Light a spark: navigating the mid-life malaise | Patricia Katz
How to set free your discontent, discomfort, anxiety, and uneasiness, as well as unleash your passion and revive the spark in your innermost heart.
At some point in mid life many people find themselves suffering from malaise [mə’leɪz] （彷徨不安、抑郁不快、萎靡不振、气血不畅、心神不宁、踌躇不定、壮态不佳）– an unfocused feeling of discontent, a vague [veɪɡ] uneasiness, a sense that there might be or must be something more. They feel restless, uninspired, stuck or stale [steɪl] – cruising on autopilot, going through the motions. Instead of resisting or ignoring this state, how do you embrace mid life malaise and use it as a jumping off point for exploring what comes next?
How do you elevate your everyday experience in ways that connect you to greater satisfaction, joy, and delight? How do you do this in ways that don’t scuttle[‘skʌtl] or destroy those things that may well be ‘right’ in your world? This talk will deliver practical strategies and real-life examples designed to light a spark and point the way. Spokesperson for a Better Way | Patricia Katz, of Optimus Consulting, is a noticer, an appreciative adventurer, and a spokesperson for a better way to a better world. She finds joy in helping people get a sense of how things could be and encouraging them to take those first steps in more positive directions.
Pat believes people should raise their sights and spirits as they encounter the doldrums of mid-to-late life. She wants others to understand that fresh challenges and new ventures continue to be important as we age, that coasting to the finish line is not your only option. Pat has inspired tens of thousands of people to accomplish what matters most that brings peace of mind. She is the bestselling author of six books, a certified human resource professional, and an inductee of the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame. Pat is also an accomplished watercolor artist, a wife of over 40 years, a mom of two grown daughters, and grandmother to two young boys.
1–So I thought we might start today with a little of time travel back to the turn of the century.
2–Can you remember where that was?
3–The year 2000, I don’t know what you were doing or where you were in.
4–but I know exactly where I was, smacked up midlife.
Smacked up：being tortured servely. （字面意思：被狠狠打击的；引申翻译：被生活摧残得快没人样的。）
5–No longer young, not quite old. Now, that’s a problem.
6–No younger (longer) young, not quite old.
7–Do you really know where you are in this whole business of life and and what comes next?
8–And I’m thinking about this, and… and I’m looking at this, and I’m wondering,
9–what is it that we might want to do at this point that would move things along and move them forward?
10–Now, I’m 50 years old.
11–At that point. I’ve been married for 25 years.
12–I’ve got kids who are spreading their wings and flying away.
13–I’ve got a business that’s humming along.
Hum along：Moving along well. Nicely progressing. Typically used to refer to machinery that is working at top form and perhaps even making a humming noise and thusly suggests efficient process. （对应中文语境：有声有色）
I’ve got a freshly minted master’s degree hanging on the wall.
Minted：To produce by stamping metal; coin. （用金属装裱的）
15–And you might think that I had all kinds of reasons to be celebratory [ˌselə’breɪtəri],
16–but in fact, I would say that at that time,
17–there were a lot of days for me that were somewhat gray and dull and colorless, [Quiet desperation]
18–not that black cloud of depression or deep anxiety hanging over my head,
19–but more like an annoying fog[fɒɡ] rolling in,
Fog：a confused or uncertain state, usually mentally or emotionally. （一种迷茫或不确定的状态）
Roll in：to arrive in great numbers or amounts. （席卷而来）
20–a fog that was coloring my vision, clouding my vision,
Cloud：make or become less clear or transparent. （使……蒙上雾霾）
21–and making it a little bit difficult to feel excited about the day.
22–And I-I was wondering where I would go with this, and what kinds of things might happen
23–as I tried to move forward through this this fog?
24–I didn’t really have word to describe it then, but I certainly do now, looking back.
25–And I would describe it as malaise, midlife malaise.
Malaise [mə’leɪz]：a general feeling of being ill or having no energy, or an uncomfortable feeling that something is wrong, especially with society, and that you cannot change the situation.（情结绪上的不安或身体上的不适）
26–Now, that sounds a little bit, I know, like the kind of thing that you might hear disgusting,
27–hush, hush tones on a late night infomercial[ˌɪnfəʊ’mɜːʃl 电视导购节目].
