Uncharacteristically, I recently suffered from a severe case of hypochondria that left me floored with anxiety.
Don't get me wrong, I was unwell but in hindsight, it was a case of a slightly strange migraine rather than the start of a far more feared, sinister illness.
Thankfully, my imminent demise was just a mind experience, but for a few sleepless nights and anxious days, it was full-blooded, hitting me over the head with a large brick, real.
In other words, I think it's fair to say I've just had my own mini "midlife crisis".
This term, was first used by the Canadian psychoanalyst Elliot Jacques in the mid 60's to describe the sort of soul searching that can hit us anywhere between 40 and 60. It's when we start to deeply understand the the full implications of the "life is short, it passes quickly and you'd better get on with it" advice.
If I'm honest, it's everything my wise grandmother used to tell me in my young days, but I remember secretly replying with a silent roll of the eyes and equivalent of today's "whatever!".
The problem though, for me is that the word "crisis", implies throwing away all we've built up over decades with a nonchalant shrug of our shoulder, leaving devastation behind us. It infers pain and turmoil. And ignoring the inner stirrings until they reach such a fever pitch that they explode destroying not only that which needs to go but also what's good and works in our life.
So I'd like to suggest that the softer, more gentle version (and don't get me wrong, this doesn't need to be a less effective route) is a midlife evolution. Reevaluating who, where and what we want from our life can be a life affirming, powerful step.
And a midlife evolution hands us this opportunity for change so that the rest of our years can be the best of our years.
How can we live life with more zest and make sure every day is sparkle-filled?
Having been through that experience, I was determined that I wasn't going to let it's lessons simply drift away into the debris of everyday life. So I racked my brain, dredged up all my experiences of courses I'd been on over the decades and books I'd read and came up with a list of questions which I felt would enable me to live my life with renewed zest.
How have you lived your life to this point? What are you proud of, what have been the low spots?
How do you want to live and who do you want to be in the life you have left?
How can you live your life with more love and how can you show those you love how much you love them every single day?
How are you going to take greater care of yourself?
What do you need to let go of or change in your life?
What rules of wisdom have your gained from your life experience?
How can you make every day count?
What these questions can do for our life
We start taking notice of all the little magic moments and appreciate all the wonder and beauty we have in our lives, right now
I love my daughter for needing to be asked 19 times to put her shoes on for school.
I delight in the fog that hangs heavy over the house.
I marvel at the abundance in my fridge because whilst the contents don't make up a meal, the 1/2 eaten pots of jam and carton of small week old tomatoes, whisper of future pleasures.
We start making changes (and no this doesn't mean we have to swop our partner for a younger version and emigrate to somewhere sunnier). Even the small, more discrete and subtle steps can add up to greater fulfillment and more zest for life
I embraced more pleasure in my life and took up flamenco dancing - something I have always wanted to do
I worked on creating an online business that would sustain me
I started exercising again after many years of feeling too tired, too busy, too past it
We make every day count ( as one day it will be our last)
I starting making daily enjoyment a priority in my day - long baths, loving simple rituals like tea and cake (I stopped feeling so darn guilty about simply enjoying myself)
I spent more time showing my daughter how much I love her by slowing down and taking the time to listen and play around with her
So what's stopping you now from taking some time and reflecting on your own life? My deepest, most heartfelt wish for you is that you take this time to think about your life, to make it sparkle so that the rest of your years, can truly be the most magnificent they can be.