: A New Year Perspective

Jackie Smith Our Team Age: 54

Profession: program director, Jewish Senior Life Enhancement

I’m in the process of discovering my passion…it’s a lifelong journey! Every experience I have teaches me a bit more about what moves and motivates me. And of course, I have many passions…the older I get, the more “horizontal” my growth gets…I love exploring lots of paths.

I have a passion for all great healthy food and entertaining. I love searching for recipes and creating menus, shopping for fresh ingredients from vendors I get to know by name. I enjoy the entire cooking process – experimenting with new foods, setting beautiful tables and sharing it with friends.

I also have a passion for helping people…I work with older adults, creating engaging programs that keep them learning.

Powerful, fearless women inspire me. I’ve felt so limited at times in my life by my own fears, so it’s inspiring to see women who can plow through fear and accomplish.

That said, at midlife, I no longer fret about so many things. At some point, you just run out of energy!

I thought by now I would’ve found my niche, my calling, but I am still searching. Yet I have learned how to handle curve balls — they key is in changing how you look at problems.

I call it cognitive rebooting. If I change the way I talk out loud and to myself, I can change the way I think about it. For example, I recently decided to say the word bonus every time I had to go out of my way (forgetting things upstairs, losing my car in a parking lot). After a while, I started seeking out those extra steps because they began to feel like a bonus.

Similarly, I try to rephrase “problem” as “opportunity.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I also try, on a daily basis, to take note of good things that happen.

Every day, every single one of us has the opportunity to do something to make the world better. It’s as easy as smiling at a stranger to working toward ending world hunger. Along the way, don’t forget about yourself. Especially young women have the tendency to focus so much on others — children, spouses, employers, friends — that they forget themselves. If you don’t care for yourself, you’re no good for others.

The other best thing about this stage of life is that I’m so much closer to really knowing what’s important! Notice I didn’t say I know yet!! Life is an evolution.

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