Dear style & substance,

I am floundering and feel that I am not making sense of my life. I have a gap of having kids and enjoying that but let my career and my body slide while doing so. They are almost grown and I feel that I have forfeited my life and financial stability and it’s too late. Do you have some insight in resetting or restarting?

We all can lose sight of certain life goals while being distracted by others. What is right in front of us can put blinders on the inevitable future.

You recognize your predicament now. It is never too late to restart or reset, but it must be done with intention, balance, energy and focus. In your case you were very present in raising your kids and not recognizing that this would come to an end. For others, the fear of no future plans had them multi-tasking both jobs and child rearing, and maybe not fully enjoying either. If you have an idea of what you would like to do, start small. Create stepping-stones that make sense in ultimately meeting the goal of a new career. If you are unsure of your next step, we encourage you to develop an action plan: make a list of what you like to do, take some career assessments either on line or at your local career center, and then see where alignment occurs.

In refocusing, take a little inventory of your passions, your distractions and your obligations. They may or may not have recently changed and it is important to know the loopholes in your project. We cannot shirk our regular responsibilities in the pursuit of new, but may be able to minimize, alter or re-assign them. Are they vital or do we just think they are necessary? Be curious in this list you have created as it will round out your plan, then do a little work on these ingredients that design a lasting success.


Set the overall intention that you want to include in all you do; be enthusiastic, be inspiring, be levelheaded, be patient, be kind to yourself. This intention should support the life you are trying to create. Whatever you do each day in pursuit of career, measure this intention and redirect or correct that daily path. Feeling emotionally sound and maintaining integrity are key.


Goals can also be broken into the what, the why and the how. The ‘what’ is the career and financial piece, the ‘why’ is fulfillment, good health and a strong family and the ‘how’ is through growth, exploration and flexibility. Being single minded worked for you in the child rearing portion of your life; however now you are seeking to expand your own emotional, intellectual, and physical well being. Nurture these pieces so there are no shortfalls.


Energy naturally comes to us when we have a clear view and move in a positive direction without overwhelming ourselves or comparing ourselves to others. Acknowledging regrets and forgiving yourself clears the way in moving from scarcity to abundance. You are no longer an ALL or NOTHING being; work toward energy that is sustainable and steady. Be gentle in your continued re-orienting.


Shift your focus away from what is not to what can be. When we focus on problems, more occur, when we focus on possibilities, more opportunities arise. Belief clears the way and allows focus to flourish. Knowing that you will get your career on track is a healthy belief but not knowing the time frame or the exact outcome makes you more flexible and the journey more enjoyable.

‘Ikigai’ is a philosophy of having purpose, being of use and living a life of meaning. You have thus far lived this way as you nurtured your family life, this same energy and spirit can now be invested in your next chapter.

Sally Meisenheimer and Michele Armani are the owners of style & substance, which provides life coaching and creative solutions. Meisenheimer and Armani are certified life coaches, with many years of experience in health education, workforce development and teaching. Combined, they have been married more than 60 years and raised seven children. Email questions and comments to

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