Does life push us into a box? You know the box, that safe, sometimes boring place that’s not known for creativity and innovation. But it feels comfortable, reliable and safe. It keeps you dry when life rains on you. It’s a place of lists of to do’s and should do’s. You play by the rules because you have responsibilities and the world looks at you funny if you get out of the box.

Youth doesn’t yet know what the box is. This is why so many entrepreneurs are young, no responsibilities, and free to be whatever they envision. Time passes and life moves us forward. Relationships, mortgages, parenting happens—all good stuff—but with it comes real grown-up responsibilities…and grown-up bills. It’s harder to take a big risk because you don’t want to risk your child’s tuition bill or the roof-over-your-head bill. I certainly found myself deep in this box.

And then before you know it, you have an empty nest and you’re smack dab in mid-life. Wow, you realize you can get out of that box. You may miss its safety and it may feel strange to be out of that comfortable box or it may feel strangely familiar. It may make you feel young because the last time you felt this way you were young. You may be single again, dating again. You remember those fluttery, sexy, feelings of desire again. You desire to get out of that safe box.

But it’s different from your youth because you have life experience. You know what’s important to you. You know that the safety of being in the box is an illusion. By midlife, you’ve lost loved ones who played by all the rules. You know that life can unexpectedly and suddenly change in an instant.  So now instead of the safety of the box, you’re out, you’re back in the exhilaration of free-fall.

Maybe your risks are more grounded than in your youth. You know if you’re starting something new, it’s not a bad idea to have a plan. And if you have a plan, you know when it’s OK to make a change when something is not working. You know to grab that opportunity when it presents itself, because if you wait too long, it may not wait for you. You also know that life should be savored and you know there has to be balance. This is the gift of mid-life.

Out of the Box

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Some people call it a coincidence, others call it synchronicity, and I call it a cosmic happening. That moment when the universe aligns and sends you a sign that you are exactly where you are meant to be. As I’m writing this blog post, I check my email inbox. It has a delete box, as well as folders for rules and junk. Could this inbox be a metaphor for life in and out of the box? I just got a deal for skydiving. It came right after an email that reads, “Go for it”. Hhhmmmm, I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, out of the box. I’m going for it and I know I’ll land safely.