Certain birthdays have always held especial significance. When we reach double figures, become a teenager, reach 21, these are all markers of our journey through life, of our progression as we become an adult and then, in later years, are able to reflect on what we’ve done and perhaps not done.
Decade birthdays often have an enhanced relevance. When we reach 10 or 20 we may feel excited at growing up, moving towards adulthood, eagerly anticipating the adventures that await us. But those birthdays soon become a reminder of how quickly time passes by. It's often easy to get swept along as we manage the time-consuming demands of life. We may be absorbed in studying for qualifications, in building our reputation and career, enhancing our relationships, are perhaps settling and nest-building with children.
Committing to everything and cramming every moment with activities and appointments can mean that when we reach 50 there's the sudden realisation that we’ve reached the halfway point in our life. Time then to question what have we achieved so far and ask is there life after 50?
The desire for a fulfilling life after 50 can prompt us to reassess the direction in which we’ve been heading. How are we spending our time? Have we travelled, achieved success, are we enjoying our work and relationships? What really interests us?
- 50 can provide a wake-up call where we start to address how we feel about ourselves. For some there may be fewer demands at home as children start to move away. Focussing on parenthood is no doubt a rewarding life choice, but now it's our time. Older children may still need financial support but require less hands-on attention. The desire for fulfilling ways to spend our time can provide the opportunity to introduce new hobbies and interests, or maybe now’s the time to revisit those old interests that had to be side-lined whilst more pressing obligations took priority.
- For some over 50's having responsibility for older relatives can become a serious consideration. Their need to be supported and cared for may have started to escalate. A desire to do the 'right thing' can impact on our options, even though there’s increasing availability of quality later-life care. Discussing the best way forward can require tact and sensitivity.
- Getting fit can become a focus at 50 as we realise the importance of investing in a healthier lifestyle to support our long-term quality of life. Also, ask yourself when was the last time you updated your wardrobe, hairstyle or look? Refreshing your appearance can give a real boost to your self-confidence and help you to feel sexier and more attractive, especially if you're on your own or are looking to reignite your existing relationship.
- Freeing yourself from the mental and physical burden of old unwanted possessions, negative friendships and tiresome commitments can prompt a major spring-clean at 50. Assess the clutter that you've amassed over the years. It can accumulate when left unchecked. Sort out your life and let go of those things that have been draining your time, space and energy.
- 50 can be the age when we feel prompted to look at personal development. Maybe volunteering or enrolling on a training course appeals, perhaps something that could lead to a new career, or committing to a qualification you couldn't pursue when younger. Some people like to start working as a consultant, sole trader or turn an interest into a business venture. If you’ve friends whose interests and skills complement yours could there be an opportunity to combine forces and set up an enterprise together?
- What about your finances? Are you settled in your home or is it starting to feel too big? Maybe it’s time to sell up, release some capital and down-size. A large family home may be an unnecessary drain on your resources once children have moved on to the next phase of their lives.
- Travel can feature large after 50, as there's often more disposable money and less need to take trips that are child-focussed. Enjoy travelling further afield and exploring new places and cultures whilst you and your partner are still healthy, adventurous and excited at the prospect of exploring away from the beaten track. Or look to join some of the exciting solo-traveller trips.
- A high percentage of marriages end in divorce and with couples sometimes choosing to wait until their children are a little older 50 can be the time when they're facing the upheaval of a new start. Becoming single, perhaps after many years as part of a couple, can require major readjustment, even when it’s your decision. You may need to move, set up a new home, cultivate new friends and interests, all causing you to feel vulnerable, and often at a time of less financial stability.
By the age of 50 you've made many of your bigger mistakes and have discovered that you can survive. Becoming better acquainted with yourself can allow you to feel more mature and settled, less eager to do what others want or need to follow the crowd.
It's a time to value your groups and circles of friends, but not be bound or defined by them. Enjoy opportunities to explore new relationships and challenge yourself a little. Spend time and money on yourself and the special ones in your life and enjoy a fulfilling life after 50!
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net