Did you hear the story about the person who was thirty something? You know the one, they started a family, put energy into chasing the career dream, got a mortgage and woke up one day feeling they had lost themselves. Where had the vibrant, fun life they had in their twenties go?
I know that this picture doesn’t fit every person in their thirties, but it is common. When you think about life in your thirties it can often be the time when you start to get serious about ‘big picture’ stuff. The mortgage, family and career take a priority and often you are at the very beginning stage in all of these areas. There is a lot to learn and a lot of energy is required just to survive. It is no wonder these key areas in life end up consuming the sense of self.
I was at a party a while back talking to a guy who was in this very situation. He had a young family and was trying to build a business. We got talking about health and fitness and he expressed a slight frustration at his increased weight and loss of fitness. This was a guy who had played sport his whole life and I got the feeling he had always considered himself to be a fit guy. The ‘serious’ life changes he had made recently had created an unhealthier version of himself, and he wasn’t liking this version so much.
As the conversation got deeper he expressed that he had every intention of getting out and doing the exercise that he used to do but it just never happened. This got me thinking. This guy’s life had changed in massive ways and the new priorities needed a lot of time and energy. I could tell that the ‘serious’ stuff was very important to him and if he could only invest a little time into his health and fitness it would result in him having a better sense of self.
This is a typical case where we are using expectations from a previous period in our lives to benchmark against how we are successful now. As life changes, priorities and focus change too and we have to be realistic around what we can do. For the guy at the party he can’t put the time into exercising like he did five years ago, but he might be able to get three good hours in a week.
I know that lowering expectations can seem like failure but it isn’t, it’s all about making you successful based on your current life situation. This is so important at times when you feel you are losing yourself.
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