Learning from a fork in the road in midlife is a huge opportunity for insight and improvement around decision-making.
It can be over-the-top stressful when these huge decision points pop up in your life.
Can you remember the significant forks in your road over the years?
I think there’s a lot of value in taking a look back in your life to reflect on these big decisions.
Being curious about PAST forks in the road in your life can be a HUGE source of juicy mindfulness gold.
Go on a fork hunt!
A fork in the road is an expression commonly used to describe a decision point between two things or directions. It’s a time where you have to make a choice to go one way or another. To take one path or a very different path. And there’s some weightiness to the decision.
It’s often a pretty substantial choice. Two options are possible and you need to pick one and usually stick with it. (It’s not making a decision about wearing the blue shirt or the red shirt.)
Like you’re in love with two people and you have to pick one.
You get two job offers and they are in different towns – you gotta pick one.
You have to decide to stay or decide to go.
This kind of thing.
A fork in the road is common and it can tend to cause a lot of confusion. The confusion can make decision-making challenging.
Specifically hunting for a fork in the road from your past is a great way to get some solid insight into what makes you tick. And that, my friend, is the way you think about your choices and your options. As an older and wiser midlife gal, they might be working for you or not…and if not, you can totally tweak your process.
Taking a close look at how you have made big decisions in your life is important because the way you make decisions is related to the way you think of what’s possible for you in all kinds of situations.
Here’s the “fork hunt strategy” in 4 simple steps.
STEP 1: The first thing to do is to think about a fork in the road, or even better, several forks in the road.
Think about your own personal forks in the road over the years.
Try to come up with at least 3 to 5 of them to explore and learn from.
You can even go in the “way back” machine to mine for true gold, lol.
So, go down memory lane in your life, maybe year by year, or phase by phase and think about times that you could go this way or that way regarding pretty big decisions in your life.
STEP 2: Be curious about your thoughts and feelings.
OK, now the 2nd thing to do is to be curious about your thoughts and feelings during your fork related decision making.
What came up for you as you were trying to figure out what to do?
Try to remember how you felt and then figure out what you were thinking that made you feel that way.
This approach tends to work well because it’s easier to reflect in a more detached, neutral way and you’re also zoning in on feelings first and THEN looking for thoughts.
It’s a great way to CATCH what’s really going on up there in your mind.
STEP 3: Gain some insight from your forks in the road.
As a midlife gal, you know life is short and we gotta stop wasting time.
To do that, you gotta learn from all of your new awareness when you’re doing this work.
What can you learn from your past forks in the road?
I think you can learn a lot. In fact, I think You’re sitting on gold here.
Go back and look at what you were thinking and feeling for each of your forks in the road.
Do you see a pattern either in your fork scenarios or in your life in other ways?
Do those thoughts still come up for you?
What about the feelings you identified? Are they common? Are they useful? Or are they automatic and get in your way?
STEP 4: Anticipate some of the future forks in the road in midlife and beyond and apply your insights.
I’m not asking you to have a crystal ball, but I think it might be useful to think about the common forks in the road that come up for so many of us at this age and stage in life.
Once you identify them, how might your insights about your past forks be useful with your future forks?
Here are some common ones:
- Retiring on this date or that date
- Retiring for good or starting another job or business after retirement
- Moving your aging parents closer to your home or not
- Moving closer to your grandkids or not
- Selling your house and moving to your dream home or location
- Selling your home and downsizing
- Selling your home and renting
- Going back to school or not
- Buying this level of life insurance or that level of life insurance
- Getting a divorce or not
- Set some serious boundaries…or not
- Putting the addition on the cottage or not
- Investing in a big house project or not
- Buying a vacation property
- Investing in an Income Property
- Taking a scary opportunity or not
These are just some thought starter ideas, but I think you get the hang of it now.
Being more intentional about the way you chose to live your life is something you can get better and better at.
Using the “forks in the road strategy” is just another tool in your tool belt to find thoughts and get to understand yourself better.
Thinking about future forks is an interesting part of the strategy.
And, once you have this awareness, it’s hard to ignore.
As usual, curiosity can really help you as you grow forward in midlife.
Have fun with your decision-making and….your forks!
Suzy Rosenstein, MA is a master certified life coach and host of the popular podcast for midlife women, Women in the Middle, with over 1 million downloads. Having wasted five years being stuck herself, she knows how frustrating and painful it can be. She uses her upbeat approach with the serious topic of aging to help you get clear about what you want, get unstuck and live your best life. Girlfriend, there’s more fun to be had! Start now with her free “Get Unstuck Podcast Bundle” with the top secrets to fall in love with your life again!