However, what happens if we find ourselves well beyond our 20s, after 10, 20 or 30 years in a particular career or lifestyle, wanting to change our lives? Is it too late to take risks and change directions?
Growth = change
It is amazing – and sometimes unrealistic – that we ask individuals in their early teenage years to pick a path and follow it for the rest of their lives. Some individuals find their burning passion early on and enjoy it throughout the course of their lives – others need more experience before knowing what they want to settle for.
Think back to your early teen years: a period of everyone’s life that is filled with immense change, growth, and figuring out the big question ‘Who am I?’. With each year and each experience, we learned about our likes and dislikes, what subjects in school were interesting to us (or not), what we were looking for in friendships, and the hobbies we wanted to be a part of.
As we grew up, we learned more about ourselves. As we learned more about ourselves, we changed. In our 20s, we weren’t the same individuals we were in our teens. Therefore, it’s only expected that in our 30s and 40s, we’re not the same as in our 20s.
The two halves of life
Dr. Stein, a psychoanalyst at the International School for Analytical Psychology in Zurich, explains that life can be divided into two halves. In the first half, labeled the ‘achievement of conventionality,’ we focus on dipping our toes into traditional social roles. Getting our first jobs, experiencing romantic relationships, and having children. We are figuring out who we are by following conventional routes and seeing what fits.
In the second half, labeled the ‘development of individuality,’ we step out of the norm. We might pursue a second career, new hobbies, move to different locations, and seek other personal developments. It’s about taking a step into the unknown and beginning to transform into our true selves.
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It might seem like a scary thought to change the direction of your life or career in your 30s and 40s or 50s and 60s. However, change is a natural part of life. Psychologist Ida Dommerholt says: “In your 30s, 40s or even later in life, you know yourself much better than in your 20s, which will set you up for success in your new direction.”
After years of experimentation and trying different things, now more than ever, you might know who you are and what you want. That’s a beautiful thing! No matter the timeline, it’s never too late to make big changes and re-discover your purpose in life. It might seem scary, but your thoughts and beliefs about the change create more fear than the change itself.