We’ve made it into our 50’s and 60’s, and for many, life has been eventful. I know it has for me. Not every minute of every day, of course, but my life has definitely included some exhilarating highs, some deep valleys and a variety of memorable experiences. At this point in life we may be thinking, “what happens now?”
For some, retirement may be quickly approaching or perhaps has already taken place. Traveling, down sizing, caring for grand kids and aging parents, all of these and more may be playing an active role in our lives.
So, why should we care about self development in midlife? Let’s consider a definition of the term:
Self Development: the act of deciding for yourself how to improve your skills and taking action to do thisCambridge Dictionary
Self Development is a conscious decision that we make for ourselves. It is something that occurs throughout our life if we are open to the prospect of continually honing our character, uniqueness and confidence as well as developing our skills and abilities. How does this happen? We make the decision to do it, whatever ‘it’ may be.
Why should we care about self development?
For me, it’s kind of a no-brainer, as my husband used to say. If we’re here on earth and are capable, why would we not want to become the best version of ourselves that we can be?
Consider these benefits:
- Very simply, because you’re worth it. This may be an overused phrase, but it is really true. It doesn’t matter how old, or how young, you are. You deserve to learn, grow and develop as a person.
- Your life will be enriched with the skills, knowledge and qualities that are acquired. It doesn’t matter how small the skill might be, or if anyone else knows about it. If this newly acquired ability or outlook gives you confidence and an increased sense of self worth, that’s all that matters.
- Your brain will appreciate the new information! Our brains are actually constantly changing throughout our lifetime based on our experiences, thoughts, lifestyle, trauma, and more. This is how your brain is able to pick up a new language, instrument, or skill. The more you participate in that activity or skill, the more the brain begins to lay down new wiring to make it easier and to make it stick.
- A healthy lifestyle includes learning and growing, both in knowledge and self worth. And, the more committed you are to an overall healthy way of living, the more receptive your brain will be to acquiring additional knowledge. That is quite amazing, my friends, because it can also work in reverse. The way we live and the choices we make are either fostering our growth and development, or hindering it.
- As you continue to learn and grow, your family, children and grandchildren in particular, will take notice. You are a role model for them. They are watching, listening and remembering. The decisions you make to further your self development…or not…are observed by those who love you.
- And, we are at a point in our lives when time for learning and growth may be more available to us than in the past. This is not the case for everyone in midlife, of course, but for many of us it is true. We are no longer working, perhaps working part time, our schedules are flexible, so we can take some time to learn and grow if we choose.
What you can do to foster self development in midlife
Given the opportunity and desire, there are many ways to foster and nurture your self development in midlife and beyond. There really is no time in our lives that we’re too old to learn!
These are so simple, yet I think they deserve some consideration, particularly if someone is reading this post and thinking that they really don’t have the time, inclination or availability to learn.
READING – how much we have learned from reading books! And with the power of the internet, there really is nothing we can’t research and become more knowledgeable about.
If you’re retired and are thinking that you just want to put your feet up, sip on a cool drink and watch the sunset, why not do that with a book in your hand?
There are so many benefits to reading a book (a real book that you hold in your hand and turn real pages), including the obvious, like increasing your intelligence. But it can also boost your brain power, help you become more empathetic, help fight Alzheimer’s disease and help you to relax.
Of course you can use a Kindle, iPad, tablet or an app on your phone to find reading material, too. It’s really about what works for you. So go find a book that answers a question, solves a problem, provides an answer or teaches you something new!
SEMINARS – whether online or attending locally, a seminar can be an effective means of gaining knowledge fairly quickly.
The topic may be educational, social, business related or for personal development. It really doesn’t matter. The key is to take the time to further your own self development.
You might decide that it is the right time in your life to pursue a second career. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how many hours you would put into it, the result is an opportunity to learn, grow and potentially make some money as well.
There is so much available online in terms of education and development. For example, the National Seminars Training site offered me onsite learning opportunities within driving distance of my home, with quite a variety of options.
ONLINE COURSES – the perfect solution for someone who has the desire and opportunity to learn, and wants to do so in the privacy of their own home.
Again, you’ll find learning and development opportunities for just about anything under the sun! You can find online courses that are quick and cover some basic information, to those that cover very detailed and specific topics that may take months to complete.
You can learn to bake a wedding cake, become more organized, get into better physical condition, and the topic list goes on and on.
For women who may be looking for some overall inspiration in midlife, a re-charge and refocus opportunity, consider this course that I created: Inspire Your Life. It is a budget friendly and simple way to regroup, regain your focus in life and move forward with a positive and fresh perspective.
I have taken a number of online courses myself and am in the midst of 3 right now (yikes!). All are related to my online business. I want to learn how to run my blogging business more effectively, and an online course gives me the flexibility to spend time on my learning curve when I can. Self paced courses are the best!
GROUPS – can be the perfect environment for increasing your knowledge, confidence and more.
Whether it’s a Bible study or a bridge club, a swimming class or a Spanish club, take the opportunity to learn and grow, and make some new friends along the way.
A group setting offers social interaction, which we all need at times. So you can accomplish two things with one activity. Cool!
How about you? Do you care about your self development? I am hoping that your answer is a resounding “yes!”, no matter your age. But particularly as we travel through our midlife years, the opportunities are there for us to continue learning, developing skills, self confidence and knowledge that we can benefit from as well as share with others.
This could be the perfect time to create your own personal Self Development To Do List. What do YOU want to learn?
I’ve created a free PDF for you to use, to help inspire you to set some self development goals:Free Download