Why we Crave “More” from Life after 40
One of the more baffling things we experience as we approach, or pass, our 40th birthdays is a growing desire for “more.”
A nagging desire takes hold and pulsates as we move about our all too familiar routine: “There must be more to life than this…”
What’s up with that?!
As a coach for midlife women going through the sometimes bumpy transition into this phase of life, it’s one of the most common things I hear: I need more in my life, but I don’t know what that means.
It can also feel unsettling because guilt may set in (especially for us women!), because it may feel greedy to want “more,” or as if we’re ungrateful for what we already have (side note: neither is true!).
So, what does it mean when we start wanting “more”?? And, more importantly, what can we do to quench that desire?
To explain the roots of the “more,” let’s back up a bit and examine how our younger adult years unfold...
WHY WE CRAVE “MORE”
News flash: we’re organic creatures. We’re constantly shifting, changing, and evolving.
These changes may be small, or gigantic. They may be born from intentional work to make desired changes, or they may be so subtle we don’t even realize it’s happening.
Some of these shifts are biological, while others come from our experiences and what we’ve learned from our daily existence.
When this starts to happen, a desire for something “more” or different, takes root. Because we’re so ingrained in our daily routine, we don’t see it coming, which is why it can feel alarming and confusing.
When we look at our lives as a whole, they’re made up of chapters. When we begin to get uncomfortable and crave something different or “more,” we’re typically approaching the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. We get a little restless and feel unsteady on our feet.
As we approach 40, we’re in the midst of one of those chapter shifts. We’re closing out our younger adult years, and moving into our midlife years.
This shift is particularly bumpy for most people because there are so many preconceived perceptions about what this phase of life will bring (and side note, those perceptions are usually wrong!).
As we grow up, we’re bombarded with outside influences. We learn to associate success and status with material things (cars, size of homes, fancy jewelry, etc.) and job titles/ranks. We work hard to secure a good job and work our way up the ladder. We aim to marry “well,” and settle into a nice home.
This isn’t inherently wrong! I believe it’s part of our evolution.
But, as we acquire all of these “things” and achieve career success, we realize it’s a never-ending chase. And, all of those external markers of success, no longer feel as satisfying or rewarding.
So, despite all of the “things” we own, the titles we’ve achieved, and the “success” we’ve attained, it begins to feel empty, and we crave “more.”
For many, this “more” piece may be tied to the purpose we crave for ourselves and our lives. We want our lives to mean something and the energy we expend to count for something. So, answering the “more” question can help us understand our purpose and answer our calling in life.
WHAT’S THE “MORE” I’M CRAVING
As we get older, our inner beings start to see “success” as something completely unrelated to all of those external markers. So, the “more” that we’re craving is essentially more meaning to our lives - something beyond what money typically buys.
For many, this feels uncomfortable because it’s a new perspective that we don’t understand, and it can feel out of our control (it’s not!).
The “more” piece is unique to each of us, and can only be defined by ourselves. But, what I’ve commonly heard as what folks crave a bit more of in this phase of life is:
More purpose - they want their work to make a difference and to mean something to them (in other words, when they lay their head down at night, they want to feel they made a positive difference in the world that day).
More time - they want more time to themselves, to do things they enjoy, and to quit putting off the things that bring them joy
More freedom - they want freedom from demanding jobs, too many bills, and unending responsibilities
More fun - they want to travel more, laugh more, and relax more
More meaningful relationships - they want deeper connections with their partner (or to find a new partner), children, parents, friends, community, etc.
What you’re craving may, or may not be on this list, but to quench that desire and feel more satisfied with life, lean into that craving, be curious, and explore what it might mean for YOU.
To crave “more” as we approach, or pass, 40 is natural and an expected part of the process. To define what “more” means to each of us and to invite it into our lives means releasing the expectations of others and honing in on what feels missing.
Look to where you feel overwhelmed for signs on what may be missing. Explore the areas of your life where you feel the most resentment. Figure out your core values and assess where you’re out of alignment with those values.
If you need help with any of these, I’m here to walk with you on that path, so reach out and let me know where you’re struggling!