One of the best books I have read that explores the challenges and opportunities of midlife is “The Third Age 6 Principles for Growth and Renewal After 40” by Dr. William Sadler.
Dr. Sadler conducted a multi-year study into why some people fell into the old model of retirement and aging – slowing down, decline, and disease while others created a new model – personal growth, renewal and revitalization. From his research, Dr. Sadler developed six principles for growth and renewal.
I am focusing on one of the principles – greater freedom and greater intimacy in our relationships.
Dr. Sadler is quick to point out that greater freedom is not at the expense of our relationships with others. Rather it is seeking the balance of the two that leads to a deeper connection with those closest to us.
Yet how can we have both when they seem opposites?
Let’s start by considering “greater freedom”.
The desire for greater freedom often comes in midlife. You sense time is passing quickly and with it is a desire to make the most of the years ahead. You have new interests to pursue or old dreams and desires to reconnect with. As you reflect on your life journey, you begin to distinguish what is most important to you at this stage of your life.
There are two aspects to the principle of greater freedom – one is “freedom from” and the other is “freedom to”.
“Freedom to” might include:
• Freedom to explore new interests
• Freedom to learn new skills
• Freedom to spend more time together
“Freedom from” might include:
• Freedom from “shoulds”
• Freedom from limiting beliefs about what’s possible
• Freedom from habits that are not nurturing
What would you like freedom to?
What would you like freedom from?
The other half of the principle is “greater intimacy” in our relationships.
Greater intimacy is sharing and connecting with those closest to you at a deep level. Sharing what you value, what’s important to you, and your hopes and dreams for the future. Doing so is easier once you have explored and discovered what is most fulfilling for you. Your sharing creates the space for others to do the same.
What relationships could you enhance with greater intimacy?
Balancing freedom and intimacy in your relationships, sharing what is important to you with others, enriches your relationships. It’s worth it!