Thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still, we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life's morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie. (Aspects of the Masculine, page 33, which I believe is referencing "Stages of Life," Collected Works, Vol. 8, Paragraphs 778, 784.)
I really do feel different during this particular life transition. For example, when I see job descriptions or opportunities that call to the Jillaine from my earlier period of life, the prospect of pursuing them feels like a lie. That's not me anymore. I'm someone else. (The only exception to this is the most recent work I was doing: convening people to jointly create solutions to their individual challenges.)
This sent me Googling around where I found a number of references that resonate (or should I saw "generate synchronicity"?) with my own experience.
"Carl Jung believed that middle and old age, like youth, have specific developmental tasks. While the developmental tasks for youth involve turning outward and engaging life, the goal for the mature individual is to consolidate an integrated personality by integrating the conscious and the unconscious parts of self." (The afternoon of life: Jung's view of the tasks of the second half of life, by K. Kelleher.)
Well, I certainly feel this is true of me at this time of my life. And I even remember an early therapist telling me that I needed such internal focus. I didn't get it then. Guess I wasn't old enough. ;-)
Wikipedia on Carl Jung went on to explain:
"Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfill our deep innate potential, much as the acorn contains the potential to become the oak, or the caterpillar to become the butterfly.
I've spent these post-layoff weeks in a place of inner exploration, seeking to re-ignite my deepest "innate potential," absolutely certain that something else is calling to be expressed through me than what has been expressed in my earlier years.
Then I found this:
"But this transition requires deeper change and a different orientation toward one’s self and one’s world than earlier transitions... When the middle passage has been navigated, the sun begins its slow descent... there can follow a long period when people are not young and not yet old. I call this period the time of coming to authenticity...
"Our sense of identity is expanded. We know more about our authentic selves and have come to some peace with our mistakes and limitations... We can become more fully who we were created to be, and we can make choices from a place of authenticity and integrity...
"As the darkness of evening falls, the question is not “What does the world require?”, or even “Is this all there is?” Rather the question is “What does soul require?” " (Individuation: Learning to Live by Nancy Millner.)
My soul requires that my inner self be expressed-- through writing, through painting-- i.e., through creative expression. It requires that I maintain connected to the earth Funny that: I type this from the deck of the "Tree House" where the afternoon light filters through the trees and I hear any number of bird species calling to and for their mates.