Of the many things that get obscured during the struggle of the midlife period is the immense value of lived experience. Without exception, someone who has lived until midlife has had their share of success and failure, heartache and happiness, succumbed to and overcome difficulties and challenges, and has somehow managed to keep on living. There is nothing on earth that can give us such a great amount of vital information as having lived through something. The trouble comes when we ignore the hard won battles and the lessons learned because they don’t seem to help us in our current situation. Underestimating the value of mistakes, seeing regrets as an unending hell, skipping over our large and small victories without acknowledging and reveling in them all point to what Socrates called an “unexamined life”. Understanding the distillation of our experiences make them a treasure trove of incalculable wealth that we all too often carry carelessly in our hobo sack on the end of a stick.
Our effort, if we are to turn our situation around at midlife is to recognize that all of our experiences, whether we deem them good, bad, or mediocre have deepened us and given us character, untapped strengths, and wisdom. Midlife is the time to call upon the things that have happened in our lives. The ways we’ve reacted or responded to circumstances in our past come to our aid as light-bearers illuminating our path forward. In short, it is time to take stock of what we have learned so far, and what we have yet to learn.
Seeing our experiences from a Genius perspective, we will see that all of them are worthy of our compassionate examination. Even the experiences that are a source of shame and regret can inform us further if we can suspend judgement of them just enough to get the import of the lessons we have received.