By Liz DiMarco Weinmann
About five years ago, the career and lifestyle that fueled my dreams and desires for more than 20 years grew so loathsome I could hardly look myself in the mirror. Adrenalin accelerated to anxiety, dreams turned to dread, and my dressed-for-success outfits couldn’t hide the overweight, overwrought workaholic I had become. All I’d ever dreamed and desired was making me miserable, but I wasn’t a quitter, so what could I do?
The fact is, I was letting the dreams and desires of my twenties and thirties, which I’d already achieved, drive the intellectual, financial, physical and emotional pursuits of my fifties. I desperately needed new dreams and desires. And, guess what? If you’re over 40, so do you.
Here are just a few reasons why you must be dreaming about new pursuits if you’re over 40, and even more so if you’re over 50. Oh, you think “there aren’t enough hours in a day” for you to stop what you’re doing and dream new, bigger and different? How about you just take 10 – 10 minutes, five days a week, or just a half day over the course of a weekend – to consider the following reasons why you must be dreaming. I dare you!
- If you perceive your dreams and desires are the same as they were some twenty or thirty years ago, at least take time to confirm that. Are you’re happy on the path you – or someone else – chose for your life a long time ago? If not, figure out what’s still feasible, what isn’t relevant to you now, and whether or how to move on.
- Dare to envision, explore, examine and expand. As scary and stressful as it might be to dream and desire a change (or many changes), if you don’t envision, explore and examine new ideas, goals and pursuits, then you actually could be repressing – i.e. – stunting your capacity to expand your personal and professional horizons. In the second half of our lives, it’s healthy to explore sides to our psyche that we may have repressed for too long. Renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung called this “individuation” – the natural process of becoming the whole person you’re meant to be.
- If you think that pursuing new dreams and desires is a license to indulge in something that may be destructive in the long run, take time first to consider the consequences. You already know all the midlife crisis clichés. Pursue them at your own risk. Consider positive role models instead and their daring but productive accomplishments. Read about Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Liz Claiborne, Julia Child, Mary Kay Ash, and Maggie Kuhn, to name a few — all of whom came into the greatest achievements of their lives post-40, and after several setbacks. As did hundreds of other visionary, intelligent and motivated leaders in the arts, sciences, social service and politics.
- As a mature adult, you have a responsibility to society to consider how to expand other areas of your intellect in the second half of your life. Erik Erikson, one of the first psychoanalysts to focus on adult development, was emphatic about our responsibility for “regeneration” – for recharging our minds, hearts and souls so we can be even more productive in the second half of our lives. New dreams and desires help you contribute in a whole new way – now, as well as for the next forty years of your life. What’s more, your newly gained wisdom and insights help you contribute to the next generation – whether in your immediate family, your career, or your community.
- If I haven’t convinced you yet to spend some time thinking about your dreams and desires, then consider the ravages of regret. Ah, regret – that sickening feeling you definitely don’t want buzzing around your psyche years or even months from now. Over the past decade, psychologists have been doing considerable research into how and why humans regret – because we didn’t plan the right way, lost track of time, or didn’t make the time for the right dreams and desires. Yes it’s gutsy, scary and stressful to dream and desire new ways to live, love and work. However, the alternative is stagnation, redundancy, boredom and – ugh – regret.
My life five years ago seems like a nightmare that I hardly remember now. I forced myself to carve out time to think about new dreams and desires. I jotted rushed entries into a journal, kept (and filled) notebooks in my car and by my bed, listened to meditation tapes at the gym and on plane flights, and read until my eyes burned. I knew that my dreams and desires had changed dramatically from those of my early adulthood, and I felt I had no choice but to make the time to envision, explore and examine new dreams and desires. Making that time for myself helped me to expand my options for personal and professional development in the second half of my life.
Two years ago, on my 57th birthday, I earned an MBA in Finance and Leadership from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and turned my graduate school thesis on daring new dreams and desires over 40 into a book. So, how dare YOU? Think dreams and desires are only for the young? Think again! Envision, explore, examine and expand. You MUST be dreaming – now more than ever!
Liz DiMarco Weinmann is the Founder and CEO of The DARE-Force Corporation (www.thedareforce.com), an educational resources company whose mission is to inspire visionary, intelligent and motivated individuals over 40 who want to pursue, develop and lead new and fulfilling ventures in their personal lives, careers and communities. She also runs Weinmann & Associates, a strategic consulting firm serving small businesses and nonprofits. Weinmann is the author of Get DARE From Here! – 12 Principles and Practices For Women Over 40 To Take Stock, Take Action and Take Charge of the Rest Of Their Lives. Following two decades as a marketing consulting executive, she earned an MBA in Finance and Leadership fromNew YorkUniversity in 2009, where she now teaches Marketing Planning and Consumer Behavior to students of all ages.
Elizabeth (Liz) DiMarco Weinmann is the Founder and CEO of The DARE-Force Corporation, an educational resource company providing online and on-site training, consulting, and resources for visionary, intelligent, motivated over-40 women who want to pursue new ventures – in their careers, lifestyles, and communities.