In their words: Jane Mathews & Writing a life plan - Happy + Well : Happy + Well

In their words: Jane Mathews & Writing a life plan

Written by on September 23, 2015 in Happiness, Relationships, Wellness, Work with 0 Comments

images‘Crumpets face inwards’ is stamped on my toaster. How come the most mundane kitchen appliance has instructions, but life doesn’t? And isn’t it strange that we find time to write a million shopping and ‘to do’ lists, but rarely take out a few hours to write a life plan – our own instructions?

When I hit midlife I started to think about this more and more. I tried to find a practical and inspirational guide to help me re-write my own midlife story. (With a sense of humour, please!). I couldn’t find one, so I wrote a book myself, and the result is Midlife Manifesto.

Shifting to Manual. The first part of our life is on automatic: school, college, career, marriage, kids, no kids. Then gradually everything starts to shift. Relationships ebb and flow. Our bodies no longer behave as we expect them to. Our parents get old and die. We start to think about our financial future, and our spiritual side ignites. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us have a nagging question, tugging at our sleeve: Is this it?

What is Midlife ManifestoIt’s a toolkit to plan the rest of your life. It’s a book (and a plan) that offer inspiration for women who want to improve or transform the bento box that is their life. Don’t just exist. Really live. From health and spirituality, work and interests, financial security, relationships, personal style and the home, Midlife Manifesto shows women how to make the most of each of them and supplies a practical plan to make it happen. I’ll try to summarise some of the key points …

Your vision. The first step is to define your vision. I go through several options to do this, including your perfect day, vision board, key strength audit, passions, being ‘in flow’, write your own eulogy, e-mail a letter to your future self, design your own coat of arms, your life in six words and your bucket list.

Relationships. Woody Allen said that relationships are like sharks: “Once they stop moving they die”. They will shift and change. Friends can be ‘drains’ or ‘radiators’. The most important relationship of all is the one you have with yourself because what you think about yourself becomes the truth. You teach people how to treat you, so if you don’t value yourself, others won’t either.

Your body. You can’t do anything about getting older but you can do something about how you get older. Eighty percent of illnesses in later life are attributed to lifestyle. You need to know your four key numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI and waist circumference. Exercise has to be planned in! As Dr. Phil says, “You don’t have to like it. You just have to do it”

Your spiritual self. For many people, myself included, organised religion doesn’t really resonate. Rather, I imagine spirituality like a string of beads. We may pick a meditation bead from Buddhism, or a karma bead from Hinduism to make up your own spiritual necklace. It’s like IKEA – some assembly required!

Your interests/work. Interested = interesting. The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions. Our brains are pliable and love to be stretched. Try to learn one new thing a year – and it doesn’t have to be a calendar year. Start now!

Your home. Your emotional base camp, which, as Oprah put it, should ”rise up to greet you”. A great way to think about your home is in a wonderful book Soul Space by Xorin Balbes. His system is Assess, Release, Cleanse, Dream, Discover, Create, Elevate and Celebrate.

Financial independence. I used to be like an ostrich with its head in the sand. Now I am all over it! I have a 10 point Financial Blueprint: financial goals, audit, financial literacy, credit cards, budget, savings and investments, retirement, insurance, annual check and key documents.

Phew! That was a whistle stop tour through my book – and the talk I’m looking forward to giving at Mind and Its Potential in October. I look forward to seeing you there.


Jane Mathews is an advertising expert and author of Midlife Manifesto: A Toolkit to Plan the Rest of Your Life. She is presenting at Mind & Its Potential 2015. For more information and to register, please click here.

Visit The Wellness Show Expo 1-3 April 2016, Hordern Pavilion & Royal Hall of Industries, Sydney – a free showcase of the innovation and technology that are transforming the way we stay fit and healthy. For more information and to register for your free visitor pass click here.

This event will be co-located with The Digital Health Show which will also feature an expo as well as a major conference on the deployment of digital health technologies for administrators, clinicians and technology professionals in healthcare. For more information and to register for your free visitor pass to the expo click here. To register for the conference click here.


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