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There are times in life when a personal stocktake can be helpful. Reviewing what’s gone before, whether it’s done after university or an apprenticeship, between jobs or at the end of a relationship, is a chance to think through what went well, what might have been improved, what was fun and what would, in hindsight, most definitely have been better avoided. It’s also a valuable opportunity to step back and decide how – and, possibly, with whom – to move forward. That doesn’t, of course, mean it will be easy or straightforward. If work appraisals are hard, assessing as honestly and objectively as possible one’s life’s progress is akin to climbing Mount Everest. It’s no mean feat. And for many it can feel insurmountable, especially if the years seem to be hurtling by and the so-called midlife crisis is approaching in the near-distance.
Yet this oft-dissected and much-satirised halfway point can be an ideal time to re-evaluate past achievements and acknowledge all those small goals that are ticked off without a glance; to reframe expectations in line with personal markers rather than the arbitrary bars of success set by others; and to channel energy into projects that are of genuine interest rather than those defined as appropriate or worthwhile by society.
Importantly, as with any period of reflection at any age, it’s a chance to reassess who – and what – really matters and keep them close alongside as another chapter of life unfolds.
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