Once you cross the age-threshold at fifty, there is no turning back. Sure, you may still feel young as ever, but something has changed. Your skin is no longer as elastic. You’ve got some wrinkles around your eyes. Your hair is now a mix of grey and your natural color. You realize that time is more limited. All the things you want to do, all the things you want yet to accomplish create a new sense of urgency within you. Welcome to the second half of your possible century of living; it is your time to become who you were meant to be.
Embrace Your Second Half with Joy
Here’s the deal: You can embrace your second half with joy and anticipation, or you can resist it or resolve to sit around and wait until the clock runs out. Denying our age, trying to stay forever young, living in the past—all these efforts are forms of denial that will lead to disappointment. Embracing your second half will involve a lot of work, but my bet is that you’ll find it is what makes your life most satisfying.
When you realize your time is finite, that is a great gift. That gift will allow you to start focusing more on the things that really matter. For example, after Susan Rochester, an accomplished artist turned fifty, she started examining the work she really wanted to do and began creating art for a specific cause.
Discover Your Unrealized Dreams
How do you figure out what you really want to do with the rest of your life? Susan Rochester encourages people to try visual journaling, as a way to connect with deep, unrealized dreams and interests. Other people suggest journaling and then reviewing for themes and patterns that emerge.
As I started grappling with the finality of my existence, I began asking myself, “How do I want others to remember me? What impact do I want to make on the world for the greater good? What work am I uniquely qualified to accomplish but have not fully realized it or have yet to undertake it?”
Explore the Possibility of Elderhood
One way to approach our second half is to embrace elderhood as Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi suggested in his book, From Aging to Saging. According to Rabbi Zalman, elderhood means we become the guides, the futurists, the ones with wisdom and needed insight that can help future generations move forward. As elders, we are also the ones who recognize the need to care for our environment and planet. As elders, we recognize that our work is just beginning. Even though our physical self may be diminishing, our inner strength and accumulated wisdom are strong.
My youngest grandson once told me that he thought I was wise like Yoda. Yoda was a Star Wars character who was very wise, wrinkled, and ancient. Yoda was also a Master Jedi—someone who had great strength and authority. I should only hope that I live up to my grandson’s comparison.
It is time for all of us to embrace our inner Yoda – our true selves. We have work to do. Let’s embrace our second half with joy!