If you’re a Boomer, your kids are likely grown and out of the house (hopefully!), and you have more time and freedom to focus on your life now. You’re not ready to retire and lately you’ve been wondering, now what? You might be finding yourself daydreaming about that vision of doing whatever it was you wanted to do way back when before life took you down a different path. Well, guess what? It’s not too late to resurrect that old dream, or create a new one, and as a bonus, make yourself happier AND healthier than you were before. Sound crazy? Well, it’s not. In fact, reinventing yourself could be one of the healthiest things you’ve yet to do for yourself. Here’s why…
Reinventing Yourself: You’re Never Too Old To Get Happy
You’ve heard it, or read it, a zillion times – stress kills. It’s true. Stress makes you sick and causes your body to produce more stress hormones that make blood pressure rise, blood sugar levels to go out of whack and create dangerous, disease causing inflammation throughout your body. Health researchers have deemed inflammation as the #1 cause of major diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
Life stress can come from many different places – your job, your relationships, your financial situation – you name it. At the root of that stress is conflict – conflict of feeling powerless in a situation that you feel you can’t change. The truth of the matter is, some stressors may not be changeable, but changing the ones you can, will help you become happier and healthier almost instantly. It can literally take a load off your heart. I’ve seen patients’ dangerously high blood pressures normalize after either changing an unfulfilling job, getting a divorce, reconnecting with their family – just remedying the source of their stress.
One such stressor can be dissatisfaction, unhappiness – even boredom – with yourself and your life and what you have or haven’t achieved. It may be that the life you imagined yourself having, the person you wanted to be when you were younger, may be way out of synch with who you are and what your life is like today. No apologies or regrets…you did what you had to do to support your life, marriage, raise kids, career, and try to keep your wits about you as you did so. However, as a more mature person, you can start to work on those situations that are causing you chronic unhappiness and life-threatening stress. Believe it or not, you’ve actually arrived at the right age to go after your dreams, with all the physical and mental skills you’ve learned along the way. So where do you start?
How Do I Reinvent Myself?
When you think about your life, who do you imagine yourself to be? What kind of life do you have? What are you doing in it? Psychologists say that, often, the key to what’s missing, or what would really make you happy, in your “real” life is hiding in your most private daydreams. You could be much happier – and healthier – if you allow that version of yourself to step out of your dreams and grow into reality. Here are a few good tips to bring your dream to life.
1. Establish your goal. Pin down exactly what you want to do and commit your plan to paper. Open your own business? What kind, where, and who will be your customers? Lose weight? How much, how will you do it? Write that book that’s been floating around your head for years? Pre-outlining how you will go about achieving your goal/dream is crucial to making it a reality. You can’t reach a new destination if you don’t know how to get there.
2. Seek support. Hopefully your spouse and kids, significant other, etc, are supportive of your goals. But often times your best cheerleaders are people you don’t know who can offer you objective opinions. Join a group that’s specifically devoted to the goal/dream you’re seeking. It can really help fire up your inspiration for pursuing your dream by attending even a once a month meeting. For example, Meetup.com hosts thousands of different groups of people with a similar goal.
3. Carve out time. You’ll only achieve whatever you give time to. That means, in your busy day of trying to maintain your “day job” and your family life, carve out at least 1 hour a day, or a few hours every weekend that belongs only to the pursuit of your new goal or dream. In those hours, do all you can to perfect how you’re going to arrive at your goal. Contact people who can act as mentors, spend the time researching material, etc, only doing things related to achieving your goal. Set one doable goal for each block of time and achieve it.
4. Feed your passion. If you’ve carried the torch of an old dream in your head and heart for years, it’s likely that you were meant to do it in the first place. It’s who you really are, and you have the passion that’s needed to breathe life into it and make a happy success out of it. You’re probably well equipped to be your own cheerleader, but keep renewing your enthusiasm for taking another step on your new path by immersing yourself in everything related to your goal/dream (in the time you a lot to it) to keep your passion fires burning. Watch out for all those well-meaning friends and relatives who unwittingly may rain on your parade by telling you that you’re too old, it’s too late, or it’s too hard. Keep a journal and frequently read everything you’re doing to achieve your goal.
The amazing Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do”. I think those words couldn’t be more true. I think people are meant to do certain things in their lives and many get sidetracked from their dreams by just trying to pay the bills and survive every day.
They start thinking that the dream they had is so far away now they couldn’t possibly get back to it. Yet, working at an unfulfilling job, or maintaining social relationships that may have reached their expiration date, can sap all the vitality and joy of living out of you. I can tell you that regaining that joy in your life can go a long way to helping your heart – and the rest of you – stay healthy. Take a step everyday toward creating the road map you need to help get you back on the path to happiness and better health. You can reinvent the old, worn out version of you and replace it with a new, improved, and healthier, you.
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.
Natural Health News
What Are You Waiting For? Are You Still Dreaming? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathi-sharpeross/personal-reinvention_b_2189350.html
What’s Your Passion? Is it Time to Reinvent Your Life? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathi-sharpeross/reinvent-yourself-_b_2077638.htm