If you think this is all about a to-do list before one’s time in this world is up, hold your horses.
People will live longer these days. The Generation X still has a good number of years ahead before they ever think of “kicking the bucket”—the original etymology of the term, “bucket list”. While people born in 1900 were expected to live until 50, people in many countries today are going to reach the ripe age of 81.
For those who reached 40, this is definitely a milestone if only because it is halfway toward 81. One can look at this crossroad as a time for midlife crisis or a time for midlife celebration.
If millennials have life goals such as taking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu or the 321-meter bungee jump at St Gorge Bridge in Colorado, United States, what really is stopping Generation X-ers from coming up with their own list? Heck, they’re far too young to come up with a bucket list, though. So, let’s just call these options below “the midlife celebration list”.
Here’s the countdown of that list to consider:
Try a Different Profession
If there is a dream job you are passionate about but never had the opportunity to pursue, then this is worth including in your bucket — err, midlife celebration — list now, while you still have time.
Everyone knows, though, that changing careers may not be as easy to do in midlife compared to in one’s twenties. A growing family, one’s marketability, and the size of your emergency fund while you try to carve a new career are all serious considerations.
The thing is, others had shifted careers well in their 40s, and did so successfully. Vera Wang used to be an editor before she became known as a fashion designer at 40. Ronald Reagan, the actor-turned-president, was only elected into public office for the first time at age 55. And the list goes on.
Don’t want to leave your old job because it is a lucrative one? Take the cue from celebrities. For instance, Sheryl Crow used to be a primary school teacher by day, and a (budding) singer/songwriter on the side. This simply proves that people can have the best of both worlds.
If you can’t handle the two-job balancing act, then you may want to make a call. Just decide.
Splurge On a Cause
If you have long ceased to find satisfaction in collecting worldly goods and are moving toward your self-generalization phase, here’s a suggestion: Start paying it forward. The easiest would be to do some spring cleaning and give to charity those slightly used clothes that you hanged onto for years…just because.
Taking the challenge one step forward, why not set aside some funds to make someone happy. It could be for that friend who needs to buy a plane ticket so he can volunteer as a missionary, or for children in some hospital ward who need some cheering up on Christmas day. Or donate to a medical research fund.
Start Your Gardening Project
After decades trying to catch up with a fast-paced life and spending hours inside a corporate tower, there comes a time when one needs to just stop and breathe. Or more specifically, to stop and smell the flowers—literally.
Thanks to the toward-organic trend, many had taken to gardening as a part time hobby again. If after reading this, you did not take much convincing, then good for you. You’re actually in good company. There’s Julia Roberts, who is reported to use her leftover food as compost for her garden. Or Prince Charles of Wales, whose 37-acre garden is all organically grown. And—no surprise, really—there’s Martha Stewart and her all-vegetable garden.
The good news is that there are findings about the relationship between gardening and one’s longevity. A study in the Netherlands, for example, showed that every 10 percent rise in exposure to green space “translated into an improvement in health equivalent to being five years younger”.
It must be the fresh air. Or the feel of earth in one’s hands. Or the enjoyment in taking care of plants. Or, like Kermit, some folks simply love the color green.
You too might find your zen zone in gardening.
Fall in Love …. Again
When you start to define marriage as a state of “comfortable routine”, break the monotony once in a while. “Falling in love again” here does not mean finding another love. Rather, simply find a way to reignite the spark with your long-term partner.
If you have been together for years, you would already know the drill on the art of romancing. The question though is, are you still game to do it? If you still care for him/her, you would take the extra mile, won’t you?
So why not do it in style. Don’t just give roses: That’s predictable. Do something unpredictable. Go big. How about asking him/her to marry you again? Then enjoy the look on his/her face. If your partner asks “Why?”, just say you can’t wait until your 50th anniversary to get married again.
Go to Page 2 for the rest of the list