What are you doing with the rest of your life?
These powerful ideas may change your next steps.
As soon as people find themselves facing an empty nest, they start thinking about what's next. The answers are inside each of us.  Here are 5 things that will help you avoid missteps or regrets on your path to finding joy, connection, and fulfillment.
#1  Take Baby Steps

If you take a series of small steps you can adjust along the way. Some of my interior design clients have intentionally designed their second half of life by moving to a one story home or to a smaller space. Sometimes, when they got there, they weren't happy.

That's when I discovered that the people who were happiest with changes in their lives took baby steps. It's so easy and it's so important that you take a series of small steps. You'll end up in the same place as the person who took one giant leap but you'll have the opportunity to modify your decisions when they don't feel quite right.  

My understanding of this stems from personal experience. Our lives changed in 2011 when my husband took a job in Newport Beach, California. We were living in Los Angeles and the commute was horrendous. Our son was doing well in high school and so we faced a dilemma on whether to move or not.

We decided to keep our family home so that my son could finish high school and I could continue working with my clientelle. We found a tiny crash pad where my husband could stay a few nights during the week. In the summer, our entire family would spend time at the beach crammed into a very small one bedroom, one bathroom place.

We found out that our family liked living at the beach. We liked the beach so much we purchased a condo with a little more space. I started taking on clients at the beach. We planned to keep our old family home in addition to this condo.

The beach became our new normal. The baby steps gave us a chance to adjust and make changes if we didn't like something. This was a wonderful time of exploring new places and things to do. We got to try out a very different lifestyle from what we knew in the suburbs.

I can't emphasize it enough ~ if you take baby steps while designing your second half, you won't feel backed into a corner.
#2  Rediscover Your Forgotten Dreams

Life got busy and you didn't have time to pursue them but rediscovering them will add energy to your life. Your dreams are only yours. They're buried deep down inside your heart because your life got busy with kids, work, spouses, homes, parents, and everything else.

These dreams are waiting for expression. Living at the beach was an early dream of mine that got lost in the frenetic pace of my life. In high school, I schemed to attend one of the coastal universities in California but the degree I wanted dashed that dream. After college, I schemed to live by the water and I actually did for two years but then I was promoted to an inland office. When we were first married, we looked at some homes in beach cities but the drive would have been killer so it just never came together.

By the time we were faced with the opportunity to make a move to the beach, I had forgotten the lost dream. What dreams did you have when you were younger that got lost in the frenetic pace of your accomplished life? 
#3 Confront Your Hidden Beliefs

Like the part of an iceberg hidden below the surface, we all have ideas that we don't even recognize. We don't talk about them. Somewhere in our lives, we've picked up these ideas and are holding them closely. 

The problem is that many of these hidden beliefs don't serve us well. They're not even true. We're holding onto ideas that are slowing us down and getting in our way.

 When I began navigating this new stage of my life, I was no stranger to hidden beliefs. In fact, as a college student I pursued a career in Corporate America instead of interior design because I didn't think decorating was a worthy degree. You see, I grew up with a crazy friend of the family who was a decorator and that experience colored my understanding of design.. 

Fast forward and new hidden beliefs were slowing me down and tripping me up. It took me some time to understand what was going on inside myself. I needed to get out of my own way.

My hidden beliefs were threatening my ability to move into this next stage of my life. This is one of the things that everyone needs to confront if they're going to design a second half that fills them with joy, fulfillment, and connection.
#4 Turn Off The Voices In Your Head

Your body has wisdom. Find that more intuitive place within you. Get your body moving. Take a walk in nature.

Mindfulness is a term that’s tossed around a lot these days.  It means paying attention to sights, sounds, tastes and feelings in the present moment without judging any of your thoughts.

When your mind wanders off, you’re supposed to just refocus on the present moment. If you’re going to be in the present moment, you have to stop thinking about problems. You have to not engage in the dialog going on in your head or the voices inside you.

Instead, you have to really see the things immediately in front of you. Hear the sounds without judgement. Be so keenly aware that you can taste the air you breath. Feel the warmth or cold, the wet or dry of where you are right in that moment. Feel the expansiveness of your breath and the depletion as you exhale completely.
#5 Be Willing To Let Go Of Things That Don't Serve You Well.

Letting go is so hard but designing your second half is a process of letting go of things that don't serve you anymore. Change is inevitable. We can decide to make intentional changes that work well in this moment of our lives or we can let change happen to us while we kick and scream. Either way, things will change.

I began to realize that our old family home wasn't really supporting us. We were supporting it. The maintenance was non-stop. It was more work than I really wanted.

To make the change, I had to let go of social comparisons. I had to be careful not to compare my new life with others.

You can't be authentic and true to who you are if you're focused on what everyone else is doing. So stop worrying about everyone else on social media and give voice to what's in your heart.