With each major milestone comes a scary amount of change. As we grow older, it’s difficult to predict what the road ahead will bring, and it’s easy to let uncertainty prevent us from living our best lives. Despite fifty being regarded as “the new forty,” the onset of middle age can be daunting. Even so, this should be the beginning of a new age of financial freedom and enjoyment of life for you. Here are some ways to make the most of your fifties:
Indulge curiosity: If you’re in your fifties, your children might be grown and you may be retired or nearing retirement, meaning you could have some extra free time. Allowing yourself to try new activities like travel or taking classes is a great way to explore the world around you, meet new people, and learn new skills.
Make lists of things that interest you and find avenues to pursue them. For example, though it may be difficult to become an action movie star, you might indulge the acting bug by finding and getting involved with local theatre. If your dream is to travel the world, make use of your free time by researching how, when, and where to plan your trip.
Embracing your curiosity can lead to wonderful new experiences and meeting interesting new people. It can also enrich your life by turning you on to new passions.
Engage in new and loved activities: Try new activities or spend time with your loved ones. New activities can add character to your life because staying active (socially and physically) can keep you young at heart. Being open minded and joining a spouse or friend in trying something new can give you a new appreciation of both the person and the activity and bring you closer together.
Travel where and when you can: The world holds more than we could possibly experience in a single lifetime. Traveling keeps us moving and open to new experiences, so it’s worth exploring other places, whether you’re trying out a new restaurant in the next city over or visiting a foreign country.
Enjoying any place you visit and making the most of these travels can help you enjoy life after 50. Treating every trip like an adventure adds excitement to life and can give you a way to appreciate things from a different perspective. One other way to make the most of your travels is to take the road less traveled. Popular destinations have a lot to offer and won’t be short on activities, but less-visited towns and cities also have a lot to offer in terms of local customs and culture.
Learn a new skill: If there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn but have never had the time for, your fifties are the perfect time to do it. Attending classes, lectures, or seminars can teach you new things, and if you’re still working, this is a great way to brush up on new skills in your field. Many colleges and universities offer “senior associate” courses or online courses.
This is another great way to open up exciting new experiences and meet other people who share your interests.
Be a friend to your community: Becoming active in your community in any capacity can help you engage in life and help others at the same time. Whether you volunteer with a local organization or decide to join the chamber of commerce, local participation can help you meet other individuals who want to embrace their community and skills as much as you do.
Being an active participant in local, political, or volunteer organizations not only gives you a constructive and diverse community to participate in, but it also gives you the chance to mentor and connect with younger people—something you can both likely learn from.
Participate in volunteer work: Simple acts of kindness and helping others can keep you engaged in life. Paying it forward will boost your mood, allow you to share experiences and connect with others, and give you the ability to put your own life and experiences in perspective.
There are many ways to volunteer. Places like schools, community centers, senior care homes, and hospitals often have volunteer opportunities, but helping family and friends can be just as fulfilling.
Connect with others: People often find that their tastes and perspectives have changed once they turn 50. Connecting with new people is a good way to stay engaged and active and give you the opportunity to have new experiences. It can also provide a support network of people who care for you and your well-being.
To meet new people, look toward community events, travel, or merely by striking up conversation with a stranger. Be open to talking to others, regardless of their age. Setting up social events might also fall on you. Something as simple as setting up a weekly coffee or brunch date can get you out of the house and who knows, you might even experience or meet someone unexpected.
Whether you’re meeting up with old friends or making new acquaintances, these experiences can provide your mental health with a boost and prevent loneliness.