Second Act At 50: How To Make The Most Of Your Midlife Reinvention

For far too long, society has only paired the word midlife with the word crisis. 

With only worries of a midlife crisis, an AARP magazine randomly in the mailbox, and the knowing flush of an incoming menopausal hot flash, turning 50 felt like a more brutal blow than is required to extinguish all those candles. 

Now, a societal shift as powerful as an earthquake opens a new horizon far from the sunset of life. 

Transforming and reinventing your life after 50 is possible, powerful, and seemingly predestined. 

What Does It Mean to Reinvent Yourself?

Reinventing yourself can take different meanings for each person. It’s not starting over as much as starting from a new point in life with different goals, values, and dreams than you had in your early 20s. 

With the influx of self-awareness, finding voices, and shutting down stereotypes, 2023 almost begs the question, “What can I do with my life at 50?”

Look at how much has changed in the past 50 years.

The movie The Exorcist was released in 1973 and has been “reinvented” five times in five decades. The MRI was invented in 1973, and look how far that medical technology has come. 

Reinventing yourself doesn’t mean the original version wasn’t good enough. Reinventing yourself is only possible because of the life you’ve lived.

You create the life that serves you now.

Why Is 50 a Good Age to Reinvent Yourself?

Having goals in life is part of what makes the journey worth it. Very few goals are going to span the average 79-year-old life.

woman biking during the day how to reinvent yourself at 50

50 is a great pivot point for several reasons. 

  1. You’ve done the work. By 50, most people have achieved the promotions or accolades they want in the workforce. They are looking for quality of life over a competitive edge. 
  2. You’ve had the family. There comes a time when your kids don’t need you as much, or they move away from home. The sting of this empty space also offers more time to focus on yourself. 
  3. You’ve learned lessons. The knowledge you’ve gained from a life well-lived propels you to greater reinvention progress. You have boundaries, a seat at the table, and assets to help you along the way. 
  4. You’ve accepted limitations. By the time we hit 50, things like arthritis, heart issues, and exertion limits have set in. We’re more aware of what a healthy lifestyle really means. 

Important Considerations Before You Reinvent Your Life

Not everyone can Eat. Pray. Love. their way into a reinvention of themselves.

We are older and wiser when we get to this point and should consider several things before switching gears.

  • Don’t Be Impulsive: Social media can make reinvention seem so easy and happy. Don’t make rash decisions or go overboard with your changes.
  • Don’t Use It as a Crutch: If you don’t self-love, you’ll have difficulty finding happiness on any newly chosen path. Do the work on yourself first. 
  • Don’t Swing for the Fences: It’s okay if your reinvention means something as simple as breaking your people-pleasing habits.
  • Don’t Ruin Something You Love: It might sound like baking your famous PTA cookies is a great game plan for a cyber store, but only you can judge if you’ll eventually loathe the smell of baked goods. 
  • Do Have a Plan: Set goals or make a business plan using all those great life skills you’ve accumulated.

How to Reinvent Your Life at 50: 11 Ideas for a New You

Now let’s look at ways to turn your “dream” into a “do.” Too much romanticizing can leave us daydreaming and not getting to the next life step. 

1. Learn new skills.

You blinked, and now the Metaverse is here, and Chat GPT is growing at lightning speed. You don’t know VR from AI, and it’s overwhelming. Explore these spaces you aren’t familiar with, so you can adapt your reinvention to the world around you. 

Websites like LinkedIn offer free webinars and certifications in a variety of experiences, from being a more diverse and inclusive leader to learning how to pitch a product.

Join your kids for a video game session or take a class at a community college on a topic you know nothing about. 

2. Live an authentic life.

One of the biggest regrets dying people have expressed is that they didn’t live a life true to themselves and were too wrapped up in making other people happy.

Your journey to reinvention could even include volunteering at a nursing home where you’ll hear first-hand accounts of regrets. Vow not to make those same mistakes.

Reinvention can be a transition from surviving to living. This can be taking long walks with your mobile device or finally taking that road trip to the Colorado mountains. Take the scenic route. Stop and smell the roses. Live with tenacity. 

3. Heal your wounds.

As we age, we carry all sorts of grudges, disappointments, and scars with us. The ongoing weight can lead to more health issues and create a somber senior citizen life ahead.

Another dying regret is “worrying too much.” Reimagine your life without the emotional baggage you’re carrying around. 

Whether you work with a yoga instructor to free your mind or a counselor to heal your heart, you’ll wish you hadn’t waited until you were 50. 

