In midlife I have developed a fascination with the American zest for improving oneself. I knew that I was a procrastinator, lazy so-so between the hours of 5 to 6pm and that I was good at kicking things into the long grass but I have made a startling discovery of the shameful extent of these negative traits since watching You Tube videos on self-improvement.
The sheer optimism that flows from watching them at play seems to have an energy all of its’ own. A word of caution though, if you have read my previous blog post, you will know that I do not advocate optimism at all costs.
There is a time and place for feeling the sadness of a situation before being able to reach the place of acceptance. Most experiences, good or bad, shape you in many ways. It alters your perception of life and yourself. It is unrealistic to only expect to take forward the good. The bad experiences act as a compass of what to avoid and how to deal with similar situations in the future. Anyway, that is enough Guru-ness for now.
I discovered my fascination with You Tube American self-help figures in 2021 during lockdown. Life was secluded enough and then my only child left home (she didn’t break any lockdown rules).
I had been put on the Covid shielding list and was feeling isolated as it was but nothing in life had prepared me for the desolation surrounding becoming an empty nester. Out of desperation, I turned to the online world to help me with my depression.
Post my daughter’s departure, getting up in the mornings became a negative experience. While I had a really good job, almost a dream job, this wasn’t enough to motivate me in the mornings. I missed the hustle and bustle of looking after a child. I did hire a confidence coach who helped me move the dial but I needed a cheaper sustainable option going forward.
People told me about the well known lifestyle coaches who had helped them. After getting over the phase of being a sceptic I became hooked. I wanted to adopt the English bulldog attitude of ‘getting on’ with things. When this didn’t work I gave in.
What grabbed my attention was the empathy that exudes from these self-help experts, people like Mel Robbins, Marie Forleo and countless others. Some swear by Jay Shetty. My favourite are Mel Robbins and Hal Elrod.
Using the Countdown to Success method (video below) has helped me to get up in the mornings. When I am in danger of procrastinating or putting off doing something difficult I count down and it works. Inherent in counting down is the acceptance that not everything I do in life will be a happy experience but somethings need to be done. Who wants to put the cat’s litter out at 6am, especially now that it’s dark!
While I jest, the point is that I have moved on from the days when I left it to the last minute to get out of bed.
These days I get up between 5 and 6am, about an hour to two hours earlier than I did before, and do my SAVERS after getting out of bed. Accessing these methods has helped me become unstuck since becoming an empty nester while experiencing the midlife crisis. Neither are happy situations/experiences in themselves but there are ways of dealing with them.
In Britain we are very inclined to keep schtum about what affects us. Despite the numerous campaigns about how good it it ‘To Talk’, there is little about the causes of sadness and depression. None of these methods will fix your problems but they will help you to keep functioning and, at some stage, to live a happier existence.
I urge you to try these methods or find your own solutions if you feel stuck in life either because of the midlife crisis, being an empty nester or both. A double whammy of some sorts but there is light at the end of the tunnel.