Reimagining Your Life Together
Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40
Beginning a new relationship in midlife or beyond provides the perfect opportunity to reconsider how you want to spend the rest of your life. Most of us take some time in our later years to think about how we are living our lives, whether or not we are satisfied with our circumstances, and what we would like to accomplish in the time we have left on earth. Including your partner in this process can lead to some exciting and worthwhile changes.
Do you like where you live? Just because you have "always" lived in certain place, you don't have to assume you always will. Perhaps your needs or desires have changed. We discovered that we shared a longing to explore life in the Pacific Northwest, rather than staying in Tennessee, where we had lived for a few years. Both of Jennifer's daughters had moved to the Northwest, which created an additional incentive. Three years after we met, we loaded up our household and moved to Washington State, where the natural beauty compensates for the rainy weather! You and your partner may also consider a geographical switch, or you may simply decide it is time to trade your house for a condo or assisted living apartment, move to a new neighborhood, or spend more time traveling together.
Do you like what you do? Whether you are working or retired, are you content with your daily activities? Is it time to change your routine? Do you have a new project you want to focus on? Can you give up the tasks that frustrate or annoy you? Is it time to pay someone to mow the lawn or scrub the bathroom? Is there a creative project you have been longing to work on?
Are your relationships satisfying? Together, you can explore meeting new people or limiting your contact with those who drain your energy and resources. You might focus on a regular time to socialize, either together or separately, or you may want to eliminate some social activities that are no longer enjoyable.
A good way to begin the reimagining process is to mentally step outside of your life and examine the aspects that work well for you and those you do simply out of habit. Another useful strategy is to create a "mission statement" for yourself or for the two of you. What are your most important values and what do you want to achieve? Midlife and your older years should be a time for growth, contemplation, creativity, and enjoyment. If what you are doing is not necessary for survival and does not feed your soul, change it. You and your partner have embarked on a new life together; make sure it is the one you truly want.
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Peck are write a weekly column on midlife relationships. They are working on a new book, "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40."
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