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  #1  
Old 16th July 2017, 23:22
GlasgowFilmTheatreFan GlasgowFilmTheatreFan is offline
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Default Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

My life was somewhat derailed about 15 years ago when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I haven't worked since 2005 which has obviously meant I've not had much money. However I have made a little progress with my social anxiety, and found some comradeship and peer support in a mental health support group where I live (Glasgow). I have my own housing association flat now, which has plenty of books and DVD's collected over the years. I have found a couple of Meetup groups where I am welcomed and accepted despite my shyness and blushing (one mental health, one cinema).

So in terms of my personal life, other than not having a partner which is something that I don't expect to change, things are not too bad. I maybe have one meetup or social event a week which is probably what lots of working people do, it's just I have a lot of time to kill in between. However I am not sure what my goals should be for the next 5-10 years to improve my quality of life while I still have good physical health. I feel I have come a long way in terms of accepting myself as I am and not continually struggling to become someone I am not and never could be (counselling has helped a bit with that). If you are middle-aged like me (I'm 47) and don't expect to have a partner in future, what other things bring you happiness and give you a feeling of having a good life? I am not sure what activities or interests I could add which are suitable for someone my age. Any ideas or thoughts very welcome!

(To give one possible example of what I might be looking for, recently I met an American Facebook friend for a late lunch. She's divorced, loves her cats, loves spending Saturday afternoons watching Michigan State college football, saves up for hiking holidays - the reason she was in Scotland - and gets to bed at 8.45 pm each night. So she is someone who has been able to hold down a job, has spent money making her home just how she likes it, and enjoys very much just quiet time at home and not having to go out at weekends. It's not exactly what I would want but it's one example of a middle-aged person's life that "makes sense" to me).
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  #2  
Old 17th July 2017, 11:47
umm umm is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraObscuraFan
If you are middle-aged like me (I'm 47) and don't expect to have a partner in future, what other things bring you happiness and give you a feeling of having a good life? I am not sure what activities or interests I could add which are suitable for someone my age. Any ideas or thoughts very welcome!

(To give one possible example of what I might be looking for, recently I met an American Facebook friend for a late lunch. She's divorced, loves her cats, loves spending Saturday afternoons watching Michigan State college football, saves up for hiking holidays - the reason she was in Scotland - and gets to bed at 8.45 pm each night. So she is someone who has been able to hold down a job, has spent money making her home just how she likes it, and enjoys very much just quiet time at home and not having to go out at weekends. It's not exactly what I would want but it's one example of a middle-aged person's life that "makes sense" to me).
Haha well this raises the question of activities unsuitable for someone your age! Why limit yourself? I'm a few years younger than you - not many - and fairly recently decided to indulge my various nerdy obsessions (passions, for other people) and through them have met several like minded people. The question is - what things do you like? Walking, gaming, drawing, tiddlywinks? What I've discovered is that no matter how niche your interests, there's probably some other souls into the same stuff.
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  #3  
Old 17th July 2017, 13:15
GlasgowFilmTheatreFan GlasgowFilmTheatreFan is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

Thanks for the reply Umm! I guess I mean activities I could still enjoy in future even if I had less than great or low energy. I was also thinking if there were activities that attracted people my age then I might have better odds of being friends with them as we would have that in common. However I guess it's equally true that I don't have much in common with the many people my age who are working, married with kids etc. Good question and definitely food for thought!
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  #4  
Old 17th July 2017, 13:36
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

Hi,
I like your thread

I am married & have a family, but that doesn't magically make me happy & fulfilled

I am in a horrible period in my life of struggling with my job and part of me is looking to do something even less qualified, just to lower my stress, part of me is thinking that I should do more qualifications to try & get a more professional job.

I've been like this most of my life & so far just trudge along earning my pittance & sucking up all the low level bullying I get.

I like the idea of trying to stop worrying about my job for 5 minutes & start looking at my actual life & what I'd like to do. I do some things I like, walking my dog, being in the countryside, gardening. I like doing things as a family, but my kids are getting older & are getting into their own hobbies.

The only socialising I do is with family, or workmates who dislike me. I do miss socialising with people like I used to, in the days I had actual friends of my own & used to go out. I'd like to meet people I feel more comfortable with, that I could go out with.
One of my interests is music. I play the banjo a bit & would maybe like to go to some acoustic nights in pubs in the future, maybe learn another instrument like the mandolin & learn a few folk songs. I like to sing.

I like the description you give of the group you go to, where you're accepted for being yourself. I like the idea of being able to mix with people who won't judge me for my social difficulties.
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  #5  
Old 17th July 2017, 14:02
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

can't stop.

Googling MAs in Play Therapy now.