28–She’s got the malaise. No, I hope it’s not contagious [kən’teɪdʒəs].
Contagious[kən’teɪdʒəs]：likely to spread to and affect others. （导致扩散的、受到感染的）
29–And in fact, there is an element of contagion around that way.
Contagion[kən’teɪdʒən]：the communication of disease from one person or organism to another by close contact. （传染、传染病【旧】）
30– There’s a disease and uneasiness.
31–You’re not quite sure why you’re feeling uninspired.
Uninspired：(of a person) not filled with excitement. （缺乏动力、鼓舞或激情的；不振奋的、不激昂的、没干劲的）
32–And although life is good in that qualified kind of way, it does not exactly seem great.
Qualified：not complete or absolute positive; limited. i.e. If you describe something as a qualified success, you mean that it is only partly successful.（缺乏动力、鼓舞或激情的；不振奋的、不激昂的、没干劲的）
33–Now, I don’t know where you are in your journey from the cradle to the grave,
From the cradle to the grave：from the beginning until the end of life. （从生命的诞生到终结）
34–but somewhere along this midpoint,
35–you too will start asking yourself questions about how life is going,
36–and you’ll get some answers there that may or may not surprise you.
37–It’s not unusual for people to feel a bit of a dip in satisfaction
Dip：a part of something that is at a lower level or a movement to a lower level: （低点、低处）
38–and a dip in happiness at that point of midlife,
39–somewhere in their forties and in their fifties.
40–It’s not all related to the fact that we put on an extra 05:10, 15, 20 pounds. （同位语）
41–Or that gravity has gifted us with a few more sags and bags and wrinkles along the way.
Gravity：[‘ɡrævəti]：the force that attracts a body towards the centre of the earth, or towards any other physical body having mass. （引力、重力重量）
Sag[sæɡ]：to bend or sink lower. （下沉）
42–There’s other things that play.
43–And in particular, there is the force of unmet expectations [ˌʌn’met（未满足的）] ,
44–what we hoped life might be by now partnered with, on the other hand, the very heavy weight of our daily obligations,
Partner with：in association with. （ 与 … 同行； 与 … 结合）
45–and there we are, smacked up in the middle, trying to deal with this.
46–Now, these expectations didn’t just come out of thin air, really.
Come out of thin air：used to say that someone or something appears in a sudden and unexpected way. （突如其来）
47–We’ve been working on them for some time.
48–And if I take you back to your childhood,
49–I’m pretty sure every single one of you will… will remember being called to answer this question.
50–So what exactly do you want to be when you grow up?
51–I remember thinking taller, but that’s really not an acceptable kind of answer.
52–But we all come up with our own answers.
53–And as we move into our teens and into our twenties,
54–what happens is that we start to flesh this out.
Flesh sth out：to provide more information about something: to make something more complete by adding details. （充实，使有血有肉）
55–So by the time we launch into life,
Launch into：begin something energetically and enthusiastically. （抡起袖子干某事、热火朝天干某事）
56–we have these aspirations and ambitions that are in front of us.
57–And then a few decades later, we find ourselves looking at this and taking stock.
Take stock：make an overall assessment of a particular situation, typically before making a decision. （作出整体估量、全面分析）
58–And a few decades later, the question changes.
59–The question changes from this What do you want to be when you grow up too?
60–How do you want to be as you grow old?
61–Lots of different ways to answer that question as well.
62–And I’ve noticed how people deal with and struggle with this fog of malaise
63–and this question of how now and what next at that point in their lives.
64–And there are at least three different ways that people respond to this.
65–The 1st way looks like this, Resignation.
Resignation [ˌrezɪɡ’neɪʃn]：the acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable. （屈从、顺从、认命…服了）
66–Resignation waves that white flag of surrender, （作投降状）
67–whispers things in your ear, like, well, you’re 40, 50, 60, what do you expect?
68–That’s just the way things are, really.
69–So suck it up. Settled down, right?
Suck it up：accept something unpleasant or difficult. （忍着点; 不要再抱怨了；兜起来）
70–And maybe you know people who have been resigned,
71–if not physically, at least mentally, they’ve checked right out.
