Karen Horneffer-Ginter
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Reflections on Midlife

While recently celebrating my 45th birthday, I felt like I was being escorted across the threshold of midlife. I realize the milestone wasn't as exact as the half-time break at a sporting event or the 13.1 mile marker in a marathon. There was no echoing, celestial voice informing me that this day was the actual halfway point between my birth and death, but it felt potentially close enough to motivate an earnest life reflection.

The questions I pondered mostly had to do with how I'd been spending my time: Were there things I hadn't done that I wanted to do? Were there things I'd been doing that I felt ready not to be doing anymore? As I thought about these questions, one awareness I had was how much I want to have gratitude for life's ordinary moments—regardless of what I'm doing.

I realize it's much easier to appreciate the extraordinary moments in life. If I'm celebrating a special occasion or traveling to a foreign land or watching my daughter or son receive an award, I'm typically fully present and filled with thankfulness. I don't always act this way, however, when life's not grabbing my attention. I can be guilty of taking the gifts of a non-newsworthy day for granted until I'm watching the news and realizing how fortunate I am not to be in the midst of a natural disaster or on the receiving end of a life-threatening diagnosis. Such reality checks always put my minor concerns and complaints into perspective.

I often think of a lesson I learned from my mother when she was living her last year with cancer. At the time, I was trying to come up with grand and novel activities we could do to ensure that she'd get to experience more "extraordinary" moments. I asked her if there was a new hobby she wanted to try or an exciting adventure she wanted to go on. I recall my puzzlement when, one day, she said, "You know, really, I just want more time to putz around the house and do everyday things. I wouldn't even mind more time to worry about all the little things I don't need to worry about."

Huh? Her response threw me because I was so sure that someone in her situation would want more of something different than what was right in front of her.

I'm finding, however, that I'm understanding where she was coming from more and more with each year. I'm beginning to more fully appreciate just how good a day is when I'm helping the kids get off to school, meeting with some counseling clients, and coming home to cook and eat dinner before we're off to evening activities. I'm seeing the beauty in this fabric of ordinary life and how, as it gets stretched across the days, there are more than enough sparkles thrown into it.

As I move into this next life chapter, I hope to hold this perspective more often. I hope to view life through a lens of gratitude, trust, and appreciation.

I hope the same is true for you—regardless of the mile marker you're at on your journey!

On the "Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit" front, I feel honored to be quoted in Arianna Huffington's new book, "Thrive." It's a wonderful book (not saying that just because I'm in it :) ) on how to bring greater levels of balance to our professional and personal lives.

I'm also excited to be offering a course through Entheos Academy entitled "How to nourish the soul when life's just too much."

I'll be off on several adventures this summer, but I'll be back in touch this fall!

My best to you,

Karen


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