Incubating a Midlife

February 4, 2009 |

Here’s an authentic and real time voice of a valiant midlife - in- process. Recently, Jim Selman posted on his blog, Serene Ambition - isn’t that a great name? - about his upcoming ‘inventure’ – his inner adventure - trip to Africa. He says he’s always wanted to go to Africa, but for one reason or another, it’s never come together. He’s going with eight other men in various stages of retirement, who are uncertain about their future and asking, “What do I do with the rest of my life?”

As it happens, Jim has written a book about retirement, The Freeway Guide to Retiring Right, How to Invent the Rest of Your Life, and is following his own advice in seeking clarity and renewed purpose as he grows older. He talks about finding time to pursue his passion, the Eldering Institute, which he founded. It’s “what I have planned to devote my life to when I “retire”, and yet, as each year passes, he finds that he is working more, “even though I continue to declare I am going to ‘slow down’ this year,” and stop “one of these days”. He grapples with the idea that he’s making choices that are “inconsistent with what I say I want” and wrestles with wondering if he’s really “choosing or just holding on to what I am best at and am comfortable with for as long as possible.”

Jim’s trip to Africa is hosted by Richard Leider, founder of Inventure, who we recently posted on, and author of many books including, The Power of Purpose: Creating Meaning in Your Life and Work, and Something to Live For: Finding Your Way in the Second Half of Life This annual trip to Tanzania is a kind of vision quest, or walkabout, a way to facilitate conscious inner exploration in the midst of the steadying and inspiring backdrop of natural wonder.

Like most of us in our more lucid moments, Jim is clear that there are no ‘right answers’ to these kinds of existential questions, just choices.”

And here’s a novel thought: he’s decided to do something differently than he’s always done. He’s going to prepare for this trip by relaxing and letting go of “expectations and surrender to the experience and privilege of participating in a common inquiry with new friends.”

But read his post yourself, he speaks much better for himself. See if his comments don’t hold that authentic echo of midlife for you.

« « Previous: Finding Meaning and Purpose for the Second Half of Life| Next: At the Movies: Images of Midlife » »


Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind