We live in a society that worships the young. Movie stars, TV shows, magazine covers – they all celebrate youth. This infatuation might appear harmless, but unfortunately it sends an unspoken message to the rest of us that once you hit a certain age, there’s nothing left for you to be put out pasture.
But let’s be real: while a young and unblemished face might drive advertising dollars, the rest of us still have some serious living left. Even as we reach 50 and beyond, there’s no reason to think the best years of our lives are over. History is full of people who accomplished just as much in their later years as they did when they were younger.
But sometimes this requires shaking things up a bit. It calls for a little reinvention. That can be hard – but it can be so worth it. Maybe you’re struggling with the monotony of life. Maybe you’re realizing you still haven’t accomplished all those things you set out to do years ago. For whatever reason, you’ve hit 50 and are hoping to change. But how can you do that? Here are some guidelines on how to reinvent yourself after 50.
Let Go Of Your Fear
The first thing to remember is that reinvention is a scary idea, and that’s okay! You are literally thinking about abandoning your comfort zone – where you’ve most likely spent decades – and trying something brand new. You are leaving an area where you have found success and striking out for parts unknown, with the future undecided and success (or failure) anything but guaranteed. Of course you’re afraid.
But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s natural to be afraid of the new and unknown. But fear can also be a good thing. It sharpens us, gives us a focus and allows us to rise to new challenges. Without these challenges, how can we ever hope to grow?
So, when you are faced with that fear, recognize it for what it is: an opportunity that you will absolutely regret not taking if you don’t take that leap of faith.
10 Ways To Reinvent Yourself After 50
So, if you’re going to go through this process, how should you do it? It’s not easy building a new you from the ground up, but here are some tips we think will help you on your way:
1. Begin With a Vision
Reinvention begins with a vision, a plan, an idea for what you want to happen next. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t have a goal in mind. So, before anything else, ask yourself what you are hoping to achieve. Like the saying says, “Begin with the end in mind.”
2. Realize You Have More Time Than You Know
One of the biggest excuses people of all ages make for not doing something new is that they don’t have enough time. For those of us over 50, that might seem truer than ever before, but it isn’t. You still have years and year, if not decades, left to perfect the new you. One thing is true, though: the longer you wait, the less time you’ll have when you finally do decide to start.
3. Use Your Experience
One of the great things about starting a brand new chapter in your life is that you have all of those previous chapters already written. Rather than ignore those past experiences, use it to help you as you start something new. Remember what pushed you before, what worked and what didn’t. Don’t reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to.
4. Never Stop Learning
Reinventing yourself – in whatever shape that takes – means learning. And there’s so much out there to learn: New skills, a new career, new languages. For some, reinventing might not even mean a new job, but maybe going back to school and becoming a student all over again. However you do it, learning should be a life-long process that never stops.
5. Rely on Friends and Family
This is going to be difficult at times, so you’re going to need a network of support, and who better than to help you than those that know you the best? Your friends and family should be there to encourage you and push you. They should be your sounding board for new ideas, and they should be your ears when you need to complain or vent.
6. Understand That You Are Not Alone
Reinventing yourself is such a drastic move that it might seem like you are the only one. However, rest assured that many of us reach a milestone like 50 and realize that we are ready to make a change. You are not alone in your journey, and the wisdom of those who have gone before you should be sought and cherished.
7. Remember Your Past
As much as you want to achieve your successes on your own terms, it helps to have people on your side. Over the years, you’ve built up a network of contacts. There’s a good chance that you haven’t reached out to many of them in a while, but that’s okay. What better time to reconnect than now?
8. Don’t Wait for Opportunity – Make Opportunity
One of the biggest mistakes people make in any stage of their life – not just now – is that they spend much of their time sitting around, waiting for something to happen. They wait for the phone to ring or a text to arrive. They wait for the right moment or opportunity to arrive. And many of those people are still sitting there, waiting.
Don’t wait around – make your opportunities happen. You have a lot of tools at your disposal; use them to make things happen. Don’t wait for it, cause it.
9. Don’t Ignore Your Body
When reinventing the rest of your life, don’t forget the one thing that you’re going to take with you no matter where you go: your body. This is the perfect time to reinvent that, as well. Start going to the gym, change your diet and make time to be active.
10. Remember That Reinvention Is Only the Beginning
Above all, remember that this reinvention is a never-ending process.. It’s never truly over. Every day we make the decision to continue, or to go back to how things were. Keep moving forward.
Don’t Forget These 7 Important Things
1. Visit a Periodontist
You might be reinventing yourself, but you still have the same teeth, and those teeth are probably starting to see some wear and tear after 50 years. As you get older, the chances of oral health concerns rise, and this can have more drastic effects on your body than ever before.
2. Stop Drinking; Start Lifting
We said it before, but it’s important enough to say again: take care of your body. This means exercise regularly, watch what you eat and put down the alcohol. Sad to say, but our bodies just can’t handle excessive living like they could when we were in our 20s. At 50, your body is more likely to turn alcohol into fat, which in turns leads to a whole other host of health problems.
3. Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer
Another health concern comes from the other end. It’s a fact: the more you age, the more likely you are to develop certain conditions, including colorectal cancer. This cancer is one of the leading causes of death for older men and women, but it’s actually very treatable when detected early. Get screened; it just might save your life.
4. Secure Your Finances
The same rules apply now like they did then: make a budget. Save. Don’t spend to excess. As you work on your reinvention, your finances might take a hit. Planning ahead ius the best way to avoid a financial problem down the road.
5. Practice Safe Sex
We like to think that sex after 50 means we doin’t have to worry about pregnancies and other problems. However, the truth is that just because your older the chances of a pregnancy or an STD are still not zero. Just like when you were younger, be safe.
6. Know Your Physical Limits
Even if you are physically fit and taking care of yourself, the truth is that you are no longer 25 and able to go all day. Even if you have a healthy exercise regimen, keep it age-appropriate and don’t overdo it. Hurting or straining something is still painful, and take a lot longer to recover from.
7. Take Care of Your Skin
You’ve hit 50: your skin is going to show it. While lines and wrinkles should be considered a badge of honor, that doesn’t mean we want more of them! Use moisturizer, sunscreen and a skin cleanser to help protect your skin now and well into the future.
Turning 50 doesn’t mean your life is over. In fact, it should be just the opposite. You’ve got the experience needed to take the next step, and you’ve got the tools at your disposal to make it happen. You’ve made it this far, so now it’s time to see what you can make of the next 50 years.