The Sisters Bridges in Pittsburgh were built years before the construction of the Convention Center which is in the above image – behind the three similar bridges that are named after Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson. The convention center – although much newer than the bridges are crafted intentionally to be in perfect harmony with the bridges. This is very similar to the two halves of life. They compliment one another and are variations on a theme.
Realizing that humans are living longer, people in the second half of life must continue to plan for the future in ways not previously anticipated. In addition, you may be feeling an increased and often overwhelming desire to do so in a way that remains true to who you are now, as opposed to who you were 20 or 30 years ago. Additionally, many people are shifting earlier than ever before – often times in their twenties and thirties. The great recession has made many of us grow up faster than ever.
The reality is that people’s values shift in the second half of life. This shift occurs relatively quickly, meaning that seemingly all of a sudden your values and ideas about who you are and what is important, are forever altered. For some, this shift is drastic and life-changing; for others that had previously chosen to live lives consistent with their core identity, the shift might be less dramatic.
Regardless of the size of your individual shift, it is important to be aware of the process and the changes it has brought about in your personality and approach to life. Even if you personally do not shift dramatically, your spouse or best friends might. This might require you to change the way you relate to them or possibly even to choose whether to continue the relationship at all.
This shift will often drastically affect the precarious balancing act of relationships, career, spirituality, and physical activity. In many ways, this time of life feels like starting over at the very beginning. You begin to see things differently, believe in new truths, and yearn to walk a different path. You are, more than ever, tuned in to your body, understanding the need to consciously and proactively protect your health, deepen your relationships, and hone in on what your greater purpose might be. This is when life makes clear to you that you have a greater purpose and must now fulfill it.
Image – Frederick Geiger