How to start over at 50?
In this modern era of the 21st century, you can experience a midlife crisis in more than one way. It can be a feeling of detachment to something or fear to venture out at a later stage of life. It can also be an anxiety about the financial downfall. All these can haunt those, who are past 50 years of age.
This transition of self-confidence, motivation, satisfaction, and identity at the age of 50 is indeed a challenge but not the end of life.
Are you finding yourself trapped at this age and you want to start over? Well, you can certainly do it.
Look beyond the past and hold on to that thought of vibrancy and delight. You are at the stage where you have most of the life experiences and knowledge. These will come in handy during this amazing roller coaster ride of starting over.
“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
– Paulo Coelho
Start over can be new beginnings in any form such as:
- Starting over in a relationship due to divorce or death of a spouse.
- Starting over in a career with little to no money due to retirement, loss of a job, or dissatisfaction in the career.
- Starting over in personal health due to health conditions or to get fit.
- Starting over in a spiritual sense for awakening.
If you don’t decide to reinvent yourself now, your life is already over. Don’t know how to do it? The following guiding principles will help you to start over in any field at the age of 50 years.
Age is just a number
Believe the fact that age just represents how much you have lived and nothing more than that. It does not indicate any limitation or boundary to do a particular thing. It is never too late to follow your dream and work hard towards it. For some, it is a necessity to start over and for others, it is pure awakening.
You know, Julia Child started her career very late. She was 50 when she hosted her first TV show “The French Chef”. Nelson Mandela became his country’s president at the age of 74. It is sheer enthusiasm and spirit of not accepting the life as it is, that made them successful after starting over at a later stage of life.
Do not submerge, but emerge to look into the future
You are better off when you emerge out of the situation and not crying your heart out with head under the pillow. Do not allow your mind to pile up the thoughts of negativity and submerge into that. Clear your mind, think through the problem. Meditation and spiritual practice will help you gain insight into the process of starting fresh.
We are sure it is difficult but worth trying out to begin from scratch rather than to become a scrap eventually. Harland Sanders was out of business and found himself broke at the age of 65. But then, he did not give up and rebounded to sell his first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1952 and became its brand ambassador.
Be ready, accept the change and Be the change
No matter how harsh the situation is, you need to accept it, learn from it, and move on. The only thing constant in life is CHANGE. It is up to you to get through the change. Dare to change and there are opportunities out there waiting for you. Change your attitude that you cannot do it. Let your scars be your stars.
List out positive things that this change will bring into your life. Are these things worth accepting the change? If yes, these things become your motivation to get your life back.
There would have been no “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” if it weren’t Ellen who accepted the change and tried a new career from being an oyster shucker to a comedian.
Bring back your Curiosity and Passion
Start with a clear mind and power up the passion. Curiosity leads to many questions and the answers to it will lead you to your ultimate goal. Connect the dots between your passion and life goals. Do not be afraid to fuel your soul with lots of confidence. And the only way to do it through is by being passionate.
Show your intense emotion or desire to gather positivity from around. Let the world know you are ready to take over your life. Bring back your willingness to agonize to win life again. Focus your energy on the most critical activity and do not divert your attention to the sorrows and all past things.
Do not settle for less. Know you are capable of more. Vera Wang, the famous bridal fashion designer, was a talented figure skater and a fashion editor. But she did not settle for any less than her capability. At the age of 40, she got married and decided to open her first bridal boutique the following year.
Reparenting your inner child
Give yourself all those things that you were not able to receive as a child. This act is called reparenting. Nurture your inner child and bring out the best you deserve. This is the time for you to do something best with all your experiences, knowledge, and the developed awareness within you over the years. It takes a lot of commitment, time, and patience, definitely not a cakewalk. Be the new you, the one you always wanted to be but could not.
Take a deep breath, allow yourself to take small steps at a time. Reparenting becomes easier when you tell someone you trust. Tell them you are taking a step further and starting over at this stage of 50 plus years. Reward yourself at every step, celebrate life.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the famous book “Little House on the Prairie”, had a disturbed childhood. Her family had a hard time surviving in the frontier west. She started her career as a teacher at a very early age of 16, giving up all her passion and desires.
She later admitted that it was something she never enjoyed. She also tried her hands-on farming, taking a job at a Farm Loan association to give loans to farmers and also writing articles for a local farm journal.
By way of reparenting her inner child, she started writing novels and at the age of 65, her first book was published in 1932, enchanting children and adults both.
Make your life balance sheet
I am not talking about your financial balance sheet. Find out what are your assets and liabilities, that is your capabilities and limitations. When you start over at midlife, the very first concern is health. You may not be able to do certain things due to your mental and physical condition; these are considered as your limitations. Jot down all those points.
Maybe you have a good business sense, or maybe you are good at analyzing stocks, it is more likely to get success in these fields. Maybe you have a flair for painting or sketching. You can start over your life in articulating your passion.
In short, know your capabilities and dive into testing your waters. You can do it; it is your life, make it worth.
Determine your life goal
Set the life goals that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These goals can be personal, financial, health, or career. Whatever the goals are, it should be able to help you leap forward.