Is constantly looking for other careers a mental illness in itself?
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  #6  
Old 17th July 2017, 20:09
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

^that's a good point about consuming.

In the west we're encouraged to consume & most people I work with seem very happy. They work, they have some hobbies, some social life & they shop.

I don't really aspire to that. I work, but it's to provide my children with stuff they need, other than that, I don't really want much stuff. Where would I wear new clothes? who would I show new stuff to?

I wish I knew what would make me feel fulfilled. I know it isn't consumerism though, I'm not really into it..it just overwhelms me with how much new stuff is going to be thrown away soon.
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  #7  
Old 18th July 2017, 15:08
GlasgowFilmTheatreFan GlasgowFilmTheatreFan is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

Actually I guess it can be helpful for people to have a positive vision whatever their stage of life. The hard part for me is to create that vision which takes into account the limitations of my disability (type 1 bipolar disorder) and is realistic. With my specific bipolar, and I believe with borderline personality disorder too, people can go from having plans for world domination to feeling they are worthless and don't even deserve to live. Due to my medication I am not quite so bad but I find it difficult to make plans. For example I started an Open University course last year and it soon became very obvious that my mind wasn't functioning anything like it was when I went to a bricks and mortar Uni years ago and I had to give it up.

Here's something from an article I found online today :-

5. Make the plan for your life!

I was a psychologist in a suburban mental health clinic for 30 years. I began by asking, "How do you want your life to be?" It was amazing how many people had never learned to make reasonable life plans based upon their aptitudes, intelligence and desires.

Together we'd complete a goal list and visualize how things would look in 5 years. Each element was tweaked until the client was satisfied. From then on, he/she was asked to dwell on the image daily and especially when making important decisions. "Will X bring be closer or farther from the image?" Obviously a preponderance of constructive thoughts, words and actions would bring them closer to the life they desired. Valuable resources include Dr. S. Reiss' book Who Am I? and the YouTube video "Learning to Flourish and Endure in a Challenging World."

Also, people who are too self critical can learn to place their mistakes on a scale from one to ten and judge themselves accordingly.
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  #8  
Old 20th July 2017, 09:47
erase&rewind erase&rewind is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

^ Interesting,

I have a book on ACT (there's also a SA version) which includes the process of Finding your Values, which are the things that make your life worth living (not goals that you can tick off, beliefs or morals, but things you can base your daily actions on).

An analogy used was to think of values as a lighthouse steering you in a churning sea of anxiety and worries – usually we are focused on the sea of anxiety whereas we should be focused on the lighthouse.

The book states it is important to pick values that are based on things that would make your life worth living not on what society says, or on morals. For example if you have children being a good parent may only be moderately important to someone if they are not overly maternal or paternal and this is ok even though society may suggest that this should be given high importance.

Values were sub divided into 10 categories and you had to rate from 0 to 2, then write a short statement of intentions for the ones that are important to you.

Rating
0 – not at all important
1 – moderately important
2 – very important

Subdivisions
1. Work/career
2. Intimate relationships (e.g., marriage, couples)
3. Parenting
4. Education/learning (personal growth)
5. Friends/social life
6. Health/physical self-care
7. Family of origin (family relationships other than marriage or parenting)
8. Spirituality
9. Community life/environment/nature
10. Recreation/leisure

I would have around 5 of these that I would value and should base my actions on.

This is similar to the video you posted, the main difference seems to be that positive emotions are not listed as a value to aspire to in the ACT book, it suggests developing skills of mindfullness and compassion for any emotions that show up. I guess this is because you can never be sure what emotions will show up even when doing similar activities that had made you feel peaceful in the past for example.
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  #9  
Old 20th July 2017, 12:51
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

^
I've mentioned both of those ACT books on here previously. It really is a fantastic approach and I find it virtually impossible NOT to make progress using it. As you say, it's a values driven therapy, so it identifies what you really want in your life and steers you towards it regardless of life's pain and discomfort.

Positive emotions? Well they aren't really a value so wouldn't be sought in ACT. What would be sought is valued living. When we live to our values many pleasurable feelings can come up as a by-product, but they are not the primary goal. Thing is, chasing 'positive emotions' or happiness for its own sake is a trap. This is covered in another ACT book: The Happiness Trap, by Russ Harris.

No matter how we live, life is life and it will always include events, thoughts and feelings that are painful and uncomfortable. This is unavoidable, so having 'positive emotions' as a value would be as futile as trying to catch, then keep, a rainbow. A positive outlook and approach is different, of course, and can aid progress.

It's great to see someone else who is getting something from using ACT. It's a fantastic approach to identifying our values in life and living a life congruent with those values despite the uncomfortable and often painful realities of life. I only found ACT late on in my life (I'm 54) but it's made no end of difference to how I now live. It's never too late to do the things in life we value doing.
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  #10  
Old 21st July 2017, 20:15
erase&rewind erase&rewind is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

^
It's good to hear that ACT has made a positive difference to your life and that you recommend the book that I am reading.