72–I ran into a fellow by the name of Charlie not too long ago
73–and asked him how things were going.
74–And Charlie, very pointedly looked at his watch,
75–he checked the date, and proceeded to tell me
Proceed[prə’siːdid] to do sth：to start or continue an action or process of doing sth. （接起来做某事）
76–that he was exactly five years, four months, three weeks and two days away from retirement.
77–Now, clearly, charlie is a flag bearing member of the resignation team.
78–And you know, we don’t know what’s going to happen with Charlie.
79–We know he has a plan.
80–His plan is actually to coast to the end and then drag himself across the finish line.
1、(of a person or vehicle) move easily without using power. act or make progress without making much effort. （毫不费力地向前进；随波逐流地行进）
2、sail along the coast, especially in order to carry cargo. （沿着海岸航行）
Drag：pass slowly and tediously. （缓慢行进）
81–And Charlie looked pretty miserable that day.
82–I’m pretty sure that he spread miserable everywhere he went.
83–So that’s one option. One option is really resignation.
84–The other option is detonation. Detonation runs around with a hand grenade going,
Detonation[ˌdetə’neɪʃn]：the act of explosing. （爆发、爆炸、引爆） grenade [ɡrə’neɪd]：（手榴弹；灭火弹）
85–pull the pin, pull the pin.
Pull the pin on the grenade（大头针、管脚：引爆火线）
Pull the pin：Put an end to something, quit or resign；to leave a job, especially by retiring. （离开、离职、停止工作）
86–Detonation says things like, see that grass over there, way greener than where you are.
87–Way greener. No dandelions, mows [məʊ] itself.
88–Come on, jump the fence. You know, you want to pull a pin.
89–And we see people who detonate things,
90–they blow up relationships at midlife, they blow up their careers, they do a total lifestyle makeover [‘meɪkəʊvə(r)].
Makeover [‘meɪkəʊvə(r)]：a complete transformation of the appearance of someone or something. （改头换面、彻地改变）
91–And this is not to say that sometimes this isn’t appropriate,
92–because sometimes there are good reasons to do that.
93–But the problem with this is that there’s often a lot of collateral damage,
Collateral damage：any death, injury, or other damage inflicted that is an incidental result of an activity.（连带伤害、附属伤害）
Origin：During a war, the unintentional deaths and injuries of people who are not soldiers, and damage that is caused to their homes, hospitals, schools, etc.
94–and we blow up the good things at the same time.
95–So back in 2000, I’m looking at this for me,
96–and I’m thinking, OK, resignation. Really no future in that.
97–Detonation? Hmm. Way too many good things in my life to even consider that.
98–So if not one of those two, then what if I’m not prepared to be giving up or getting out?
99–What is my other option? And the 3rd option, I think, is one of getting through.
100–The 3rd option relates to exploration.
Exploration [ˌeksplə’reɪʃn]：the action of exploring an unfamiliar area. （探索）
101–And exploring is a tricky kind of thing too, because exploring will not be hurried.
102–Exploring will not be rushed.
103–You can’t say, I’m going to have this figured out by two weeks from Tuesday and be good to go.
104–And if you are the kind of person, and maybe even from your earlier life,
105–who like to set a goal and go for it,
106–please know that at midlife,
107–there’s so many things in play here that it’s more like a mucking around in the swamp
Mucking around：to spend time doing things that are not useful, meaningful or serious, often so that you waste your time and fail to achieve anything. （做无用劲、徒劳）
Muck sb/sth about/around：to behave in a silly way, or to treat someone or something in a careless way. （胡乱触碰、把玩某物；耍弄、糊弄某人 ）
E.G.1：Stop mucking about with those ornaments, you’ll break something! （别乱碰那些摆设了，你会把它们打碎的！）
E.G.2：I’m fed up with them mucking me about and cancelling our arrangements. （他们耍弄我，取消了我们的安排——我受够了。）
108–or wandering around in the wilderness trying to find your way through.
109–Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t a process that can take you through this,
110–because there is, and it’s one that you’re all familiar with.
