Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Have Mid-Life Crisis When You Can Have A Mid-Life Oasis™?

By Jill Bryan

Strange and wonderful things begin to happen as we make our way into mid-life.  “Strange” as in realizing the brown spots on your face resemble the little dipper when you connect them or suddenly needing glasses to read labels and menus. (Are all shampoo bottles designed by 20 year olds with 20/20 vision?) “Wonderful” as in making peace with our bodies (perhaps for the first time ever) and being grateful for all the parts that still work, rather than fretting about how far from perfect they look. And the freeing awareness that comfortable shoes are a glorious thing not to be looked down upon.

The media likes to play up the idea of a “Mid-Life Crisis”, but I’ve come up with a much more pleasing concept – the “Mid-Life Oasis™”.  I believe that once we make it this far, we’re entitled to create the time and space in our lives for some real personal fulfillment.  Now is the time to take all of those dreams, hopes, and wishes we’ve put on the backburner lo these many years and move them to the forefront of our hearts and minds and the top of our to-do lists!  With apologies to all of the PTA meetings, church committees and housecleaning that will be moved further down our lists with this bold decision, there are books to be written, songs to be sung, exotic locales to be visited, races to be run, art to be made, gourmet meals to be prepared, jokes to be told, and mountains to be climbed. Now is the time to go for it!

I believe that true Mid-Life Crisis happens when we dream of experiences we want to have, places we wish to see and ideas we long to express – but won’t even allow ourselves to make the attempt.  When we let that happen, we’re likely to spend the rest of our days haunted by wondering how different things might have been “if only”.

No matter what our dream may look like, most of us share some common blocks that keep us from pursuing creative satisfaction in our lives. Do any of these issues ring a bell for you?

  •  Procrastination - You’ll get around to that watercolor kit someday…after the garage is cleaned out and the canned goods in your pantry have been alphabetized.
  • Putting Yourself Last - Your projects always seem to be last on the list. Everyone else comes first…your boss, your family, your friends – even the ones you don’t like all that much.
  •  Overwhelm - You have so much going on that you don’t see how you could possibly fit in one more thing, especially something that might be (gasp!) just for fun.
  • Feeling Not Good Enough – You worry that your dream is silly, or that you’re not really an artist…writer…singer…comedian…insert the hobby/job/passion of your choice here. So why even try?
  • Not Knowing Where To Begin – You have lots and lots of wonderful ideas you want to explore, but don’t know where or how to start.

So, where do we begin? How do we start?

One fun and productive option is to work with a coach. Several years ago, I worked with a creativity coach who helped me rediscover my passion for writing and performing music and more importantly to make the time and space for it in my busy life. That was the beginning of my own oasis. I loved her methods so much, and experienced such a positive change in my life using them, that I ended up becoming a certified creativity coach myself and founding Creative Oasis Coaching. (another important component to my new-found oasis) As a creative life coach, it’s now my job (and one that I love and am grateful for every day!) to help people create their own Mid-Life Oasis™.

Through the process of being coached and then becoming a coach myself, I’ve learned and am happy to share the good news – there are many easy and effective methods to move past the common creative blocks listed above.  Here’s a sample list of ways to begin forging your own creative path:

  • Get Help. In addition to one-on-one coaching, joining an on-line group or taking a class are excellent ways to support your creative desires with like-minded people. The accountability they provide can sometimes be all you need to begin and stick with pursuing your dream.
  • Start Small. In just two minutes a day, you can begin to form a creative habit, and make real progress overtime. (for example, even if you only wrote one page per day, at the end of a year, you’d have written well over 300 pages!)
  • Lower Pressure. It doesn’t need to be great, or perfect, or even good – just express yourself. If you say, “I’m going to make the worst drawing imaginable today,” but then you go ahead and draw, chances are it won’t be nearly as bad as you feared, it may even be good, and if nothing else, it will probably feel wonderful.
  • Take Field Trips. Visiting museums and bookstores, attending presentations and movies, even a trip to your local zoo or aquarium can be a great source of inspiration and exposure to new ideas. Take a notepad or sketchbook and enjoy.
  • Be Bratty. Anytime you second guess yourself, or come up with excuses as to why you shouldn’t pursue your Mid-Life Oasis™ tell yourself, “So what! I’ll do it anyway.” Using that same stubborn streak that children so easily access, can be very empowering and fun.

There are so many of us out here discovering what Mid-Life means, and thankfully lots of wonderful places to connect. (such as this fun Perrie Meno-pudge site!) We can choose to focus on the strange (hot flashes, and the need for more stabilizing undergarments), or we can dive headlong into the wonderful (not caring how we look the first time we try a downward facing dog, and realizing that if Cloris Leachman can take up ballroom dancing at 82 years old – then perhaps we’ll give it a whirl ourselves!) 

I invite you to sidestep the crisis and create your own oasis!  Please feel free to visit mine at In the meantime, all the best from my Mid-Life Oasis™ to yours!

Jill Allison Bryan believes that everyone can create her own Mid-Life Oasis™ — because it doesn’t have to be a crisis! Through her Creative Oasis Coaching practice, Jill helps people in the prime of their lives to realize the joy and satisfaction that comes with making time to pursue their own creative dreams. Working (and playing, of course) with her own creativity coach led Jill to reclaim her creative passion as a singer/songwriter and ultimately to become a Kaizen-Muse creativity coach. She offers one-on-one coaching, facilitates group workshops and retreats, and is currently producing her first solo CD of original music. Now that Jill has discovered her own Mid-Life Oasis™, she would love to help you find yours! Connect with her at



  2. I like the calm, nurturing energy in your mid-life oasis, Jill. Much wiser to embrace our creativity than buy that red convertible sports car. About those brown spots . . . aka age or liver spots . . . in France they call them flowers of the grave. Surely our wake up call to try any one of the elixirs from your oasis.