How to Create a Life of Meaning After Midlife

“Craig, you have a blank canvas. Paint whatever picture you want.” 

I was leaving prison and reentering the real world, a world filled with so many unknowns and overwhelming fear when I heard these words. 

They came from my mentor, Ed, as I expressed those unknowns and fears.

The words reframed my entire perspective; they helped me understand that with nothing to lose, I had nothing to lose. 

They were inspirational and aspirational, fueling me to continually expand my life. 

These words gave me the courage to begin life anew.

I’ve encouraged others to create their own “Blank Canvas.”

I shared the story of Ed saying those words with the author Kamal Ravikant. 

Kamal looked at me with a light-bulb moment glint in his eyes and said, “That’s the title of your book,” and that’s precisely what I titled it (thank you, Kamal).

I use the term “Blank Canvas” in my keynotes. 

I don’t believe in leaving a legacy; it’s not what fuels me, but “Blank Canvas” the book will live on long after I’m gone.

“Blank Canvas” has become an integral component of my identity.

It’s not an understatement to say Ed’s words changed my life.

On this journey of midlife reinvention and creating a life of mission, meaning, and fulfillment, the lessons have been seemingly countless, and one of them is this:

The importance of letting go of a belief, concept, or theory when it no longer serves me or is no longer an accurate representation of where I am today.

As beautiful and romantic an idea as it is, “Blank Canvas” isn’t right. 

By its very nature, a blank canvas needs brushstrokes and color to make it come alive. 

A blank canvas is the model of addition. 

When I left prison and reinvented myself from scratch, I added colors to the void, becoming a writer, speaker, coach, and consultant. 

More importantly, I am becoming a man who seeks meaning over money, experiences over things, and finds gratitude in the simplest of life pleasures, petting my cats, spooning with my wife, or watching a sunset from the beach.

Reinventing my life has been a journey of becoming and expansion, becoming the man who, every day, works on his life calling and purpose.

What I’ve come to realize is that those additions were only possible with subtractions. 

I had to let go of the fears, beliefs, concepts, theories, perceptions, and perspectives that stood in the way of becoming. 

Publishing “Blank Canvas,” or anything I write for that matter, standing on stage and sharing the story of my self-sabotage and the rock bottom of planning my suicide struck the edges I’d spent my life running from:

My authentic self. 

That’s what reinventing our extraordinary second half is about. 

To live how I want to live in my second half, I must embody the Michalengo quote, 

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

This, I believe, is a journey with no end.

Every piece of stone that falls to the floor creates a new opportunity and possibility.

It may be an opportunity out in the world that was always there, but our beliefs obscured it from our vision.

It may be an inner opportunity that allows us to understand ourselves more profoundly than we’ve ever experienced.

Whatever it may be, it’s a chipping away at what isn’t us to reveal our true selves. It’s from here you can,

“Paint whatever picture you want.”  

That’s what reinventing our second half is all about.  

📣 If you’re ready to stand in your power, and unleash your potential the Midlife Mastery Program is for you. Schedule your free call here.