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Midlife Money Reflections

Packing for Your Next Chapter


Kim Potgieter

Kim Potgieter

June 12, 2024
How are you doing right now? Amid your current transition, how are you feeling? Are you navigating the complexities and challenges of this phase of life smoothly? Or do you feel stuck, overwhelmed, overly cautious, unable to move forward? Can you put your challenges into perspective? Have you set reasonable goals for yourself?

Every new beginning ends something.

One of my favourite exercises, especially during transitions, is the Suitcase Exercise. This exercise is particularly useful when facing numerous changes and challenges simultaneously. The idea is simple yet profound: you assess your top values and then examine every aspect of your life – your work, identity, relationships, money, attitudes, habits, etc. – to determine what’s working and what’s not.

This exercise requires looking at the things that get in the way and what you need to leave behind. Think about all the parts of your life. Are there any changes you would like to make? Are there any pieces that no longer serve you, which you no longer need, or no longer fit into your new picture? They could be things, people, relationships, ideas, dreams, hurts, or houses.

Many of us need to let go of shame. I often call this stuff you carry around with you your clutter. Decluttering means keeping only what adds value to your present and future life. Sounds simple? It isn’t. You will have to make a whole lot of difficult decisions. The process is one of introspection, and as you get clarity on what you don’t want in your life, what you do want also becomes clearer.

Look at your life so far. Can you identify recurring habits, behaviours, or beliefs that hold you back? These are the items you need to leave behind to make space for what’s next. Consider these prompts:
Are you:
Living someone else’s idea of your life?
Holding onto a long-held grudge?
Adopting a victim mentality?
Feeling unworthy?
Being a people pleaser?
Maintaining toxic relationships?
Holding beliefs that limit your potential?

Acknowledge what you’re grateful for

When you start reflecting on all the aspects of your life that are working and take a moment to recognise and acknowledge them, you’re practising gratitude. These are the things that bring you joy and fulfilment and align with your values. You’ll pack these things in your suitcase for the next chapter of your life.

Adding New Mindsets, Relationships, and Habits

Once you’ve decided what you won’t pack, consider what you can add to its place. Think about what you need to add to your life. This could be new mindsets, relationships, and habits. Here are some prompts to guide you:

  • If you want to edit the belief that “You are not good with money,” write “I can learn how to manage my money properly.”
  • If you want to edit the belief that “I will never be wealthy enough to enjoy my life fully,” write “I will find a way to earn and serve for as long as I want.”
  • If you want to edit the belief that “I’m too old to learn new skills or start my own business,” write “With all my wisdom and experience, I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”
  • If you want to edit the belief that “I’ll never find my purpose,” write “I will find purpose in every joyous moment and whenever I feel in flow.”

Now write your own and think about your money, work, relationships, identity, purpose, joy/fun, health etc.

Ready to pack your suitcase?

Access the Suitcase Exercise here.

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