The Happiness Trap gets good reviews so I will have to look into it once I have finished with my current one. It would be interesting to compare the two.
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  #11  
Old 23rd July 2017, 13:27
Punxsutawney Phil Punxsutawney Phil is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

Hi CameraObscuraFan,

I found starting a new hobby has helped me find some happiness and more life-satisfaction. I was spending so much energy trying to overcome the negatives in my life, I rather overlooked introducing positives instead. I think this is a common trap to fall into. I became more and more depressed because just trying to eliminate negatives can feel overwhelming and depressing. The more negatives I would battle, the more would come along: addictions, relationship problems, work problems, money problems etc. The reason for this was simple, doing positive things is more frightening for me, because it is scary joining groups of happy, well-adjusted people who are positively driven! They are more threatening to me than those who are struggling with similar difficulties to me, who I can thus relate more to. But while that is ok once in a while, sometimes we need people who are radically different to us to show us a different way of seeing the world, and ourselves.

The other challenge about starting a new hobby was I struggle to find significance in anything that isn't related to my life plan, but I realised this was precisely my problem, as I couldn't just live in the moment, enjoying life for what it was, as everything had to have some ulterior reason connected to my future and sense of personal achievement etc. I believe goals are good, but it is important that not all of them are connected to feelings of fulfilment and self-worth, which is something we can feel simply through being in friendly company, for example.
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  #12  
Old 23rd July 2017, 16:28
GlasgowFilmTheatreFan GlasgowFilmTheatreFan is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

That interesting Phil - some pastimes can be helpful even if they don't involve any particular move toward a life plan or accomplishment - I am thinking of people who say doing mindfulness colouring books helps them while they are doing it.
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  #13  
Old 28th July 2017, 11:29
Punxsutawney Phil Punxsutawney Phil is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

I was thinking a lot about your post over the last few days. I'm working on changing my vision for the future. Despite my good intentions I always feel like I'm running from a life of pain and failure rather than working towards a happy and richer life that I deserve. The latter is a very different attitude and mindset, and it's something I really want to learn to do better. There is nothing wrong with any of us, we are good people, and we owe it to ourselves to make the most of the future. We come first! Hope you are doing ok Cameraobscurafan x
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Old 11th August 2017, 21:31
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

^such an interesting way of looking at things. I've never thought about it in that way.
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  #15  
Old 11th August 2017, 21:41
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

one of the things I've been thinking about through my mindsmatters appointment is my safety behaviours.
Because I do mix with people, albeit reluctantly, I have thought of managing my SA as finding the right balance between mixing and being on my own, (which is easier) but so as for me not to be too lonely.

I hadn't realised that because of my extreme safety behaviours of running away, even within a short conversation, time spent with family or any interaction, As soon as I make some kind of interaction with someone I am internally looking for a route out & a place to go & hide.
So every social interaction I have is just a process of me trying to disentangle myself from it.

In my second half of life I would like to overcome this, so that my SA isn't just about making myself mix with people, it's actually about learning not to be withdrawing/running away from every person as soon as we interact, so that I can learn to be around people without that feeling of 'how do I get through this?/how can I escape?/'
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Old 11th August 2017, 21:47
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

^sorry to keep adding afterthoughts

But today I started trying to apply this thought during a conversation with my dad. Instead of only listening & prompting, I told him a bit of what I'd done today without being asked (he would never ask ) It was about deciding to be more committed to the conversation, not just waiting to be alone again. I do feel like I'm getting somewhere with understanding where I've been going wrong with my wanting to be with people/not wanting to be with people. I put myself in the physical proximity of other people, but my safety behaviours stop me putting my actual self there, as in my thoughts or feelings or reactions or likes etc.
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  #17  
Old 11th August 2017, 22:15
Nervous Wreck Nervous Wreck is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

It sounds as if your mindsmatters sessions are going well Jinny and that you are actively working on the ideas you take away from them. It's quite helpful to read your posts.
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  #18  
Old 12th August 2017, 00:50
GlasgowFilmTheatreFan GlasgowFilmTheatreFan is offline
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Default Re: Creating a positive vision about the second half of life

Helpful for me too reading your posts phil and jinny. I have made progress in the groups I am familiar with in being "present" rather than having escape thoughts, but I am a bit reticent to try new groups, sometimes even just the thought of being asked "what do you do? can phase me as I'm not working.

One thing I am also working on in counselling is trying to see my life as an ongoing process of growth, rather than an end goal where I hope to be "fixed" by it.
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