A recent conversation with someone in their early 60s got me thinking about this series on starting fresh. They cautioned me about counseling people in their age range to "re-invent". I got the impression he felt that ship had sailed, or at least that life was much more challenging than I could understand from my under 50 perspective. This person made me wonder if idea of my encouraging re-launching was doomed in failure.
Then I had coffee with a woman who was of the same generation as the other person. She was clear that it was time to re-invent. She had a track-record of starting over and had never been shy in situations that were difficult. She was one of the first women engineering students at Columbia University in the 1970s and has lead an interesting and fulfilling life having worked in several industries. She was confident that you can choose your own path at any age.
When it comes to a re-launch I am reminded of the words of Henry Ford:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”When I look at my own father, who lived to be 99 years old, I often think his happiest days were in the last 3rd of his life. Granted he did not re-invent a career at this point, as he retired at age 65, but he did have to restart his life after being widowed at age 70. He stayed very active, made new friends, traveled, and continued to follow the stock market and politics will into his twilight years. Had he wanted to work in a new vocation I believe he could have done that, too. I know many people in their later years who work (by choice) that are still productive and excited to contribute.
As I approach the big 5-0 I am confident that the best years of my life are in front of me. There is no reason my career and personal life cannot be more fun and highly rewarding. Using my dad as a marker, I might only be half way to the end of my journey. Even if I only have twenty or thirty years, that is still a long time, and I refuse to live my life coasting along toward the end zone.
The point is that you just have to be realistic about your time on this earth. No matter how old you are at this point, you have no idea when it will all come to a stop. This is not meant to be morbid, but instead to get you clear on the reality that living is about one day at a time. If you want to try something new and different that deviates from you previous path, take the steps to make the change. Live in fully in the present and behave in the manner that brings you closer to your new best self.
Does this sound to "new age"? It is not intended to be fluffy or "woo-woo". I am confident that people can change their paths and create new lives at any age. It is not easy, and it takes a lot of effort, time, and focus. I know first hand how easy it is to slip back into old routines and not settle into being a rut. But I refuse to concede that we ever get too old to take ownership of our own future.
It is never too late to re-invent. Who do you want to be when you grow up?
Have A Great Day