Reinventing yourself after 50 seems daunting. We like milestones and a “big”birthday can get us thinking about our lives. We may want to explore wildly new areas of our existence. Age 50 can be a scary time in life and career.
Changes we desire may be about the people we surround ourselves with on a daily basis. Maybe it’s our primary relationships or friendships with others, but other humans have a strong impact on us. Throughout our lives people come and go. As we get older, staying social can be key to being happy. Even for introverts, we need an existing network of contacts and people with whom to share the good and the bad.
Some of the people we’ve lost contact with make us sad for the drifting apart. A good friend for 30 years who no longer calls us back can create a hole in our heart. Although others who are gone were emotional vampires who feed on drama, and maybe their departure is a blessing (goodbye and good riddens).
It could be work that has you perplexed and searching to reinvent yourself after 50. Turning 50 makes us examine our skills and a long time job that is no longer challenging can become a prison, of sorts. But noticing we are the “older workers” can be shocking. It seemed to me I was part of the “young crowd” for all my life and then one day I was “seasoned”. I think when the millennial generation turns 50 they will not be ready as they will have spent decades being told they were too young and without warning they will be older.
Getting older just means we have stored up valuable information and opportunities, and we have to embrace our expertise. But if your self-worth has taken a hit it can make this time difficult. Remembering failure may feel like you are only inches from the ground. But the truth is you have climbed way up that ladder. The experiences you have had are translatable to another job if that is what you desire.
Mindset. The best tool at your disposal for reinventing yourself after 50 is mindset. If you believe you can start over at 50 you can. If you think your stuck or that life has passed you by, that is true too. I ask people who I work with if they think there is a 20 year old who could start today and be wildly successful by age 35 or 40. Everyone says yes, as we have seen countless examples of people starting with nothing and reaching amazing levels in 15 to 20 years. Well the same is true if you are 50. (for more on “mindset” read Carol Dweck‘s book, MINDSET)
Networking. Building a network is another important step. It does take time to build connections and establish long-term and mutually beneficial relationships, but it will happen if you put in an effort. Do not think that social media is the answer. You cannot build the types of bonds that lead to business or life opportunities via likes, links, shares, or follows. Meeting new people is not easy, but you can do it. It is also a good idea to re-spark friendships with dormant ties or people with whom you have lost touch (but avoid going back to those that bring you down).
Try New Things. If you want different experiences and results in this later part of your life, you have to break the old routines. This is true in your personal life as well as your job or field. Reinventing yourself over 50 takes a commitment of exploration. I declared upon crossing the five-o that I would “Make age 50 to 75 the best years of my life”. This meant saying yes to things that I may have avoided in the past. New experiences (in career and life) open you up to discovering new skills.
Exercise and Diet If you want to engage in this life with gusto as you get older, you have to stay healthy (or get healthy). I took up running at age 50 and lost thirty pounds. I still do not love running, but it is something I can do anywhere and squeezing in a 30 to 60 minutes pounding the pavement is usually doable 3 days a week. I also had to cut way back on unhealthy snacks. I have a big sweet tooth, but am learning to make better choices on what fuel goes into my body.
Meditation or Prayer. I am not saying you have to be religious, but having some type of a practice to get centered and in-touch with your version of a higher power is very important in our crazy-busy world. Plus, reinventing yourself after 50 can feel very lonely. Even your significant other is not on your same path, so you need some time to connect with yourself and the universe. I suck at meditation as I can never quiet my mind. So I mix it with my own version of prayer. I only take five or ten minutes a day, but it is key.
Action. Nike says “Just Do It”. They are right. I spent too many years waiting for some outside force or other person to help solve my problems. It was like Waiting For Godot. What I was seeking never came. Getting out and doing the things necessary to change is the only way to change. But it is not easy. Old habits and conditioning die hard. So what? Do something that moves you forward. If you get lost or stumble, then start again with new actions.
If you are serious about reinventing yourself after 50, get some help. Hire a coach or create a mastermind group of others who want the same thing. I believe you can reinvent yourself after 50 if you really want to (I believe I can, too. I am a different person than I was five years ago. And I like to think I have gotten better as a husband, father, friend, and human).
Thom Singer is a professional keynote speaker and master of ceremonies / EmCee. He is the host of two podcasts and the author of 12 books. Thom is available for coaching for a very small number of people who are interested in working with him as they go on the journey of reinvention after 50.