111–If you’ve ever ever lit a fire anywhere in your life, that’s really what we’re talking about.
112–We’re talking about trying to kindle a flame for what comes next in life.
Take someone through sth：to tell/show someone how (something) happens or is done by explaining the details of each step. （事无巨细地展现做事的详细步骤、方式方法）
Kindle：to cause something gradually to begin burning. （点燃）
113–And you need some fuel, you need to strike a match, and you need, of course, to fan the flames.
114–So how does this play out? =
115–When you’re trying to find some fuel, what you’re looking around for is kindling at midlife.
116–So what’s got potential? What’s got possibilities?
117–And the challenge with all of these things going on around us,
118–with the noise and commotion around us, is to tune into that inside voice,
Fan the flames：（扇风点火、添油加醋，类似表达：Add funel to the fire）
1、Make sth already light up burn strongly.
2、To do or say something to make an argument, problem, or bad situation worse; to further incense an already angry person or group of people.
Play out：develop or end in a particular way. （发展、促成）
Commotion [kə’məʊʃn]：a state of confused and noisy disturbance. （混沌和骚乱）
Tune into sth：（与某事相融合、协调并保持在一个频道）
1、To cause someone to be in a harmonious or responsive relationship with someone or something. （与某事相融合、协调并保持在一个频道）
2、To adjust a radio or television receiver to a given frequency or channel so as to receive a specified station, program, etc. （调频使达成一致）
119–an inside voice that speaks in very quiet whispers and nudges and tugs and, and twinges that’s often very difficult to hear.
Nudge[nʌdʒ]：a light touch or push. （轻推）； Tug[tʌɡ] ：a hard or sudden pull. （猛地一拉、倏地一扯）
Twinge[twɪndʒ]：a sudden, brief feeling of pain or an emotion. （剧痛、刺痛）
120–I’m not talking about trying to find your big, overarching super purpose capital P-U-R-P-O-S-E,
Overarching [ˌəʊvər’ɑːtʃɪŋ]：1、most important, because including or affecting all other areas. （至关重要的、首要的）2、comprehensive or all-embracing. （包罗万象的、影响一切的）
121–because if you’ve ever tried to do that, you’ll know that it’s hard.
122–It’s difficult, it feels really heavy, and especially if you’re not in particularly great shape.
123–While you’re looking at this, it’s even more difficult.
124–What I am talking about is tuning into that voice and looking for, what is it that you are curious about?
125–What is it that is intriguing to you?
Intriguing [ɪn’triːɡɪŋ]：very interesting because of being unusual or mysterious. （吸引人的、神秘有趣的）
126–What is it that might be calling you?
127–And in order to do this, you really need to engage in reflection.
Reflection：serious thought or consideration. （认真的思索、郑重的考量）
128–And you really need to engage in noticing, paying attention.
129–Now, back when I was looking at this for myself, around the year 2000,
130–I started to look at, what were some of the highlights in my life?
131–What are some of the low lights?
132–What are some of the themes（主干）, the threads（分支）?
133–Along the way, I started looking at what lifted my energy,
134–what drained my energy away, just sucked it right out of me.
135–And I started looking around for what I was missing.
136–And what I gathered by way of few was this that I was really missing novelty and variety.
Novelty：state or quality of being novel, new, or unique; （新奇的、独特的）
137–I was also missing the whole experience of creative expression in some new and unfamiliar way,
138–and the learning that goes with that.
139–I don’t know what you’ll find when you’ll look, but it could be all over the place.
140–Just gather up whatever seems to show some potential, a promise for you.
141–And and when you have something that is really appealing to you,
142–you’ll know that it’s time to strike a match.
143–For me, when I looked at the whole business of creative expression,
144–I could see a whole thread of bread comes along the way.
Thread of bread：something that provides you with energy, nutrition, power and intelligence. （面包丝，能够提供人身体和心灵滋养的东西）
145–I-I used to love, as a kid, doing paint-by-numbers.
Paint by numbers：a simple way of painting a picture by filling in a printed drawing that has numbered sections for the different colours of paint. （数字画，按数字标明填色区域的绘画）
Painting is often used as a healing therapy and has many positive health advantages but what if you have never tried painting? With Painting By Numbers, you don’t need to be a talented artist to reap the benefits of this craft.
