I have just turned 62. Today I want to reflect on my life over the past 12 years and hopefully there may be some lessons for those around the 50-year-old milestone.
There have been many changes in my life in the past 12 years. I will highlight some of them so that you can understand the amount of change that may happen to you over the next 10-15 years.
- At 50 I was a mom of two adult children, divorced and working in a dream job, making a difference.
- Both my children had just married, and both had left the country.
- 6 months after my 50th birthday the company I was working for was sold and moved to the Cape. I found myself without a job.
- I moved from the city to the country.
- I have been blessed in these 12 years with 4 beautiful grandchildren.
- I went back to study at GIBS doing Social Entrepreneurship.
- I started a new company and went back to be an entrepreneur.
- I invested much of my savings in this process.
- I ran out of money before I became profitable.
- I was offered a fantastic job in the social sector as the pioneering CEO of a new social enterprise. We built a fabulous model over the next 5 years.
- My daughter became ill with a life-threatening auto-immune disease and by the grace of God is still alive.
- My mother aged in these years and I took up a closer care role before she died 4 years ago.
- I left my fulltime role as CEO at 58 to go back to pursuing my passion.
- I faced myself in the mirror and started to take accountability for my long-term financial future.
- I continued to learn, engage with friends, family and travel to visit my children.
- I started another business alongside the first at 61.
- I have continued to have a close relationship with God and my church family.
I look at this list and realise how much change and transition we can start to experience in our 50’s. I certainly did not see this horizon and grateful for the family and friends who have walked through the difficult parts of this journey. One needs resilience, strong relationships, good health, an open mind and skills to navigate your way. One needs to remain adaptable, cope with new experiences and be very clear of your own horizon for the future.
Each of us are unique and if you are now 50 the world also looks different. Technology is changing the way we work, play and live. At 50 you may still have children at home. You may be happily married or on your own. You may soon be retrenched or feel so much stress that you want to resign and do something else. The world of work is no longer as secure a place to be.
We are all living longer and on average will live an extra 30 years more than our grandparents. It is critical if you have not already done so to take stock, know where you are and take full responsibility for what the future may throw at you. I want to share some tips with you to ensure that you live the best out of control life that you can control.
- Be clear about who you are and what you are passionate about.
- Take responsibility for your future.
- Look after your vitality assets and manage your health-span to improve your life-span.
- Engage with your financial planner to understand your long-term picture and how long you will need to earn some money.
- Understand that working longer does not mean a fulltime job with one employer but may be a few flexible eggs in your basket.
- Start to simplify your life.
- Walk more and take up Pilates/Yoga to strengthen your core muscles.
- Learn some new skills.
- Join diverse networks
- Give yourself permission to smell the roses.
- Look after your relationships.
- Build a personal brand.
Life is happening at a fast pace at 50. We juggle many balls in the air. We do not expect these steep transitions and they can knock us off our feet and cause us to stumble. Take the time to work with a coach or someone who understands this new path and can help you navigate your future and hold you accountable. We have been gifted with one life. Live it to the full, one day at a time with your eye on the horizon.
Lynda Smith is a Retirement/Career Transition coach and runs workshops for groups.
She has written a 6-part series called Design your legacy season 50+ for Women and it includes workbooks for each section of the course.
Contact Lynda on firstname.lastname@example.org