Many people will turn the big 5 oh this year. And most will ask, “Now what?”
Most of my 50s have now passed and it took me the better part of the decade to simply relax.
I had entered the decade in a state of panic. OMG, I am 50 years old. What the heck do I do now?
I woke up one day, looked in the mirror and said, “I don’t recognize this person any more. I look a lot older. But most disturbing is the fact that I don’t know what I should be doing.”
Much of the drama in life takes place in our 20s, 30s and 40s.
In these active decades, we try to build a career, raise a family, buy a house. Often, our goals crumble and we encounter a great deal of drama. Separation or divorce can enter the picture. Personal relationships can be strained due to busy schedules. A lot goes on.
And so, hitting 50, when most of the drama has finally dissipated, we reach a new crisis. It is a crisis of identity where we ask ourselves – who am I now?
We face, or at least we hope to face, another 30 years of living.
What to do with that 30 years becomes a major preoccupation.
In my 50s, I felt I still had enough energy to start new things – new hobbies, new businesses, new friendships.
In some ways, I felt liberated – unburdened by the trials and tribulations of my earlier years.
But I struggled. I did so mainly because I felt I had already accomplished my major goals. There didn’t seem to be a lot that I really wanted to do.
I dabbled in this and that, but nothing stuck.
Was it a wasted decade?
Not really. I learned that once life’s big ups and downs finally calm down – we are free to help others.
Now, about to enter my 6th decade, I look forward to giving of myself, more than ever.
I believe that I have an obligation to share my experiences and lessons learned to anyone who might gain from them.
Surely, they are worth something.
However , I believe the older crowd must be careful not to be preachy. Not to pretend we know everything. Because, as I get older, I realize I know less and less.
But rather, we must simply share our lessons learned. It will be up to the recipients to determine whether our experiences can be applied to their own circumstances or not.