4. Be intentional with your time and energy.

You spent too many years on someone else’s timeline. You ran the Girl Scout Cookie drive or always had to bring the doughnuts to the monthly employee meeting. Now it’s time to focus on helping causes that matter to you. 

When you spin the helping spirit from a chore into a genuine act of charity, you’ll feel better and meet more people with similar interests in this phase of life. 

5. Seek mentors and inspiration.

Find your midlife muse and stop just short of stalking them. Seriously, find the people who have done what you’re trying to do and ask them questions.

Look at social influences or other people who reinvented themselves and get safe advice to plot your own path. 

group of senior friends drinking at the beach how to reinvent yourself at 50

At the same time, look at the skills you’ve acquired and share those with others. It took you years to find the voice you have. Now use it. You might even want to have a conversation with yourself, reintroducing the “new you” to the original version. 

6. Craft a long-term plan.

You don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire even when you know it’s time for a change. Don’t just plan for what you want to do now, but for where you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years.

You don’t want to risk blowing the nest egg on a business venture if you aren’t sure there’s a solid ROI. 

Have a backup plan or various paths to avoid an “it’s this or I go back to my boring job” mentality.

7. Get support from loved ones.

You’ll be more successful when you have the support of those around you, but you’ve also built some pretty firm habits and expectations from those around you. 

Talk with your loved ones, colleagues, and employer about your intentions. You’ll likely be breaking some toxic habits along the way, like saying “No” to the doughnut run or always being the go-to PTA parent. 

8. Let go of what doesn’t serve you.

It won’t be easy to tell your boss that you’re “only” going to work 40 hours a week when you’ve habitually worked 60. You could feel a sting of guilt when you pass the Thin Mint baton to the new mom in the Girl Scout group. 

Part of reaching for something new means letting go of the things that no longer serve you or have a place in your life. 

Let go of self-doubt and think back to all the times you’ve doubted yourself before and risen to every single challenge.

9. Try different things.

A reimagined life can be like a box of chocolates with different flavors to experience. Try selling your famous cookies during the fall craft show cycle. If it burns you out, it’s over in a few months, and you’ve learned lessons. 

Get onto TikTok and be yourself with humor, hobbies, or helpful advice. If it doesn’t work out? So what? You aren’t committed to anything when you’re sampling. 

10. Focus on what you want.

Once you’ve whittled down the aspects of your life you want to improve, focus on the goals based on nothing else but how well you know yourself. Focus on the times of day you’re most productive. Know when you’re most vulnerable to questioning yourself. 

A beautiful aspect of reinvention is that you control the timeline. If you thrive by working long days, then give yourself a four-day workweek. Most of all, focus on what you want.

Don’t reinvent yourself just to be focused on someone else’s expectations of you. 

11. Learn to fail forward.

Truman Capote eloquently wrote, “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” A more practical quote comes from inventor Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

You are no longer bound to those quarter-life expectations you once held so dear. Fumble. Fall. Trip. Get back up and keep going.

Even Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame was about to go broke before he took the time to perfect his “Secret Recipe,” and he was 65 at the time! 

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Too much of our personality and lifestyle is built around childhood experiences and key moments built on generational expectations. We get lost along the way and too far from our True North.

woman holding a cup smiling how to reinvent yourself at 50

Now, more than at any other time in history, we can let go of many limitations we never realized. Natasha Bedingfield once crooned, “I’m only one voice in a million, and you ain’t taking that from me.”

Use the power you have to elevate your life experience and stop focusing on “who, what, when, where,” and dive into “why.” 

  • Because You Matter: You had a one in 400 trillion chance of being born as you are, and your rare presence on this earth show be shared wholeheartedly. 
  • Because It’s Time: You spent too much time worrying about other people, a task you handled proudly. It’s okay for it to be “all about you” now that you’ve tackled 50 years of milestones.
  • Because There’s Not Enough Time: At 50, we start to face our own mortality as our bodies weaken and we lose more loved ones. Depression and grief can rot us, and reinvention is a great way to pay tribute to those who didn’t have enough time to follow suit. 

Final Thoughts

Transforming your life at 50 shouldn’t be treated as a destination but a journey. Stop to celebrate the victories and be present in the amazing moments you are crafting for yourself.

Your new milestones will push you out of your comfort zone and thus deserve all the more praise. 

Did you hit a midlife crisis while you are in your 50s? Read this post and learn some tips on how to reinvent yourself at 50.