Some people wait their whole life to start living… don’t be one of them.
If you’re past the big 50 feeling jaded and lifeless. Concerned about the world. Concerned about your world. Your finances, relationships, health or work…
Reading this list should spark at least one change. Kick-start your life with a new challenge and then the reward.
Look for an idea that will set you off along a different path. Plant it like a seed and let it develop into a full grown life change.
1. Never think of yourself as too old. You aren’t.
2. Never stop learning. If you’ve stopped, consider the break as a “time out” and start again. Watch Ted talks. Read about all the fantastic technologies that are being developed at breakneck speeds: 3D printing, mapping the human genome, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics and big data. Plus, all the other things we aren’t even aware of.
3. Write a bucket list of 50 things to do before you die.
4. Plan to visit 50 countries – even a fleeting visit will do.
5. Consider becoming a “roving retiree”.
6. Accept yourself. Accept that your youthful physical perfection is fading replaced by a more perfect complete person.
7. Take up yoga.
8. Move more. Our body wasn’t designed to sit behind a computer screen or slouch around watching TV.
9. Exercise regularly. It has many benefits – healthier body plus a healthy, active brain equals a more fulfilled life … more confidence and self-esteem.
10. Activate your mind. Play mind games. Do a crossword puzzle. Play chess or bridge or scrabble online.
11. Do fun things. Get your children, or grandchildren, or friend’s children to teach you a computer game. Try “Minecraft”, “Lego Marvel Superheros” or “Batman”.
12. Subscribe to a free online course. Anything that takes your fancy. Sites like Coursera, Udemy, Alison Khan Academy offer many free courses covering just about anything you can imagine.
13. Practice mindfulness … Be in the moment.
14. If you hate your job, then leave it. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow but start making a plan … Build an escape plan or Plan B. Be daring. Think an “El Chapo” Guzman break-out-of-jail style!
15. Start a business.
16. Clear away some baggage like so-called “friends”, limiting thoughts, physical stuff, ideas and relationships.
17. Become more spiritual. Practice or follow whatever suits you best.
18. Listen more. You’ve possibly become an “advice monster”. Arrogantly believing “been there done that, so I know what’s best for you”!
19. Don’t believe the news or opinions of other so-called “experts”.
20. Acknowledge that you are responsible for your financial well-being. Not your husband, your wife, your partner and especially not your financial advisor. You never know what the future will bring and you are going to have to live it.
21. Start learning about your finances. Understand what you are told. Understand that the people who are providing you with information have been described by Nassim Taleb as “experts who are not experts”. They suffer from group think and run with the herd … with your money!
22. Take a good hard look at your life. Are you stuck in a rut? Take a short trip out of your comfort zone.
23. Be grateful for all you have.
24. The world is not limited to your neighbourhood. Explore more.
25. Rejuvenate your creativity. It may have hibernated waiting for a spring to bring it alive.
26. Find something you love and pursue it.
27. Ignore the voices of naysayers (and the monkey on your own shoulder) as you consider your newfound freedom.
28. Become an authority on something you love. You don’t have to be a 10,000-hour expert. Just an “expert” who has studied 3 books and knows more than 80% of people. Remember: In a kingdom of blind people, the one-eyed man is King.
29. Acknowledge all the things where you are “better than most people”. Where YOU are already the one eyed man!
30. Accept that you’ve still got a lot of living to do. You are aged 50 In the western world where the average life expectancy is another 35 years for women and 30 years for men. For most people, this will be longer than your working life up to then!
31. The only barriers to your dreams is your thinking, “whether you think you can or think you can’t.”
32. Find a mentor. Find someone you look up to and respect. Find that mentor who will support you. You don’t have to do it all on your own.
33. Ask for help.
34. Don’t live your life for someone else. Not your husband or wife or partner. Not your kids and definitely not your friends. As James Altucher says “choose yourself”.
35. Realize that life is not all about money and possessions.
36. Don’t make excuses for where you are in life. You are there because of the best choices you made.
37. Keep on dreaming big. Life can start at 50.
38. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. You are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with. They don’t have to be immediate friends, they could be online groups, mentors or coaches. For me, sitting here in the Philippines, I have online friends like Ramit Sethi’s Accelerator Group and Jon Morrow’s Serious Bloggers Only.
39. Never give up. Whatever life has dished up in the past, you don’t have to accept that’s your future.
40. Don’t put it off. There is time. There are choices. There are options. Don’t procrastinate. If you want to do it, you’ll find a reason. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
41. Nothing happens until something moves. Don’t waste too much time inside your head. Only action gets rewarded. Take the first step.
42. You don’t need certificates or credentials. If you want knowledge, study for knowledge and not pieces of paper.
43. Forget about planning for retirement and start planning for life. Traditional retirement is a redundant concept that went out of fashion with defined benefit pension schemes. If you have one of these, beware. Many are insolvent and there will be many more in future.
44. Acknowledge that you have a lot to give. With the many things that you have experienced, you can help a lot of people.
45. You can always get better. You might not compare with the best, but there’s only one of them anyway.
46. Giving is better than receiving. Remember “sow so shall you reap”. Develop a “how can I help you” mentality.
47. There will always be someone stronger, prettier, cleverer, richer, poorer, weaker, uglier than you so just be the best you can be. But never put yourself down. Never believe you are worthless.
48. Never say never. It’ll come back to haunt you.
49. Read 50 Shades of Grey. For anyone whose relationship has turned a bit “grey” and lost its sparkle.
50. Identify your cognitive biases. There are many and we all have them. Recognise them, acknowledge them and combat them. A tiger can’t change his spots. But we’re lucky, we aren’t tigers!
51. Don’t rely on the government to look after you. The government is made up of millions of self-serving bureaucrats who have far bigger problems to solve like their own pensions, their legacy, their own stuff, to be worried about you. Your best guarantee is to be independent. Be fine without them.
52. Develop a “Plan B”. You never know what the future will bring.
53. Do something for 50 people. Small, big, time or money, kind word or deed. Then make it a habit.
54. Acknowledge that you teach people how to treat you.
55. Decisions are not binary. There are many choices – occasionally take a risk.
56. Connect with 5 school friend you haven’t seen or heard of since leaving school. Try Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn
Article originally published in DumbLittleMan - Life After 50!