Writing a Life Plan at midlife

So I am going to keep writing about midlife transitions because it’s a big deal. Vitaliy and I think that a lot of people get de-railed at this point. We’re actually going through this together, though I’m a few years ahead of him.

I’ll add a *funny* because we definitely need more humor in our lives: Whenever one of us goes through a day (or a few days) of “crisis” thoughts, and when we’re ready to tell the other about it, we then fist bump to congratulate the person for getting through it. It’s becoming one of our jokes.

I also want to note that my mom, who is in whatever year of her retirement, also goes through certain crisis days, and she tells me about them sometimes. I’m so glad she does. I used to write her during my crisis days when the kids were little and Vitaliy was gone somewhere. It was better than writing him about it– he just would feel like it was his fault and I would feel bad for having told him about it. Whereas my mom just listened and said something encouraging and then I felt better.

I mention that because crisis-about-the-value-and-meaning-of-my-life-and-what-worthwhile-thing-am-I-doing-here days will keep coming. So it’s fun to have a strategy or experiment with new ways of dealing with them.

So Sunday I had one of these days. And I journaled a lot about it, so I want to share this here. A few things combined to bring on this crisis, I think: First, I don’t have any goals this year, my life is filled with obligations, and that’s emotionally hard for me. Second, I’d made a thoughtful but serious decision to say no to a ministry opportunity, so I was coming down off the stress of that decision. Third, I’ve been slowly gaining weight through the holidays, not exercising, and we’re on a higher level of lock-down for three weeks which is getting weary and Curves (where I exercise) is closed. Fourth, I’d been reading articles about writing a Life Plan.

So, here are some scraps from my journal entries and my Life Plan thoughts from that day.

I want to honestly admit that I still feel kind of underwhelmed with my life, that’s not involved in something great, larger than myself. Maybe it is at some small points, but overall, I’m not excited about it.

Our church here … doesn’t have a large vision either.

Is it righteous of me to make a life plan? What kind of life plan did Jesus have? He knew God’s will and He did it, and He did it in the way God wanted. He did this every day, not just when He died on the cross.

He also spent 30 years that are not recorded in the Bible. Does this mean they were not important? I don’t think it can mean that. They were not years of public ministry. But they were years of ministry. Important ministry. Important formation, so that He stepped into public ministry and did it perfectly—He wasn’t led away from His path during his 3 yrs of public ministry.

So how do I adopt this spirit? I’m probably in these type of years. Years of relatively hidden, quiet ministry. I don’t know what my life will be like. There are so many things I can’t know. But there are also things I do know. I do know many things about how I am to obey the Lord in the life I have right now.

So how can I write a life plan that reflects what I do know? And perhaps leads me to a greater future?

In what way does this plan help me “take control” of my life [like the article says it does]? Or does it simply give meaning to the way I’m spending my days anyway? Can a life plan help me more accurately or more meaningfully or more wisely spend these years? I like the word wisdom. How can a life plan add wisdom to my days?

Life Plan Steps

Step 1: Create a vision.

I think each Christian already has this vision given to him—to live out the life and spirit of Jesus Christ in the place, time, circumstances she’s been given. This includes the personal talents and temperament one’s been given.

Step 2: Perform a self-assessment (What are these life factors (step 1) that I have been given?) [I will not include this here, too long.]

Step 3: Priorities of my roles and areas of life

Home schooling and motherhood are my hugest priorities now. But I’m not sure how I separate the two. I kind of equate motherhood with homeschooling. Well, maybe that is natural or even good? Maybe it’s not bad, we could say.

What are my priorities after homeschooling? According to God’s plan, it’s Vitaliy and the church. What next? My physical health? Then my mental, emotional, spiritual health. Missionary responsibilities.

Is there another way I would imagine it? I think it is here that I feel stuck. Like I haven’t much choice.

I need time alone. I need to write. I need time with God, in prayer and in His Word.

I want to say that these high school years are very short. Yes, they are extremely intense, and this is very draining to me. But they are short, and I value investing myself into knowing my daughters.

I am compensating something by eating a lot, watching movies, and playing solitaire. These are short-term, anesthesia activities. They are unhealthy and keep me from greater productivity. Also, the stress with L and P is wearing on me, depressing joy or something.

Step 4: Identify my values: What my life is now + what I want it to be = my values.

[I’m not including this.]

Step 5: Establish Goals (to become the person I want to be)

Well, in many ways I AM the person I want to be. I don’t feel the need to have any goals with home school, pastor’s wife, wife. It’s mostly my weight that bothers me. And imagining myself to be a fit-looking person.

With homeschooling, yes, I have goals and ideas, but it’s more something I just need to put into order.

So, the things I realized from that day’s crisis:

  1. It is important to me to be working on staying in shape though eating well and exercise. (So I started both those things this week.) It’s important to me for who I want to be, and it’s important for my mental/emotional attitude towards my life.
  2. When Skyla and Vika were little, I felt like my life would be this kind of drain forever. But that period ended relatively quickly. And that’s how I feel now about homeschooling–like it will be like this forever. But I realized that day, that it won’t be like this for very long. In fact, they have 3 and a half years left of schooling. That. is. all.
  3. I am OK that, for me, “mothering” is mostly home educating–it’s a great way to have things to talk about with the kids. However, I want to find other ways that I also see myself as a mother. Meals together or something. I’m not sure how to develop this side of myself. But I’m opening the door.
  4. I have a wonderful life. And God is asking me just to live it and be satisfied with it. He sees the point of it and the bigger plan. He’ll make me aware of that as needed.
  5. I want to enjoy things about my life now that I never anticipated having in life, but are wonderful. And one huge thing is my friendship with Vitaliy. I never imagined being so close to one person. It’s very special, and I’m amazed by and appreciate this.

So there you go. That was my latest midlife transition crisis day and how I got through it. <3

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