Do you ever feel caught between money and meaning?

by midlifecrisisqueen on April 25, 2013

This is an excerpt from my new book Find YOUR Reason to Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife:

In the midst of all of my personal change in the past ten years, I realized that there are really two key components that we need in place to prepare for the rest of our lives: money and meaning.

These are two separate but equally important ingredients if we are to find some satisfaction with our lives as we age.

When we don’t have enough money, it seems that cash is the answer to all of our problems.  But when we cannot find any genuine meaning in our day-to-day existence, all the money in the world is no solution.

Some of us may have plenty of money but still feel devoid of meaning or purpose.  Perhaps in the past we found great meaning in our job or career or in other outside achievements, but if we are brutally honest with ourselves now, we realize that our present circumstances have lost something essential.

Others of us may find plenty of meaning in different types of creative pursuits but be unable to sustain our chosen lifestyle because of financial challenges.  Thus we arrive at one of the greatest contradictions in midlife, finding a healthy balance between money and meaning.

Should we put all of our energy into accumulating more financial security?  Does that feel satisfying or meaningful?  Or is it more important to develop those parts of our brain or creativity that have been placed on hold indefinitely?

This is the battle I fought every day inside of myself as I struggled to get my new career off the ground.  I was finally doing what I felt passionate about.  There was no question in my mind that I was born to research and write professionally, but my new career wasn’t exactly filling up my bank account.  Should I quit writing and go get another job that had little real meaning for me?

That is when I realized that I was doing the real work of midlife.  The time had come to become who I really was, answering these questions to my own satisfaction.  Success is finding your own best reasons to be here and then finding ways to support that vision for the rest of your life.

I know many believe midlife is a cultural creation and that there is no such thing as a crisis at midlife, but I have personal experience that says otherwise, and a number of prominent psychologists agree with me.

change sign on highway for blogFrom ten years of constant personal change, and five years of experience researching and writing about midlife, I now have no doubt that millions of us flounder emotionally in our 40s and 50s.

Perhaps this seismic shift brought on by midlife is an illusion, but my experience has proven to me that feelings of failure, disappointment, and depression do resonate with millions of boomers.

These powerful feelings can lead to a unique personal revolution, a normal, natural, not to be missed, midlife rite of passage.  I can show you how to make the most of this unique new stage in adult development!

To learn more about mastering difficult life transitions you might enjoy my books: Midlife Magic: Becoming The Person You Are Inside! and my new one: Find Your Reason to be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife. 

To find a new faith in love try: How to Believe In Love Again.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucretia Donahue-Reed April 26, 2013 at 12:25 am

That is where I am, making a good living but stagnant, nervously aware of the need to support myself now and through an eventual retirement.

Carlene May 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

I love the points you’ve made. After 20 years as a therapist and educator, I opted to go back to my first love, music. I’m not sure I would have done it, however, if I were having to depend on it financially. Oddly enough, as I was reading your post, I couldn’t help but realize I’m in the middle of recording a song entitled Live, Love, & Die (Like You Mean It). It’s really about not making money be the thing of primary importance in life. However, there are those for whom money is in short supply, especially in today’s economy. Thought provoking blog! Thanks!

midlifecrisisqueen May 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

Yep, too bad it has to come down to money and meaning, but for Boomers that is our reality…

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