146–I loved learning how to sew.
147–I love doing arts and crafts. I loved doing flower arranging. （插花）
148–I loved learning how to spin with my grandmother’s spinning wheel (纺车，旧时的简易纺纱机，有一大轮，用脚操纵)
149–and dye yarn and weave[wiːv] and do landscape gardening（景观园艺）, all those kinds of things around me.
150–And so I thought, with that
151–kind of background in history, clearly I must have some kind of interest in design or the arts,
152–and certainly something with color.
153–And so when I stumbled across an ad for a painting class, never having taken an art class in my life,
Stumble across：to discover something by chance, or to meet someone by chance. （无意中撞见）
154–I struck a match. I wrote a check, I went for it.
155–At the end of that five day water color workshop （五天的水彩颜料研习班）, I had a new set of supplies.
156–I had an inkling of how difficult this was going to be,
Inkling [‘ɪŋklɪŋ]：a slight knowledge or suspicion; a hint. （浅见、朦胧的认知，它的对应词：expertise，较有深度的专业认知）
157–and I had a set of really, really, really bad paintings.
158–But I was hooked, that fire lit, that fire caught, and I wanted to find out more.
Be hooked：strongly attracted to something or someone: （被钩住；深深地迷恋住）
159–Now, I don’t know if your fire will… will strike and light 1st time out,
160–or if you make a fire and it will fizzle, you make a fire and it’ll fizzle.
Fizzle [‘fɪzl]：a feeble hissing or spluttering sound. （嘶嘶声）
161–How that’s going to work for you?
162–But keep at it. And as soon as something catches fire, what you want to do is to fan the flames.
163–You want to move some oxygen that way.
164–You want to move some fuel, some energy, some resources that way.
165–Now, no, without a doubt that at a point at which you start to do that,
166–the voices, the chorus[‘kɔːrəs：合唱队；歌舞队；副歌部分] will arise,
167–maybe in the back of your head, maybe out loud, maybe the committee on your shoulder.
A group of players on a team who share a particular role in the team’s play instead of having an individual player principally assigned to that role. （操作成员、组委会）
168–It’s going to say things like, you suck at this.
169–Really. You’re never going to be any good at this.
170–You’re a busy already. What do you think you’re trying to do?
171–Trying to make time for this?
172–And this is gonna cost you money.
173–You don’t have money for doing anything like this.
174–And whatever you do, don’t give in to those voices.
175–Don’t give in. No! experience tells me this.
176–But research also tells me this.
177–Some of you maybe have heard of the research by Bonnie Ware,
178–who was a palliative care nurse in Australia.
Palliative[‘pæliətɪv]：(of a medicine or medical care) relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the condition. 和缓治疗／临终关怀
179–And she asked people at the end of their lives what they had regrets about.
180–This was number one regret I wished I’d had the courage to live a life that was true to myself
181–and not the life that others expected of me.
182–That expectation sets those voices over here.
Set sth over：To place or rest something above or on top of something else. （盖过其它）
183–Don’t pay attention to them. Let them go.
184–Let them find someone else to bother about this.
185–Go ahead and find the flames of whatever it is that has potential for you and move it forward.
186–Sometimes you have to let other things go too.
点评：strike the match, fan the flame, add fuel and letting go of the inessential [ˌɪnɪ’senʃl] .
187–When I started to get more involved in painting, I had to let go some of my volunteering activities,
188–and I stopped doing as much gardening,
189–and I turned my writing corner at home in my office into a, a painting studio.
190–And then I started taking things like my paints and my sketch books with me everywhere I went.
191–on business trips and on family trips as well.
192–And I started looking around, going, OK, who’s worked to I admire?
193–Who could I study with?
194–And I ended up going to workshops wherever I could find them.
195–Went from the Cossels in England to Sedona, arizona, to Bend oregon, Toronto, ontario,
196–studying with people signed on to do a, a two week trip to Europe
197–to paint, painting straight for two weeks straight.
