I learned a new word. It might save your life.
In this "This is Fifty" podcast, living you dream expert, Marcia Weider says apoptosis is what happens when your brain believes you’ve outgrown your usefulness and it’s triggered in three situations...
- when you retire or get laid off,
- when you have an empty nest,
- when you have no dreams.
Google defines apoptosis as the death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism's growth or development. There’s a normalcy about it yet, there’s research suggesting that it happens when it’s not supposed to happen and might be affecting cancer, Alzheimer’s and other life-threatening diseases.
In Greek, apoptosis translates to the "falling off" of leaves from a tree. It doesn’t take scientific proof to know that feeling...that heaviness of not knowing your purpose or what in the world is next.
I don’t want you to panic or add “find a dream because if I don’t I’m going to die” to your to-do list. Just consider that if you’re feeling out of sorts, you’re not losing your mind. It might be a biological sign, perhaps permission from above, to pursue an interest or keep doing that thing you love, because doing it could extend and enhance your life.
Now, if you have no idea what you enjoy doing, know that you’re not alone. When I led a course in creativity, many women were so busy taking care of others, they hadn’t thought about what (really) brings them joy in years. Which is okay, until it’s not okay.
When I feel heaviness setting in and can't pinpoint what's causing it, I...
- acknowledge I’m at a crossroads
- reflect on all I’ve accomplished over the last decade, year, or week
- revel in this for a moment or two
- ask myself what I’m curious about, what’s left, in me, that I want to experience
- take the easiest, smallest, most doable step toward doing it
An example of this is an online photo course I’m taking from Andrea Scher. She sends us a prompt, we post a pic and get to see others take on it. It’s easy, interesting and the conversation is engaging. I call it a practice in presence because it forces me to see ordinary things in a new light, like the “heart of a flower” pictured above which reminds me of white chocolate curls with raspberry spiked centers.
Anyway, joy can be sparked in a simple online $49 course. It doesn’t have to be our life purpose or passion to count.
And here’s a peek inside one of my accomplishment lists.
Take care and comment or send me an email. I’d love to hear your story.