Reinventing yourself leads to a better life

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From time to time, BoomerCafé publishes stories of reinvention and renewal. That describes author and psychotherapist Laura Lee Carter, a.k.a. The Midlife Crisis Queen, to a tee; after a tough transition in her mid-40s, she became a writer at age 50. Writing from Ft. Collins, Colorado, she says it led to a much better life. And it leads her to counter the question, Are Boomers A Bummer?

Among the many lovely reviews of my new book about boomer psychology and personal change, one stood out. It said that the first 40% of the book was “dark and negative.” The reviewer called me a ‘Debbie Downer.’

Laura Lee Carter

Laura Lee Carter

I immediately looked back at those “dark and negative” pages. They contained a summary of the results of years of research on where we came from historically as a generation, and what we therefore share emotionally as Boomers.

Yes, research shows we do exhibit more clinical depression and substance abuse than our parents’ generation. In our lifetimes, we have seen a gigantic cultural shift away from some powerful social institutions like marriage, and towards authenticity and personal choice.

So what was the point of my book? To make us all aware of the challenges we share, while also sharing the good news: Boomers have the intelligence, courage and creativity to make the most of this amazing time we share in human history.

Unlike our parents, most of us have the time in midlife to stop, take a good look at our lives thus far, and make some important changes.

New research suggests that those of us who possess attributes like openness, a tendency to be more unconventional than others, and a strong desire for uniqueness, can convert criticism and crisis into creativity.

[Laura Lee Carter’s book – Find Your Reason To Be Here: The Search For Meaning In Midlife – is available from Amazon.com.]

I know that when the crises arrived in my mid- 40s, I found great opportunity. The loss of a marriage or a job and career create no small trauma. But these challenges turned out to be just what I needed to invest in a major life do-over.

Luckily, as a Boomer, I had time to absorb the trauma which shattered my belief system, challenging most previous assumptions. I found midlife to be the perfect time to go in search of new purpose and meaning, and I am absolutely not alone in this experience!

Yes, millions of us may struggle in midlife, and some might fault us for that. But I find great beauty in rediscovery and reinvention. This is just an example of our courage and creativity at work.

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you’re still way ahead of everyone who isn’t even trying. ~ Tony Robbins

Laura Lee Carter is online.


7 Comments

  1. Wonderful post and I couldn’t agree more, the life path you describe is exactly like mine! Iv’e had a lifetime of work (as a United Nations manager of development aid) and retired after 25 years of service, only to face the awful question: what shall I do next? I had to re-invent myself first as a painter (that bummed) and next as a writer (both things I had of course always done on the side, as hobbies, so I did know the techniques and tricks). Now, as a writer, I’m very happy, I write up a storm and truly enjoy myself. Kudos to you for phrasing it so well and putting it all in a book, I shall look for it!

    PS. I also put my experience in a book, called Crimson Clouds, though my protagonist is a man and his marriage falls to pieces (I’m a woman of course, as you may have intuited and my marriage is holding up, thanks God!)

  2. A wonderful post, Laura Lee! It is never too late and I have to say that unexpected loss and life events CAN be a way to move forward, once we honor the changes to our psyches and systems. For me, it is important to keep moving – in every sense of the word. I have reinvented myself many times over the years so I (a) realize I am pretty good at it so am led more easily to try the next thing and (b) not as fearful as I was in my younger years. I am trying my hand at writing a screenplay based on my book, which was published last year. Another new adventure! Keep the dendrites sprouting!
    Mindy
    lubeoflife.com

  3. Thank you Laura Lee. Your post should remind all of us, men and woman alike, that sometimes a calamity we experience, as painful as it can be, is also an opportunity to become even more than we are. Thank you for reminding us that there is light on the other side of darkness, if we just do not give up.

  4. There are some hard parts of life that we all experience. I’m glad you shared that in the book. It sounds like it set the foundation for the amazing life beyond. In the next five years I’ll be retiring after having worked in the same career field for almost 35 years. Let the reinvention begin!!

  5. Like Jennifer, I will be retiring, but within the next year. I guess I’ve been preparing for this for a quite a while and have taken myself through several re-inventions. Each time I’ve done this something surprising occurs; I discover things about myself I didn’t know I was capable of! These discoveries feed my soul, make me push my own boundaries, so enabling me to look forward to the freedom of retirement and even more new things to do, new interests, and staying as healthy as I can.

  6. Thanks so much for reading and all of your GREAT comments. My husband and I are also “retiring” this year, moving to the country and building a passive solar home with a spectacular view! But I plan to keep writing until the day I die…

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