A 3-point life check for health, career, money, and relationships
It’s a universal truth that cars need regular services to keep running. And not surprisingly, humans need the same thing. Not just physically. We periodically need rest, support, and reboots in all areas of life.
I have a friend who bought a new Toyota LandCruiser in 1984. A couple of years ago it reached 500,000 miles (800,000+ kilometres) with the same engine and no major mechanical issues in its 35-year life. He was so proud of his achievement that he sent a letter and photo of his odometer to Toyota.
Why and how did his LandCruiser last that long? Many vehicles would need a new engine or major serving within that timeframe. It was, at least in part, because he diligently maintained and serviced his vehicle regularly.
He did a lot of it himself on a daily or weekly basis while also relying on other service professionals for the big jobs.
Humans are no different from cars. Life’s long road will eventually lead to the need for a pitstop.
You could call it a midlife crisis, but I like to think of it as a midlife catalyst.
“It’s time for your 45-year life check”
Today I received what initially seemed like a bizarre letter from the Australian Government. You see, last week I turned forty-five, and they said it was now time for my 45-year life check.
What on earth is a life check? I had no idea too.
It turns out the life check was a simple online survey that asked me to self-assess how I was doing in four corners of my life: health, work, finances, and social relationships.
At first, the cynical part of me thought, the government just wants to capture my data. But the reality is they don’t capture data at all. The tool simply connects you to resources the government has to offer to meet certain needs.
For example, if I identified in the work category that I wanted to start a business, they gave me a link to their new business incentive program. Same for free health screenings and mental health services or whatever.
And even outside of this odd government initiative, the invitation also resonated with a deeper truth: Life calls us to stop, reflect, and plan every now and again.
Like a 10,000-mile service, it’s time to get the old self into the shop for a checkup. Here’s my 3-point life check process that I’ve been running with (just in case you don’t want to fill out a government survey).
1. Stop for enough time to pause
The thing is that I have already been going through this reflection process. You could call it a midlife crisis, but I like to think of it as a midlife catalyst.
After eight years of working full-time, my body, mind, and spirit needed some serious rest. I took some time off from work for a few months to really reflect and connect with forgotten passions. Writing amongst them.
In fact, writing can be incredibly therapeutic. I’ve personally been using Janet Conner’s Writing Down Your Soul as a guide, in addition to my writing and publishing here.
I’ve also been getting out into nature regularly for hikes. There’s something immensely powerful and healing about syncing the mind and body’s rhythms with the rhythms of nature.
2. Get an outside perspective
Periodically, like taking the car in for a service, I get support from outside professionals.
I have my annual physical check-up with my doctor, including blood diagnostics. And in the meantime, I get regular bodywork with a chiropractor and kinesiologist.
On a regular basis, I see a coach. At times in the past, I’ve also seen a therapist. It’s like making sure the computer program is always up to date.
Coaching sometimes focuses on work issues like helping me navigate conflicts or challenges. I’m using coaching to help map, prepare, and navigate a career transition. I’ve also used coaching to explore money issues and relationship stuff. So, when the government sent me the 45-year life check, I was like, Thanks, but I’m already on it.
3. Dive into creative self-reflection
I’ve always been a reflective type. My daily contemplations and journaling are like filling my car with fuel and making sure it has enough oil. I look after the old car so it runs like a charm.
But it can be fun too. There are countless ways to bring any form of creativity into self-reflection or mapping a new path. Here’s a creative process I came up with as I was working through my own change:
There’s no time like the present
If you aren’t forty-five, you don’t need to wait. No matter what age we are, there are simple practices we can use to maintain the old vehicle and keep her roadworthy:
Go for walks in nature.
Create a self-reflection practice. Even something simple like a gratitude list can be a great start.
Learn a meditation or contemplation technique.
Connect with a life coach. Some specialise in health and wellness, relationships, career transitions, coming out, or any number of areas.
Get creative. Write about your journeys here.