For at least half a year before I actually turned 50 I thought of myself as fifty! When someone asked my age, I was like a kid about to get a driver’s permit. “Almost fifty!” I’d proclaim, even though I still had a good half a year left of being in my forties! Truthfully, I was enjoying my life again for the first time in a while.
My kids were old enough to not need my constant attention and I had time to pursue things that I’d put on the back burner for years. I’m not alone in these newfound freedoms and desires.
Women who are turning 50 in my generation aren’t lying about their age, and many of them aren’t coloring their hair either. Many are embracing the grey and their status as the Goddess they are!
My 50th birthday just passed a month ago and I have to say hitting the big five-oh was not nearly as painful as 30 and 40! Thirty was a bit shocking for me mentally. At forty I questioned what age midlife begins. At 50 I thought, who cares!
Maybe you’re like me, around 50, and embracing life like never before, or perhaps you’re wondering if you’ll have enough time to do all the things on your lists.
Ditch these words the word should, as my therapist always says, stop “shoulding on yourself and others!” Women in their fifties tend to become the fullest version of themselves, partly because priorities change. Children may be grown, in college or at least leading their own separate lives. Although some women may be hoping for a late-in-life motherhood experience, while many others are wrapping up those years.
Areas of Reinvention to Explore
Baby Boomers began to look for new roles as a direct result of improved life span. They didn’t want to just sail off into the sunset of retirement but instead chose to actively take on new roles, whatever they may be. We Gen-Xers can take a page from their playbook!
We’re living longer and we want to stay relevant, remain active, and be productive members of society! This article is with that in mind. Take stock of where you are, where you want to be, and explore the possibilities and opportunities before you.
Midlife is also the perfect time to focus on wellness. That comes in many forms:
- Sleep Hygiene
- Eating Healthily
- Getting Adequate Exercise
- Mental Health
Here are some other areas of reinvention to consider…
- Does the style of clothing you wear serve your body shape, skin tone, and hair color?
- Is it time to make a change?
- Which of your features do you feel like really stand out?
- How can you enhance your best features?
- Take time to explore new looks and play with colors and patterns outside of your comfort zone!
Have you ever heard of an encore career? An encore career refers to beginning a new vocation at a later age, typically after regular retirement from a prior career, however it could refer to the job you take on even after being a stay at home mom for several decades.
- Is it time for a new career?
- Would you benefit from hiring a career coach?
- What new path could you explore if you’re not interested in a career change?
- Are there any new job offers on Linkedin that pique your interest?
- Have you always wanted to launch a new business or a nonprofit?
Free Time and Hobbies
Back in high school, I was on staff for our yearbook. I loved writing and photography and I still do! However, recently I’ve tried to breathe new life into these hobbies by challenging myself to explore writing outside of blogging. Instead, I’ve been taking a class on writing historical fiction. I’ll probably never publish a novel, but it has been a fun and exciting challenge.
How about you? Have you always wanted to become an artist, singer, get your Master’s Degree?
- What did you do with your free time before social media came on the scene?
- Would you love to pick up an old hobby again?
- Do you have a bucket list?
- What can you mark off your list of things that you’ve wanted to get to “someday” but haven’t yet accomplished?
- What would you do today if nothing else mattered (time, job, money, responsibilities) and how can you incorporate that into your life going forward?
The first thing I wanted to address was baggage. Humans tend to carry a lot of baggage around! Emotional and physical baggage can really weigh you down.
Don’t waste time on relationships that only drag you down. Negative people, those who only call you when they need to vent about something, or those who want to ask you for a favor can be put on “do not disturb” mode! I’m not talking about those two-way friendships where each of you knows you can always vent to the other.
It’s the ones where you are always only ever a sounding board for them to vent their frustrations. If you feel the other person is too opinionated or always angry, it might be time to let that relationship go. At all ages, toxic relationships do not serve us. Release them!
I know it can be hard to let those relationships go, but after a few weeks, you’ll find you have time for new opportunities and new friendships. You may find yourself feeling lighter and happier because your mental well-being is improving. You don’t realize how much someone else’s negativity is affecting you until you take a break from it.
Focus on relationships where each of you takes time to challenge, inspire, motivate, and uplift one another. Those are the relationships worth nurturing.
- Are your relationships building you up or dragging you down?
- Have you ever considered mentoring younger women?
- If you did mentor others, what would that look like?
- What are you an expert at that others would love to know more about?
- Would you appreciate being mentored by an older woman? If so, find her and ask!
If you don’t have your finances in order by age 50, you’re not alone. Some say a good goal is to get as close as possible to having 6 times your income set aside by age 50. Are you there? Perhaps it is time to get serious about some financial strategies that will serve you in the upcoming decades. If you’ve got everything in order, give yourself a high five and scroll to the next section! Otherwise, here are some questions to think about.