198–Awesome. Excited, energizing. And at this point, painting started to elbow for more room in my life,
Elbow：to shove aside by pushing with or as if with the elbow. （用肘推开；用肘挤着前进，elbow one’s way up：跻身到上流阶层）
199–so I started to look for ways to build it into the business,
200–and I started giving some of my paintings away as as thank you gifts to clients.
201–I started including my images and the newsletters that I was writing every week.
202–I started showing my work in different places.
203–I started to set up a website to sell that work online.
204–And then I really screwed up my courage
205–and collected a number of sketches that I had done around town here
206–and put together this book, sketches of Saskatoon.（加拿大 萨斯卡通市）
1、To combine two or more people or things into a pair, group, mixture, etc. or to create by joining or gathering parts together.
2、To build or assemble something; or to figure out an idea, plan, etc.
3、To consider, contemplate or sort out multiple things in order to arrive at some conclusion or deduction.
207–That was a big reach. That was a big stretch for me.
208–And what surprised me the most was how well received that was.
209–So that was what fanning the flames looked like for me.
210–I don’t know what it will look like for you, but I do know this that in that road,
211–a long road of exploration, that there are things that you will learn.
212–I learned, for instance, that when you can increase your excitement and enthusiasm in one arena of your life,
213–that it’s likely it will spill over and increase your contentment in other areas as well.
Spill over：to reach or influence a larger area; spread. （溢出、扩散）
214–I learned that if your tank is full, if you’re excited about what’s going on in your world,
One’s tank is full：someone who has abundant resources, energy, knowledge, etc in supply, full of energy. （腹有诗书、胸有成竹）
215–that what will happen is you’ll be way more supportive of the interests and pursuits of other people around you.
216–And I also learned that as soon as you step out on that path of exploration,
217–you really have no idea what kinds of doors are going to open along the way.
218–I had no idea when I signed on for that five day painting workshop so many years ago that,
219–that path would lead me here to be on the stage with you talking to you about midlife ballets.
220–The other thing I know about this is that I am not alone in this, and neither are you.
221–If you end up facing this in your world, in your life,
222–there are many, many people who are trying to find their own way through, E.G.
223–we have Dave, who is dealing with some of the doldrums of midlife in a career in public service,
Doldrums [‘dɒldrəmz]：a state or period of stagnation or depression. （忧郁；消沉）
224–who reached outside to pursue his
225–interests in food and technology.
226–He created a website where he answers people’s food and cooking questions.
227–That website has now had over 3 million visitors,
228–and the revenue from that ads website pays for his technology toys.
229–We have Jane, who is experiencing some midlife malays, in part because of the loss of someone
230–who was very close to her.
231–And she reached back to remember when she’d been a child on the farm, as a twelve year old girl,
232–and how excited she was to find a stone tool in the field.
233–That caused her to step forward and join the local Archaeological Society.
234–And she has now been on field trips to many places that she never ever would have been or seen before.Field trips：a trip made by students or research workers to study something at first hand. （实地考察）
235–And that spark of adventure reminded her that life indeed could well, be good again.
236–And then we have Joe, kind of like Charlie, coasting to the end, retirement in sight,
In sight：near at hand; close to being achieved or realized. （近在眼前，在即，在望）
237–until one of the leaders in his organization stepped away from a team that he had been in charge of for some time.
238–Joe had always been interested in this particular team,
239–and so he had an opportunity now to step forward
240–and to put some ideas forward as to where that might go in the future.
241–Joe tells me that he has gone from putting in time to now being concerned that he will not have enough time to put in
Find the fuel：找到内心的源动力及促动激情燃烧的源料。
Strike the match：鼓起勇气去挑战自己感兴趣但没找到适合机会介入的事情，
Fan the flames：介入之后想方法融入适应，调整后自己的状态和角度持续学习。
242–So the good news in all of this, the good news for you and everyone else around us,
243–is that it doesn’t matter what age or page or stage of life you happen to be on,
244–there are always more things that you could do try and be
245–And no two that if Malaise has not yet knocked on your door, it’s coming,
246–and when it comes, don’t resist it.
247–Don’t ignore it. Welcome it into your life,
248–and let it be a catalyst that helps you light a spark for what comes next for you.
249–Thank you very much.