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Choices and Challenges
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Written by Muriel Connell   
Monday, 24 August 2009 11:08

Who am I? What do I want? I need to get a grip on my life... but how? I should know what I want at this stage of my life... but do I? We, the "Experienced Generation", the "+45's" are heading towards the second stage of our lives. Many of us have never really asked or answered the crucial questions facing our generation. Yet every day, week, month and year, we make choices - tens of thousands of them - which greatly influence our chance for failure or success.

How can we avoid making negative choices? What are the critical choices - big and small - that govern us, and how do we make them to enable positive change to come into our lives? What should we do when we are boxed in, reacting to the world instead of responding to it by choice?

We live out our lives programmed to our circumstances and our perceptions of what is expected of us in the roles we play- in our relationships with our loved ones, in work situations etc. The African word ubuntu means "I am who I am through other people". In other words, our response is governed by the situations in which we often find ourselves, and the roles we create for ourselves within that realm.

What are the changes that need to happen at this stage of your life? What do you long for? What changes have happened in the past years that have challenged you to take a long hard look at where you are, and at the road ahead?

No one else can ever make your choices for you, nor should they. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take and every moment of your life. It is only when you exercise your right to choose, that you can also exercise your right to change.

It is your programming that has created your choices in the past. It is the choices you make today that are creating the programmes of your fuĀ­ture.

Have you made an inventory of what you would like your life to look like if you were to give yourself the freedom to do what your heart desires and to reclaim your dreams? What would this picture be like if you could have the courage to step out and just try that one thing you have longed for, be it to have an overseas trip, to swim with the dolphins, to paint, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, or just to sit on a beach and watch the sunset?

For a moment just let your mind wander and think of what you would love to do if given the opportunity.

JOURNEY
Taking life one step at a time can help on the journey. Sometimes it just takes changing one habit or one idea to lead you onto the path of self-discovery.

Many women wait until they are widowed to find another path and often this is late in life. At this stage of life health can sadly fail and the energy required to take a new life-path can be debilitating. Don't wait for another time! Start now! Share with your family or a close friend your decision to do something different and you might be surprised at how they will encourage you. It is likely that they will be proud of you and your self-esteem will take a leap!

You cannot manage your life if you do not manage your self. You cannot manage yourself if you do not manage your choices. Manage your choices and you will manage your life. It is the big choices we make that set our direction. It is the smallest choices we make that get us to the destination.

Start by managing your time and prioritising what is important in your life. It is important to realise that the only time you have is now. Look at a situation that concerns you and ask the following questions;

1 What am I doing about this?

2 What would I like to do about this?

3 What do I choose to do about this?

4 What am I going to do about this now?

All too often, we feel that we are subject to the whims of the world around us. We feel we have to act in a certain way, or that we are supposed to do something, or that, as a mother, wife, sister or grandmother, we are expected to do what others want us to do.

Others do have expectations of us; however, we might realise that what we want to do may be completely different to those expectations if we take time to think about what is actually best in that situation and at that time.

We are challenged daily, and our "yes" is accepted without comment. Our "no" always seems to have an appendage. Learn to know what is healthy for you, and find again that child within by exercising your right to choose.

About the author: Muriel Connell is a motivational and inspirational speaker. She focuses on mentoring and encouraging those in their midlife to realize that the best is yet to come and that this stage of life is the beginning of a new and exciting life-path - not the end! Her own life journey is proof of this. She can be contacted on 082 871 0993.

Through New Horizons, a mentoring and networking group for women 45 - 65, the message of self-discovery, creativity and empowerment is fostered through interactive workshops. For more information contact Chris Walker 011 979 2848

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