Vision Correction As a Metaphor For Midlife

By H. Les Brown

Yesterday I went for my biennial eye exam. I had all the drops and the blinding equipment scanning my cornea and retina. I read the charts so often that I had the bottom line memorized by the time I was finished: O V T C Z 2. Naturally, my eyes were a little worse than they were two years ago, a quarter diopter on the right side, a half on the left. It's part of growing older; it started when I was a teen (my distance vision got all fuzzy), shifted when I was in midlife (I could see fine at a distance but needed the infamous drugstore glasses to read) and now God knows what's going on in there (multifocal contacts work wonders: 20/15 now). Additionally, there are cataracts starting. Ugh.

Vision changes are such an emblematic part of the aging process. Even people with perfect eyesight when they were young now, at midlife, have trouble seeing clearly without some sort of correction. We somehow need to start being less self-reliant as our vision begins to shift. Denial works only so long. For those too proud or vain to accept help, eventually it becomes obvious to everybody that your eyesight is changing and you just can't read the fine print. Then there comes the nervous little laugh as you pull out the readers from your inside jacket pocket when the menu in the dim light of the romantic restaurant becomes totally illegible. Sooner or later, reality strikes.

As you progress into your midlife transition, what once seemed to be a very clear vision of the future begins to get increasingly hazy and unclear. You find it more difficult to see clearly where you're going. You find yourself fixated on certain aspects of your life, and miss some important features of the surrounding landscape that now seem to be coming at you too fast. Where once you were very sharp and on top of all the details, you begin to discover that you've missed some of the fine print and find yourself blindsided by those pesky details. Have you lost your edge? Are you on your way down and out? Will you be able to find your through the rest of your career, or should you prepare for the white cane and the Seeing Eye dog?

Over the course of time, I've mentioned a number of the factors that conspire together to make midlife the most challenging period of a person's life. I can't repeat them too often. Here are two important factors that every man - every person - has to deal with during the midlife transition. First, you need to realize that your life vision changes more radically during midlife than at any other time. You don't change your basic life assumptions easily; they have to shift because they no longer work for you. You discover that the rewards and paybacks that you counted on from your successes fail to satisfy you. The results turn out not to be worth the price you've paid. Like a 'dissolve' on a TV screen, your old fantasy of what the future will hold for you fades and gradually gets replaced by a totally new and different one. You see your future with different - more mature - eyes.

At the same time, the sheer volume of information coming at you, the number of decisions facing you, their severity and the speed with which you need to handle them increases dramatically. Whether or not your mental acuity remains as sharp as it ever was (I think, if you were able to see yourself objectively, you'd find that your midlife acuity would actually be greater than when you were younger), you're going to miss an ever-increasing number of details because there are so many more details coming at you. Because the challenges of midlife have grown gradually over the years, the change in your external world seems hardly noticeable. It feels, rather, like you're just not as capable of handling it all as you once were. In fact, you're undoubtedly more capable now than you were then, only your capacity hasn't (and couldn't have) kept up with the pace of all you've had to cope with.

Once I accepted the fact (years ago) that my vision would change over time, I also came to accept the fact that I needed help with it. I accepted the corrective lenses and the necessity for regular check ups. The same should be said for midlife. Once you accept that you're not Superman (a difficult transition in itself), you're ready to take the next step and look for help handling the superhuman expectations that are being laid on you. Periodic check-ups become ever more critical. That means that you take the time to evaluate where you are and where you're going, what's important to you (and what's not), and to seek out trusted people in your life to serve as your mentors and coaches. You can't - and you shouldn't try to - do this all by yourself.

Next, after you've decided what's really important to you, you need to learn how to prioritize. That means becoming an expert manager for your own life. Why are managers paid more than those they manage? It's not just because they're more capable of organizing their workload. It's mainly because they have the knowledge and skills necessary to know how and when to say 'No!' to their superiors. How effectively can you san 'No!' to the demands that threaten to blur your life vision? How clearly can you see what's really important to you and your future and what's not? Once again, the aging process has little to do with the deterioration of your lfie; as you grow older, you're given the opportunity to take your life to a higher, much more meaningful level than ever before. Regardless of how this new set of 'lenses' looks to the outside world, how clearly you see your way forward during midlife, and the courage with which you follow that path, will determine whether or not, in your own heart of hearts, your life will be a successful one.

H. Les Brown, MA, CFCC
ProActivation® Coaching
Website: http://www.ProActivation.com
E-Mail: info@ProActivation.com

Join our weekly EZine (Midlife Matters) and get 7 Spiritual Strategies at no cost:
Click Here to Subscribe

Copyright © 2008 H. Les Brown


Post a Comment


Site Info

Flag Counter
Feedjit Live Traffic Map
Feedjit Live Traffic Feed


The Healthy Solution Copyright © 2009 Blogger Template Designed by Bie Blogger Template