How to Reinvent Yourself at 50

OK, they say that age is just a number but that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain ages where we start to feel our age more. And any number with a zero at the end – especially when it coincides with the half century – tends to give us pause for thought.

Sometimes that thinking leads to the idea that maybe we should try to reinvent ourselves. Other people might call that a mid-life crisis but let’s not dwell on that thought.

Whilst we can probably rule out some ideas – reliving lost youth, that kind of thing – there are quite a few things us not-yet-oldies can do to reinvent areas of our lives so that we’re getting closer to our vision of an ideal “me”. After all, we’ve had enough time to find out what works and what doesn’t work so it’s time to put those thoughts into practice and live out the rest of what’s hopefully a long and happy life being as true to our real self as possible.

Accept that you’re not as young as you used to be

Let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll pass for a teenager or be seriously asked for ID (unless that’s for a seniors discount) so accepting that fact is a good start.

Sure, you can still listen to the music you listened to as a youngster. That’s acceptable nowadays and you may even gain some street cred. Concerts held by older groups often have a very varied mix of age ranges in the audience – I’ve been to ones where I was by no means the oldest in the crowd but equally there was a good share of people who were a lot younger than me. If you’re a people-watcher that alone can be a good place to be.

But equally you’re not likely to survive too well in the heart of the mosh pit (although I could be wrong about that – I was in my early 50’s when I was last doing that)

Acceptance is good – it doesn’t mean you can’t change things but it means you’re no longer beating yourself up (as much) for things you can’t change.

And some things get better as we get older – youngsters don’t have it all their own way!

Decide on one thing to change at a time

Bucket lists have their place but we’re not very good as a species at multitasking. That’s especially so if you’re male (our hunter days meant that we had to focus if we wanted to eat) but applies to both sexes. Try talking to someone when they’re engrossed in their phone and you’ll soon prove this.

Prioritise what you want to change – making a list is often a good start but chances are you know what’s going to be on that list already. Probably the same things that have been on your New Year’s resolution list for at least the last decade.

Then pick on one item – just one – that you want to change. Probably starting with a smaller, less provocative, item first especially if you’ve had less success than you’d have liked in previous years. I’ve gone into some of the reasons for doing this in more depth here but in a nutshell it’s because you’re more likely to complete a smaller item in real time and that will then give you the “I can actually do this” attitude incentive to move on to the larger items.

Keep learning

Learning isn’t just for younger people.

Books are readily available at incredibly low prices (especially if you choose one that’s been in print for a year or two) and have lots of information in them. They’re usually better researched than internet posts like this one, although beware of Kindle-only books as they have a nasty habit of being thrown together.

Pick a subject you like or one you’d like to know more about, check the reviews and then click the “buy” button on the one that jumps out most at you. Again, make it one book at a time rather than a shopping list of them. Because you know full well that you’re more likely to read it from start to finish rather than put in a book marker and never go back.

Learning new things helps you stay young – it keeps your mind active and gives it new things to think about. There are lots of mind boggling things happening all the time – absolute zero is no longer the lowest temperature available; we can photograph objects in our solar system that are 43 times further away than the sun and that we didn’t even know existed when the probe was launched. That’s just recent stuff in science but similar things are around in near enough every field.

Keep your mind open and it will reward you, even if it’s just extra things you’ll never actually understand.

And if you want more help reinventing yourself, try listening to this subliminal messages track. It will help your mind get to grips with lots of thoughts, not just the “I’m getting older” ones.