Two Halves of Life

“One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.” –Carl Jung

When we look in the mirror we see evidence of this truth. Whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual, the things that consumed me as a young person are completely forgotten or a source of embarrassment. Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward, Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, has helped me understand that this journey of life is perfectly planned to peel the layers away and reveal the most important things. Rohr says, “The task of the first half of life is to create a proper container for one’s life and answer the first essential questions: ‘What makes me significant?’ ‘How can I support myself?’ and ‘Who will go with me?’ The task of the second half of life is, quite simply, to find the actual contents that the container was meant to hold and deliver.” The container was never intended to be the end-all. All I can say is, “Thank heavens!” He suggests that far too many people just keep doing repair work on the container itself and never dig deeper to see what treasures await.

Rather than seeing mid-life as a time of crisis, we could see it as the most liberating and exciting time in life. I am way past mid-life, but I’m deep into the second half of life that holds all the great mystery and treasures of re-creation. Although it seems counter-intuitive, we should be embracing our older age and celebrating birthdays more than ever! Again, I say our culture does not support this kind of thinking. When you embrace your age, you become energized and you seem younger than your years. The same anticipation of your youthful years will remain intact. When did you quit being excited about the future? The dash between your birthdate and the day of your passing on your tombstone is just that – a dash! No one knows how long the dash is, but there is work and play to be experienced the entire length if you embrace it. I’ve met many Elders who are playing a waiting game, but the ones that inspire me are spilling over with the important things in life. You can see it in the twinkle in their eyes and the smile on their lips. You look right past the wrinkles and grey hair and get a glimpse of the contents of life! Join the conversation on Facebook at Just Now Old Enough.

Editor’s note: Connie Mason Michaelis is a lifestyle consultant at

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