The weather was outstanding in the Northeast last week, and I decided to take full advantage by going to the beach.
Thankfully, it’s only a 5-minute drive.
There’s nothing like sitting on the beach in CT in early spring.
I sat at the edge of the beach right before the amazing beach homes start.
To my left was an outcropping of rocks ranging from a foot high to about 4 feet tall. I didn’t count them, but there were probably 30-40 of them.
Two little kids, probably 6 to 7, were playing on them and having the time of their lives.
Their mother walked over and asked what they were up to, and this was the response.
“We’re two white tigers, and this is our home. This is the kitchen, that’s the bathroom, here’s our kitchen table, and that’s the refrigerator. The bedrooms are over there.”
Bear in mind they were pointing at rocks.
“And you’re the mommy white tiger, and you’re going to go hunt food for us to cook.”
When we’re children, our lives are rooted in creativity.
Everything is possible, and we cast no judgments on our creation.
It never crosses our mind that a rock can’t be a refrigerator.
In fact, if an adult or older child were to come along and say, “It’s not a refrigerator; it’s a rock,” the little kid would look at them like they’re the crazy person in this equation.
Our world is one of creation, authenticity, and joy.
As we age, our creativity becomes silly, not practical, unrealistic, and “you don’t understand how things work.”
We’re told we have to “buckle down.”
It becomes unsafe to create, which is a massive component of our authenticity.
When our creativity is slowly wrung out of us, so is our willingness to be authentic.
We develop the belief that it’s not safe to be who we are and that we have to become who we believe we have to be so we can be safe.
We drop our role as creators and take on the role of the chaser.
We chase approval and acceptance from others based on what we believe will earn us approval and acceptance.
We chase and chase and chase, and maybe, we earn approval and acceptance from others – and it feels fantastic.
Until it doesn’t.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it’s worth watching.” – Gerard Way
Around the midpoint of our lives, we begin to feel like something is off and missing.
We may have professional and materialistic success, but we also have a success-sized hole in the middle of our lives, and no matter how much we chase, we’ll never fill it.
Because we’ve been running towards the approval and acceptance from others while simultaneously running from the one person’s approval and acceptance we truly desire:
We’ve created lives based on someone’s blueprint and wonder why we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin.
The inflection point between our 1st and 2nd half of life is one of the most significant opportunities presented to us.
Do we continue to move forward as is, hoping life will magically change?
Do we accept that what we’re doing isn’t creating the life we want to live, and for change to occur, we must change?
Do we draft a new blueprint that will carry us into our 2nd half with a sense of mission, meaning, and fulfillment?
Do we reinvent our identity from the chaser back to the creator?
If our desire is to fill that success-sized hole in our lives, then we must evolve, and we must change.
However, that change can feel overwhelming and terrifying. It can feel like we have to give up everything we’ve worked so hard to create, and we don’t know who we’ll be when we make this change.
We threaten our fabricated identity, and the ground beneath our feet collapses.
The evolution from chaser to creator doesn’t need to be that challenging.
Here are 3 simple steps you can take today to create your extraordinary second half.
1. Unfulfilled Dreams
We must identify what calls to us from our early childhood, teenage years, and twenties.
Is it breathing life into that Civil War epic, working with our hands, teaching, or learning to play an instrument?
What do we regret not doing?
Achieving clarity on our unfulfilled dreams is critical to our evolution from chaser to creator.
Our core values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide our decisions and actions. They are the foundation of who we are and what we stand for.
When we clearly understand our core values, we are better equipped to make decisions that align with our true selves. We are more likely to pursue goals and activities that bring us a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
How do your core values align with your unfulfilled dreams?
3. Awe & Wonder
We must remind ourselves what creating feels like in our body and mind.
We cultivate creativity through the experiences we choose to have.
When those experiences are novel, when they ignite awe and wonder, when they’re moments of truth and beauty, we cultivate creativity and create meaning.
Immersing ourselves in nature, museums, or concerts and doing what we say we’d never do are an easy start.
When we experience novelty, awe, wonder, truth, and beauty, we cultivate creativity and experience meaning.
We reignite our childhood creativity.
Individually these 3 steps have the power to change our lives and provide a tremendous ROI.
All 3 combined, and we’ll create the extraordinary second half we’ve dreamed of.