How to Start Over at 50+ and Reinvent Yourself

Life is a unique journey for all of us. And yet, we end up comparing ourselves to the journeys of others quite often. It’s only natural that we compare our progress and accomplishments to that of our peers — but sometimes it can just get overwhelming. When you feel like all your peers are better off than you, life can feel tiresome and frustrating. 

Now this goes for any age, but it is especially difficult if you are middle-aged or older. That’s because the more ‘successful’ people your age have accomplished a lot over the years. If you find yourself bankrupt and facing crises with your marriage and other relationships, it can be soul-crushing to look at your CEO friends happily married, with grandchildren and living in mansions.

But you have something that they don’t. 

A fresh start

Think of it this way: everyone wants to go back to the prime of their youth. We all reminisce about our twenties, when life was just beginning and brimming with opportunities.

Having to start over at 50 is the closest you’ll ever get to being 20 again.

Human beings rarely ever make changes in their lives when they’re comfortable. It’s difficult to fulfil your dreams of travelling the world when you’re tied down to a career you’ve built for 35 years. How can you leave everything that you worked so hard for? 

You don’t have to face that dilemma. You have no burden of success tying you down. You are, in every sense of the word, a free bird. 

In this article, we’re going to give you a few guidelines of how to make a plan and carve out the rest of your life. But before we do that: we’d like to congratulate you. The very fact that you’re reading this article means you haven’t given up. You’re stronger than so many others in your position. 

From Unfortunate to Fortunate

There could be many tragedies that have brought you to this point. Perhaps you spent the good part of your youth working odd jobs, and were never able to go up the career ladder. 

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Maybe you’ve just gone bankrupt because the business you spent years building has suddenly crashed. 

Or perhaps your marriage is ending, and you don’t know what to do with yourself from now on. 

Whatever your story is, it’s brought you to this point. Now that you’re at a crossroads, it’s important to recognize your destination. While the road might have been rocky, you’ve arrived at the perfect train station: where you can choose what to do from now on. 

If you focus on how unfortunate your circumstances are, you won’t be able to catch the next train to where you want to go. It’s important to recognize that you are fortunate to be able to be at the train station, when so many of your peers cannot. 

You Already Know What You Want

Most people spend decades trying to figure out what it is they really want to do, and what they are passionate about. More often than not, people jump into careers that will give them a lot of money without caring about how they feel doing it. The result of spending 40 years in a job that you hate? You end up a bitter, hateful, and dissatisfied person: no matter how much money you’ve made. 

An elderly man in his 70’s was asked what his biggest regret in life was. He said that he went to law school and then started working as an advocate. In his first year, he knew he didn’t want to be a lawyer, but the people around him said that to quit now would be to waste the four years he spent in law school. And so, the man wasted 40 years of his life as a lawyer instead of just four. 

Ask yourself this question: What did I want to be when I was a child?

Maybe the answer is something difficult to achieve, like an astronaut or a soldier. But by being in touch with your inner child, you’ll be able to reflect and understand what has brought you joy over the years. 

You don’t have 40 years that you can waste in a job that you hate. Now that you’re in your 50s, it’s time to be honest with yourself and pursue your passion. What’s at stake? You’ve already lost everything! How much worse can it get?

Work Towards Getting What You Want

Once you’ve figured out what it is that you want (travelling to the other side of the world, a career change, or creating your art) — it’s time to make it happen. 

Follow a systematic approach with getting what you want. Knowing what you want is half the job done. Now you just have to plan it out.

Make a tangible plan with a time frame. You can give yourself 6 months or a year to accomplish a long-term goal. 

  • If your goal is to travel the world, you’ll need to know what it is that you want to do there. If you want to go to Hawaii or Bali for example, you’ll have to save up money for a one-way ticket, but also figure out how you will sustain yourself over there. Understand your skills: you can become a certified yoga instructor to take classes, or teach pottery lessons. You can even start a small food shack on a beach. You know yourself best.
  • If your goal is to have a career change, then all you need to do is launch yourself into building that career. You might have to go back to school for it, or even start with an entry-level job among other interns and youngsters. Don’t let any embarrassment or shame deter you from getting what you want. You are not starting afresh. You have years of experience and maturity behind you, and that will always give you the edge over anyone with a blank slate.
    Give yourself credit for how you’ve spent your years so far, and advertise yourself. Even if it’s been years working in a completely different industry, you’ve acquired transferable skills and qualities. You might have amazing leadership and communication skills. You probably have an incredible work ethic that none of your 20 year old colleagues can compete with.
  • If your goal is to be an artist, you should get started right away with creating your art. Your art might be canvas and paint, or sculptures, pottery, or even music or writing. Whatever form your art takes, you are a creative soul and it’s about time that you start expressing yourself.
    The only thing that differentiates us from animals is that we have the power to create.
    It might be a while before your art can be monetized, so figure out a part-time job that you can pick up to sustain yourself. There are many opportunities for you to tap into, you could even babysit children from the neighborhood in your own home, since parents would be more at ease trusting you with their children compared to a teenager. You could also look at freelance writing, or starting a small home catering business.

The World is your Oyster

Once you’ve made a plan, all you need to do is to follow it. No one can help you out with this step, you just need to have faith in yourself and take the plunge. You can do it!