Anyone can be bold and adventurous at 9, 19, even 29.
Being bold and adventurous at 39, 49, 59, and beyond demands a different battle cry. I don’t know about you, but at this point in my life I need more than a tweet to get me out of my seat and on the road to revolution.
It’s a daring plan, of course, to simply be yourself, live life on your own terms, follow your dreams, and live an unconventional life. I know. It’s been my life’s mission.
That’s how I learned that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The unspoken societal opposition to our personal declaration of independence goes something like this: Be yourself … as long as it’s not too different, unconventional, creepy, quirky, weird, or utterly inexplicable to potential employers.
So the natural reaction is to veer away from the edge where you keep a safe enough distance from your dreams that you think they are still within reach. But unless you venture back out to the edge on a consistent basis, the safety net becomes more like a maximum security prison and you discover you’ve given the keys to any number of jailors.
Of course, you may not realize this until something or someone makes you to feel old or obsolete. You may not have noticed before because everyone else was doing the same thing and you may have gotten really good at it. Furthermore, you may have been compensated exceptionally well for it.
But sooner or later the grumbling starts. The call of the wild cannot be silenced. This is when you find yourself cruising the self-help or travel sections of your favorite bookstore, or if it’s out of business, your iPhone, iPad, Nook, or Kindle bookstore.
There you discover success books and blog posts written by those who are living large in a global community. Yes, they will help you remember what it is that sparks your curiosity, lights a fire in your belly, and makes you do things others might consider ridiculous.
And while these rising stars will remind you of things you have forgotten and long to reclaim, they may not be able to help you negotiate your current reality, simply because they cannot yet imagine a life that deviates from the dream.
Who would want to imagine a world where one might need to know how to handle a hotflash while wearing a turtleneck, how to manage a midlife meltdown without alienating everyone you know, how to gracefully give up your job to the more affordable intern you trained as your assistant, what to call something besides “thingy” when you can no longer remember the word for everyday items such as spatula or doorknob, or what to do when an aging parent shows up for lunch without pants?
No, in order to perpetuate the dream, these things are better left unsaid.
Enter Midlife MacGyver where all you really need to revolutionize your midlife experience is duct tape and a Swiss Army knife.
If you are of a certain age, I don’t even need to explain. But in case you never had the opportunity or desire to watch the American action-adventure television series, allow me to explain. Angus MacGyver was a secret agent who could work his way out of any situation. He preferred peaceful resolutions to skirmishes which meant he didn’t carry a gun. He was smart, optimistic, easy-going and very resourceful. He was able to solve complex problems simply by using everyday items he found wherever he happened to be. Duct tape and a Swiss Army knife were perpetually present.
To join the Midlife MacGyver Movement , you are going to need these same skills. You will also need to have your senses about you. Specifically, a sense of adventure, a sense of humor, a sense of self, a sense of compassion, a sense of community, a sense of humility, and a sense of grace and gratitude.
Shall we start the revolution then?
Shall we speak of unspeakable adventures?
Shall we reclaim our fierce potential with honor and a healthy dose of humor?
If so, I will meet you at the edge.