Love & Life Midlife Strategies

Take the Rocking Chair Test to Know Your Life’s Purpose – and Regrets

There is nothing to fear in change, it is part of life. Try the ‘rocking chair test’ to see if you have lived your life to the fullest, without regrets, says Kay Newton.

By Kay Newton

Throughout my life, people have looked at me as if I were mad. I am used to this; in fact, I am quite proud of being slightly different. I vividly remember the day in my 20s when I told my friends I would be getting on a small private yacht with three male strangers and travelling from Hull, UK, to Mallorca, Spain.

Even with no ties and a sense of youthful adventure, this was something “you just did not do”, yet it never stopped me.

My send-off farewell party was very brief, silent and full of looks of disdain. I lost a lot of friends; we no longer had anything in common. Many were jealous and wished for their own freedom.

The friends that stayed in contact always ask the same question: “When are you coming back home?” Home is where the heart is, I tell them; it is an internal state of mind, not a physical attachment.

Again in my 50s, I took the plunge to move continents and lifestyle. This time from Europe to East Africa. Again, everyone thought I was mad, going through a real “midlife crisis”. How could someone who had “it all” – a six-bedroomed house with swimming pool – just leave it behind? Did I understand the consequences of going to a third-world country, would it be safe? How could living like a “local”, dealing with malaria, cholera, poisonous snakes and the Muslim culture be a thing to desire? Why would you want to do something so rash at this stage in life, is it not time to retire and take things easy?

People also wanted to know how I would cope with just 20 kg of luggage, living in a two-roomed, tin-roofed house, not being able to visit the local supermarket, bank, medical centre or even just have a coffee with friends.

The answer to all the above is simple: you do.

Providing you are willing to adapt and make peace with your new surroundings, change is good. In fact, living with just a few possessions in a small home gives me lots of time to connect with others and walk on a beautiful beach. What could be better?

Life is all about transformation and evolution no matter in what way that happens. New experiences help you to understand yourself, how you function, what you are passionate about. Learning and adapting to change is key.

As you get older and the ‘rocking chair test’ becomes closer to reality, it is even more important to not have regrets. This test is a simple visualisation that anyone can perform no matter what stage you are in your life.

Just sit relaxed and close your eyes; take a few deep breaths and imagine that you have reached the ripe old age of 120. You are sitting in your favourite rocking chair surrounded by children. They are all listening to every word you tell them about all the wonderful experiences you had, the happy stories and the sad ones.

Kay NewtonSome of the stories will come from the past. For the stories that still have to happen, create imagery that is vivid in detail and colour, using as many sense as you can; sight, sound, touch, emotion, taste and smell. Take time, in the end, to congratulate yourself for a beautiful life.

Making peace with change makes for a happy and fulfilling life. I can’t wait to hear about your Rocking Chair of Change.

Kay Newton is a personal development coach, author, confidante and Tai Chi instructor. Follow her on www.Kay-Newton.comLead image credit: Pixabay


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