As I’m working with women over 50 who are looking to redefine in some way, I’m often met with a version of the question, “Am I too old to _____.” It typically is phrased something like, “I’m _____ (insert age here). Do you think this would be a good time for me to _____?” Which is essentially saying, “Am I too old to ____?”
The answer is NO.
But the one thing that we are too old to do after 50 is to spend our days reacting to the requests, demands, needs, etc. of all of the people and roles in our lives every day all day. We are too old to idly surf social media or putter around without joy or purpose, and before we know it the day is gone.
We are too old after 50 to end each day looking back on the past 24 hours and wondering where they went. Day after day.
When you know you want to do something for you, but you just aren’t sure what it might be:
Find a quiet place, set your timer for 30-45 minutes, pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea or coffee and write. Reflect on the following:
What You’ve Done Up Until Now for Your Career and in Your Life
Then, reflect on what you loved about it and what you didn’t love as much. This can help you figure out what your priorities are as you move forward on your journey.
I am a mom as well as a behavior analyst working with kiddos on the autism spectrum. What I loved about my job was:
- working with the kids and their families;
- the flexibility it offered me, which allowed me the ability to truly put my family first;
- the writing aspect. I was the person in the company who crafted and edited the emails, helped write brochure copy, and I never minded writing treatment plans.
What I haven’t liked about it lately is that, because of the arthritis in my neck, the job has become more difficult to do, and this has robbed me of some of the joy that I used to get from it.
Reflecting on all of this led me to my decision to take my counseling and behavior analytic skills as well as my love for writing and start a blog to help women like myself move forward with a productive and joyful life on the “right side of 50.”
What Your Ideal Day and Week Might Look Like
Dream and write all of the things down! Don’t let your brain censor you! Free writing about your ideal day/week will give you some clues as to what your next steps might be. And remember… you are NOT too old!
Schedule Your Time Proactively Rather Than Reactively
This can be very difficult for those of us who are used to putting everyone else’s needs before our own. Start with blocking out an hour each day devoted solely to spending time on your redefinition. Treat this time as you would any important appointment. Put it on your calendar and plan around it.
Put your phone in another room and close all tabs on your computer except for the ones that have to do with your project. Set a timer for one hour and put your head down and do the work. This can be anything from researching next steps, taking the course you need to take, starting your exercise program, finding other people who share a similar vision, and the list goes on.
You will be amazed at what you can get accomplished in an hour when you decide not to react to what everyone else needs. And you’ll still be there the majority of the day to attend to the various other roles in your life.
But when you look back on the day, you will know that you did something to move you towards your vision.
Take a Good Look at Your Morning Routine
Our morning routine sets the tone for our entire day. This is where the keystone habits happen – those seemingly small habits that have a domino effect on how we feel and how we spend our time throughout our entire day.
Getting up when the alarm goes off and not hitting snooze, journaling, meditating, making the bed, exercising, etc. are all examples of keystone habits. These can mean the difference between getting up and floating through the day or getting up and having a clear path of how the day is going to go.
This does not mean that we have to “be productive” or “be successful” or make millions of dollars each day. But we have to look back on our day and know that we spent part of it doing something that brought us joy and passion. We have to look back on most of our days and not wonder “where they went.”
Are you trying to figure out what you’d like to do moving forward? Do you find yourself at the end of the day wondering where the hours went? What keystone habits to you engage in each and every day?