Answer to the question “Why and what is it that I want?”. There is no better time than at this stage of life where you have the past 50 years of your life and you want to own it. This is the time when you have to shift your motivation and objective to find a better significant life.
Be a mentor. Take on all your real-life experiences, what you learned from it, and how you could have done better. You are not alone in this ride; there are so many people who are fighting alone in this life awakening process of starting over.
Start taking up things financially
Hang on to the hope that you can start over at midlife because there is absolutely nothing else to hold on to. It is heartbreaking to start over with nothing on hand. But believe us, you have hit the rock bottom. The only way to come up is to do it.
There is no question as can I do this. Just because there is nothing which you can’t do when you put your mind and soul into it. Get a job, cut out your expenses, and live a simple life.
Look on to your financial position, how much do you owe and how much do you have. If you have any surplus, use that to get your career goals accomplished.
Karen was in the travel industry. But she always wanted to start her own business. At the age of 55, she used all her savings to start a cleaning company which helps the clients to find the best cleaners. Now she is the proud owner of the domestic cleaning company called “Clean Home”.
Joy Behar, the co-host of The View, was a high school teacher and later a receptionist at GMA, where she was fired. She was left with neither a penny in hand nor any job prospects. She didn’t know what to do, and she ends up trying as a stand-up comedian at a midlife age.
Find your buddies/helping hand
Do not isolate yourself. Many people want to start over at mid-age for the same reasons as yours or something else. Find people who are in the same boat with similar feelings, beliefs, and attitudes.
Make new friends. Talk to them, try to find out solutions together. Stay in touch with family and friends. Do not hesitate in asking for help. Nobody is perfect and accept the fact that everybody needs help in one or the other phase of life.
It could be as simple as your spouse. The husband-wife team of Tim Zagat and Nina Zagat gave up their career in legal and went on to produce their first restaurant guides. They were there in their late 40s when they started an eponymous company, which is now a part of Google.
Stay focused and determined
“Tough times never last, but tough people do!”
– Robert H. Schuller
Tough time is never forever, it will change. Be tough and stay focused on whatever you do. Be determined no matter what, you are going to pursue your dream. There is no right time than the present. If you are not able to do it now, you will never be able to do it.
Just imagine the state of Harland Sanders whose recipe of fried chicken was rejected for more than 1000 times. But he remained determined and never gave up.
Finally, after being rejected by different restaurants for over 1000 times, a restaurant agreed to use his recipe, and voila, today he is the classic brand ambassador of KFC, one of the yummiest fried chicken chains in the world.
Make experiments your best friend
Do not be afraid of experiments and their failures. You will not know what works until you try and do experiments. Manage your failures or problems positively. Take charge of your issues and gain control over it.
Experiments can be in two ways- keep on experimenting with various aspects of a particular area or keep on changing fields, try and test what suits you the best. Whatever be it, every attempt towards your goal will bring you one step closer. Don’t consider them to be your foes, they are your friends teaching you the tough way.
If Donald Fisher would have given up after experimenting in different entrepreneurial ventures, he and his wife Doris Fisher would not have founded Gap Inc. Today, it has about 3,200 company-operated stores and about 600 franchise stores plus e-commerce sites.
Find your source of motivation
It is difficult to start over and you need the motivation to do it. Find out your desire and how much time and effort are you willing to put in. What is the reason behind your act of starting over? This will serve as your motivation. Every obstacle comes with an opportunity.
Read success stories, get inspiration from other people who have sailed in the same boat, and got success. Know you are not perfect, accept your failure, and move on. Lift yourself from depression to eagerness.
To keep herself active and out of any depression, Anna Mary Moses started painting as her hobby at the age of 77. From charging $5 for a painting, she became so famous that the prices rose high to $10,000 by the time of her death at the age of 101. She is famously known as Grandma Moses.
Patience is the keyword
“God’s delays are not God’s denials”
It takes a lot of effort and time to reach a goal. It cannot be done overnight. Focus on the journey and not the destination. Give yourself a chance and wait till you achieve the desired result.
You have done all the effort, now it is the time to wait and watch and bring the constant motivation within you.
Ernestine Shepherd was 56 when she took inspiration from her sister and started working out. It took a lot of patience to build a sculpted body and compete in various bodybuilding competitions. In 2010, she was declared as the oldest competitive female body builder in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. She is the perfect example of patience.
Get ready to jump-start your second act of journey. Take one decision at a time. You should rather taste the essence of a new journey than to wallow in the misery. You have the chance to rebuild your life in the way you have always wanted.
Transitions are always hard, but you will be left astounded by what the future has in store for you. Starting over at 50 will be the best thing you will ever do. Love yourself, meditate, and listen to your heart. Free your soul from the cage of sorrow, take one step at a time and you will come out with flying colors.
Just remember one thing, AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. Age is not an excuse when you have a dream to chase. The key is to trust yourself and bring constant motivation within you.
You might feel like it is the end, but it is the new beginning. This time, you are not starting from zero, you are starting with a wealth of knowledge and exposure.