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Redefine Yourself at Midlife

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

<em>Edit Article</em> Redefine Yourself at Midlife
I turn 49 in a few months. I heard that’s my personal jubilee year. What is that, exactly?Rabbi Rami: Leviticus chapter 25 says that every 49 years, all property is returned to its original owners, all debts are canceled, all slaves are freed, and all farmland lays fallow. Apply this to your personal life: For 49 years you’ve struggled to be the person others said you should be. For 49 years you’ve done your best to be your best as your family, peer group, and society defined “best.” All that ends on your 49th birthday. Take this year to decide for yourself who you want to be. It won’t be easy, and it should be done carefully and with compassion for those who may not want to see you change. Seek guidance from a well-trained spiritual director to help you clarify your vision, and share your vision with those affected by it. Then, at 50, begin to make that vision your reality.My mother has Alzheimer’s. She’s well cared for, and when I visit she’s friendly and we talk, but she doesn’t know I’m her daughter. I’m just “the nice girl who comes to visit.” I need my mom, and she isn’t that anymore. It hurts so …

An award-winning author, poet, and storyteller, Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s latest book is Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent.

Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art: Shattering the Illusion of Control and Falling into Grace with Twelve-Step Spirituality.

He has this to say about religion: “To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence.”

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