It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Our identities are formed by the choices we make, and our brains are flexible organs that can form new habits and new ways of thinking if we take the steps gradually over time to create them. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely possible. This is especially true as we age. Advances in technology, medicine, health awareness and education are continuing to enrich people’s lives and help them age well. Aging brings with it a great deal of emotions, experiences and new opportunities, and one way to take full advantage of these things is to make new choices that will enrich your life. Here are a few tips to help you reinvent yourself as you get older.
Many people over the age of 45 have entered or are entering a time of life full of exciting milestones. Children are growing up and leaving the home. Major work anniversaries are likely coming up, and retirement is drawing nearer, if it has not already arrived. So this is a great time to think: what are some things you’ve always wanted to do, but have never done?
This is an opportunity to reassess your lifestyle and discover if you have more dreams to reach. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start a new business, but have not felt comfortable with adding that responsibility to your current work or leaving your current job. Maybe you’ve wanted to travel, but have felt tied to home. Maybe you’ve wanted to learn a new trade or skill and never felt like you had the time.
Now put these dreams into action. Take some time to sit down (with your partner, if applicable) and start brainstorming ideas and making lists. This can be an exciting time to discuss things that haven’t seemed possible before, but may be now depending on your responsibilities and stage of life. Once you’ve finished this and decided where you want to start, make a plan to make it happen. For some, this will be an easy change. You may feel completely comfortable with changing your lifestyle spontaneously. But many find that a slow and gradual change with set, achievable goals is more manageable. The important thing is to make a plan that will work for you at your pace, and then work the plan and make it a priority.
Maybe you don’t know exactly what new thing you want to try—you just know that something needs to change. So start experimenting with possibilities. Try new recipes or go to a cooking class. Take up playing an instrument. Volunteer at a local charity. Find a new exercise routine. Find community events to take part in. Try some new things with your partner that will add some excitement to your relationship. Who knows? You may discover a new passion that you never knew you had.
Remember Some Basic Truths
Some people may find reinvention difficult because of some of the ideas they have thought or believed for a long time. Many of these beliefs are false, and acknowledging their untruthfulness can set you free to do more with your life. Here are some basic truths about healthy aging to remember:
- You’re not too old: There is always a chance to change your lifestyle and fight for what you want out of life.
- You’re not alone: Nobody has to feel alone. Family and friends are there to support you. Humans are naturally social beings, and seeking out new connections can be as easy as walking up to someone and introducing yourself.
- The desire to reinvent yourself is valid: Wanting to get the most out of life is something every individual experiences. It’s not selfish. As a human being, your needs and desires are valid, and what makes you happy now may not be what used to make you happy (or what you thought would make you happy). Yes, consider how your actions will affect others, particularly those you are closest to. But in the end, you have to determine what is best for your personal well-being.
- You can still learn new things: The brain seeks out new information all the time, and learning is often considered a “boredom cure”. It may take some time to adapt to being a student again, but there are more opportunities than ever before to learn something new, whether it be reading a new book, going to a museum or traveling somewhere you’ve never been. Many people are students of the arts, culture, history and more for their entire lives. In fact, learning new things will keep your mind sharp, enhance your experiences and wisdom and help you stay more healthy over time.
Some Ways To Get Started
Because it’s good to start small, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Journal your journey: Many people find writing things down to be a great mental exercise. This can be anything from a daily diary of your activities to a goals list to a list of things you’re grateful for each day. The possibilities are literally endless and can remind you of everything you’re still able to do.
- Change your perspective: Make an effort to challenge some of your long-held assumptions about the world and about yourself. This can also lead to a change in attitude or position about certain things, which can open new doors for exploration and learning.
- Find a support system: People often find the most success when they have a group of people around them that supports them. So reach out to your closest companions and tell them about how you’ve been thinking about reinventing yourself. Get their opinions and ideas and adapt them to suit your needs. These people will help you make the best decisions possible, and encourage you to be your best self.
- Make a few small choices every day: Forming habits is most easily achieved through the small choices you make on a daily basis. Start a list of little decisions you can begin to make, and set short timers for your activities to give yourself a measurable goal to work towards. You’ll find these new habits become easier every day.
We’re Here to Help!
Our goal is to help you live well. Our physicians and staff are here to give you actionable steps towards a healthier lifestyle and provide you with strategies to manage your time. No matter your age, it’s still possible to make a difference, to change how you live and to become a new person. Contact us today for more information on how you can do this!