Suddenly, you're forty and feeling it. You're tired and crabby and bored, and to top it all off, your jeans are too tight.
It happens to most of us sometime. One moment life is sweet, work is going well, relationship and kids are fine, the next minute you feel middle-aged and disappointed.
This is not exclusive to people in couples, or with kids, but getting bored with your life can have big consequences for other people as well as for you when you're part of a family group.
Nothing is wrong exactly, life just feels dull. You feel dull, and you can't figure out what happened to that rich, promising life you thought you were having.
Okay, so you need to spend some time with yourself, but what do you actually do? It's not just a matter of being too busy. It's about losing touch with what you enjoy, with what you want from life. It's about treating your life as a car, then finding you've let other people do the driving.
Getting back behind your own wheel doesn't mean being careless about the needs of others. It means being careful on your own behalf, and taking some responsibility for yourself.
You might start out by doing some research. What did you used to dream of doing? What happened to those ideas? Your dreams could be about anything, they might be about a job you want, or a hobby you enjoy, or a skill you want to learn. They might be about the kind of person you want to be.
If you're feeling dull and bored it may be a struggle to come up with ideas. So ask for help. Your partner, your kids, your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends, they are all rich resources for you.
Ask your resource people what they think you get fired up about. Don't worry if you don't feel excited about those things now. Just listen to the stories and remember what it felt like to have plans and interests and enthusiasms.
Ask people you know about what they do. What are they involved in? What interests them about it? It's not that you need to copy someone else. It's that all the ideas and stories about how people put meaning in their lives will help you to figure out what's important to you.
Sometimes what happens is you find a new enjoyment of the things you already have in your life. Sometimes you develop new plans for yourself, sometimes you go back to dreams that got interrupted by all the bustle of your family life. You might also develop new dreams with your partner.
If you're bored with your life, you are probably feeling bored with yourself. So give yourself a little time and attention to help rediscover where you find your enjoyment and satisfaction. The more you enjoy yourself, the more you can enjoy your partner, your family, and all that's on offer around you.