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How do we pack for the future as women at midlife? A future that isn’t known. A future that’s hard to successfully guess at. I have ideas about my future and I’m sure you do, too. What do I know for sure? That it's an unknown!

Those goals and plans? My expectations? The assumptions that I’ve made? What if they all prove to be inaccurate? Not necessarily better or worse. Just different.

Let’s look at a few ways to play with this:

1. Acknowledge that the future is strange territory. What do you need to take on the voyage? Let’s use a metaphor – our future being compared to a trip. Let’s start with qualities you’d like to have on the trip. Here are a few ideas.

  • Resiliency

  • Patience

  • An open mind

  • A sense of adventure

Now, let’s get a little more concrete. Make a list of favorites.

  • Things

  • Places

  • People

  • Songs

  • Books

Flip that on its head. What don’t you want to take along? What should you let go of?

  • Worry

  • Anxiety/Fear

  • Lack of self-confidence

  • Caring what others think

  • Putting others before yourself

2. Our futures are much longer with increased life expectancy. Pack with care.

A middle-aged woman asked’s columnist Cary Tennis how she could best enjoy the rest of her life. His response is interesting and I want to share it with you. “You can’t see all of your life. It has a horizon, but it’s not round like the earth… you can’t get high enough to see the future. So you pack for the unforeseen… You’re talking about a planned arrival in a strange land. So you pack carefully.”

How about packing a literal box? Precious photographs, small objects that are touchstones for you, old family jewelry, things your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews made, cards from beloved family members or dear friends, old flowers from a bouquet. A comforting memory/reminder box. What would you put in yours?

3. Focus on what brings you peace of mind, inspiration, and lifts your spirits. Here are a few of mine:

  • Cooking

  • Reading

  • Travel

  • Cats

  • Walking outside/exercise

I want to encourage you to print this email out and write down your personal answers to each of these areas. You’ll get clarity and probably a few surprises as you do so.

If you’re a woman a midlife and you’d like a supporting coach at your side to partner with as you spend what’s undoubtedly some of the most fruitful years of your existence on planet Earth, reach out to me at and check out my website Women at midlife are a strong focus of mine.

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