Women over 50 are changing themselves along with the world. Retirement is not even on their radar, and they are not going to stay home, go to book club, play bridge and watch the world go by as their mothers did at this age. That will come much later. Now, they are reinventing themselves for something better and taking on life with a new spirit and tenacity that is making them more visible, giving them new confidence and bringing excitement into what was once a dull life-stage for women their age.
But how do they do it? How do women over 50 reclaim their “identity” after the empty nest? What does it take for a midlife woman to take a big leap of faith to leave a career she has had for years in order to do something she really loves to do?
As I experienced my own do-over, a woman’s reinvention brought on by her own “midlife crisis” can be summed up in three phases:
I’m done. A woman in her 50′s realizes that she has been focusing on others for so long, saying yes to everything out of obligation, while carrying unfulfilled dreams deep in her soul. She must say “I’m done!” then give herself permission to focus on herself for a change. Forgiveness and overcoming guilt are also important parts of this step.
Now what? Once she is truly “done” with looking at the past, it is time for her to reconnect with her passions, to discover her new life purpose, and to set some goals for herself that will make her stretch. It is time for her to empower herself with a plan for an extraordinary future as she looks forward to the next few decades. For this woman over 50, the possibilities are endless, and she embraces change with enthusiasm.
Kick butt! With her newfound “Joie de vivre” the woman over 50 is taking on the world with a fierce determination that she will not be considered old, that she will look and feel her very best, and that the best years are yet to come. She has a renewed energy as she “kicks butt” wearing stilettos instead of house slippers, choosing networking luncheons over afternoon bridge club. She is creating a life for herself doing the things she loves to do, allowing herself to be creative about her future. This fearless midlife woman takes care of her own needs, instead of being on the bottom of her to-do list, knowing that she will be a much better person in every area if she is continuing to focus on self-care and explore the possibilities for her own personal development.
Yes, even a woman can experience a midlife crisis stage, often brought on by a deep realization that her life is half over and now it is time to focus on what is truly important. Her needs are not satisfied by purchasing material things, but instead are rooted in a deep desire to do something meaningful with her life, to leave a legacy that reaches beyond her children, and to reach the end of her life not saying “I just wish I had…”
If you are over 50 and longing to live with more passion and purpose, here are a few steps to get you started on your own reinvention. Think of the possibilities for your newfound freedom if you have just retired and are looking for something meaningful to fill your life.
—Make a list of the things you are passionate about, the things that “light your fire.”
—Make a list of your gifts and skills. Ask others to help you if you get stuck.
—Make another list of the things you DON’T want to do any more.
—Picture yourself at 90 years old, telling your great-grandchildren about your life. What are you most proud of in the last 40 years? What do you want to be remembered for?
—Write a life purpose statement for yourself, including what you want to do (see the first two points above) and who you want to impact
—Make a list of goals that will stretch you and make you grow
—Surround yourself with cheerleaders who will support you along the way
—Celebrate your newfound enthusiasm and go for it!
If you need a little extra encouragement or help with strategizing, please contact me at [email protected].
Susan Tolles is an expert in midlife reinventions who inspires and equips women around the world to flourish inside and out. Tolles’ website, FlourishOver50.com is viewed by thousands of women globally each month and provides resources to make the second half of their lives their best. Tolles’ Powerful Me and individual coaching programs help women flourish from the inside out for more meaningful, magnificent lives. www.FlourishOver50.com www.MyPowerfulMe.com