Being over 50 years can be the beginning of a new chapter in your life — a time of growth and a period of regeneration. Middle age may be upon you but you have the experience of ‘life’ that goes with it!
The post 50s chapter brings not only experience but also greater understanding and appreciation. This is a time when reality kicks in and the dreams you had when younger become just visions. Having now faced the hard realities of life and the work required to make and maintain relationships, you will probably have discarded many of the assumptions and illusions of youth.
Now, you are more perceptive and astute. You know what works and what doesn’t. You draw upon your experiences of people and situations and the necessity to be financially prudent — all these factors having equipped you to make decisions by utilising the facility of learnt perspectives.
Outside interests may now become more focused and will tend to be the catalyst to explore a newfound reservoir of energy. Furthermore, interests that formerly appeared too difficult or onerous, now seem accessible and ripe for exploration.
Having moved on from the often damaging self-criticism of your 20s to the self-appreciation and self-respect of the 50s, there is now a measurable satisfaction in focusing upon yourself and your aspirations for the years to come. You now feel able to relax into who you really are and able to enjoy easier relationships and the ability to stand outside of yourself.
In other words, you are now comfortable in your own skin for the first time in your life. You no longer feel the same pressure to conform or to satisfy the demands of someone else.
Your 50s should be a time of new growth and freedom. A time for you to blossom and experiment with new ideas and develop a greater appreciation of the natural world around you. You may well want to go back to college or take a second degree, or maybe you would like to work for yourself and open a new business, not because you have to, but because you want to.
However, as with every age group, there are challenges for the over 50s some of which will be unique to this period of your life.
The Empty Nest
This is a period when your children will usually have gone to college or have started work — which means that you will have to readjust to a quieter household comprising just yourself and your spouse.
There will, of course, be challenges and here is a just a sample of some that you may face during your 50s:
Personal medical problems may start to become an issue.
Ageing parents: once independent individuals, they may now need your support.
Grandchildren may be demanding of you as grandparents.
Retiring early — You thought you would retire at 65 but circumstances — economic or otherwise — may decree differently.
Bereavement: unexpectedly, you may be left alone, leaving you to manage financial affairs for the first time.
Learning new skills: Being computer literate is no longer an option.
These are just some of the new challenges that one who is 50 plus may have to face and manage during life’s ‘second-half’, that will need strength of character not to let the world push you around. Your mindset will determine how successful you are during what should be an exciting period of maturity.
Going forward into an exciting new chapter
This may be a period when you have the joy of grandchildren. A time when you can really appreciate the wonders of nature: a time when you can travel to Africa, Europe or America. A time when you can sit back and reflect on the past and the learning that has come from them. A time of great potential opportunity and personal growth.
So grab each and every moment; value every hour for what it can bring to you and ‘carpe diem’ — seize the day, for this period of discovery will not come again.
The writer is CEO of an international stress management consultancy and the author of ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’.
The next 50 years could well be the most exciting and fruitful.
At 50+ you can start to reap the benefits of your investments.
Now is often the time when you are really comfortable with who you are.