- If you have a financial adviser, meet with them to come up with some workable strategies.
- How could you eliminate some debt?
- Can you diversify your income streams?
- Is it time to drop or reduce your life insurance policy?
- What kind of side-hustle could you explore?
- Is there any way you could improve your budget?
- Can you practice living on less?
- Have you ever thought about downsizing? (It can be freeing to let go of “stuff” and live a minimalist lifestyle!)
Habits to Make or Break
- Take some time to think about the habits in your life, good and bad.
- Are there some habits you’ve always wanted to break?
- Which habits have you been planning to make but never had time to?
- How do you want to feel over the next decade?
- Are there things you feel would benefit you if only you had the time?
- How could you find more time to do those things?
Make it a goal to explore some podcasts on the topic of the habits you want to instill in your life. Come up with a plan to break those bad habits once and for all. How will you go about it? Consider journaling your thoughts and feelings to work through them and stay on track.
What are some time wasters in your life right now? In 10 years will you regret spending time doing those things or will you be glad you invested time in something that makes a difference?
If you’re planning to live to 100 you’ve just begun the second half of your life.
Write out a deep dive about what you want your life to look like, everything, dream big. Consider this a journaling experiment. Take some time to imagine what you want your life to look like and write it down.
What are your goals and ambitions for reinventing yourself? Are you hoping to add a new skill or certification to your resume? Are you hoping for a physical reinvention? Do you want to tone up or slim down? Perhaps your idea is to pack up and go somewhere new and start all over again?
Take some time to think about how you will rise to the challenge of reinventing yourself. Follow some 50+ bloggers if you are looking for style inspiration. There are plenty of 50+ influencers on social media and on YouTube. I know, I follow many of them.
- Thriving at 50+: The 7 Principles to Reinvent and Rebrand Yourself – This book is geared to mid-lifers who are looking ahead to the next phase. It’s a primer for those seeking another job or career; a how-to for starting a business or a new way of life.
- Comeback Careers: Rethink, Refresh, Reinvent Your Success–At 40, 50, and Beyond – Those interested in a career change or getting back into your field after years of being a stay-at-home mom will find that career reinvention is possible! Dozens of interviews for research compiled into strategies that will help you rewrite your narrative! (and it’s a New York Times bestseller!)
- How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations – “In a poignant book that defies categorization, Freedman finds insights by exploring purpose and generativity, digging into the drive for longevity and the perils of age segregation, and talking to social innovators across the globe bringing the generations together for mutual benefit. He finds wisdom in stories from young and old, featuring ordinary people and icons like jazz great Clark Terry and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”
- This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism – “In our youth-obsessed culture, we’re bombarded by media images and messages about the despairs and declines of our later years. Beauty and pharmaceutical companies work overtime to convince people to purchase products that will retain their youthful appearance and vitality. Wrinkles are embarrassing. Gray hair should be colored and bald heads covered with implants. Older minds and bodies are too frail to keep up with the pace of the modern working world, and elders should just step aside for the new generation. Whether you’re older or hoping to get there, this book will shake you by the shoulders, cheer you up, make you mad, and change the way you see the rest of your life. Age pride!”
- Midlife Mixtape Podcast – For the years between being hip and breaking one!
- Midlife-a-Go-Go – Midlife-A-Go-Go knows that this chapter in a woman’s life can be filled with more than the dreaded crisis. There will be candid discussions on menopause, relationships, fitness, living life on your own terms, sex and more.
- Women in the Middle: Loving Life After 50 – Women in the Middle is a podcast for women in their 50s who don’t want to let life pass them by. Learn from someone who knows what it’s like to be stuck in a midlife funk and want to change but not know what to do.
There’s no reason why you can’t reinvent yourself at 50 or any age, however, ask yourself, why you’d want to reinvent yourself? What is causing you to feel the need to go in a new direction? If you just want a change or if you’re unhappy with the life you’ve built for yourself, it might help to find a therapist to help you get to the bottom of your dissatisfaction with life.
Take some time to write your memoir if that sounds appealing to you. Either way, think about the highlights of your life thus far. What do you want the future to look like? Appreciate the life that you’ve lived so far and live intentionally going forward. By that, I mean, do what matters instead of what is urgent. Don’t waste too many days putting out fires that pop up and steal your time.
Happiness is in the small things, so think about what are the little things that make you happy? The answer will be different for everyone, but hopefully, you’ll be able to discover some of the things that bring you joy and focus on them. Put emphasis on the parts of your life that you do love and try to magnify them.
Know your self-worth. Take stock of your many skills and talents, because, at this age, the list is sure to be long! Every morning when you wake up, remember you are worthy of the best life has to offer, then go for it!
More inspiration for 50-something women in this Ted Talk