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9 Steps To Reinventing Yourself In The New Phase Of Your Life

By KellyRose McAleer - November 17, 2014

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The era of retirement can be a chance to reinvent yourself. Unlike a mid-life crisis, which is painted as a time of identity disaster that leads to outrageous car purchases, reinventing yourself later in life means finding new ways of being productive and fulfilled. When you’re approaching retirement, your life starts to look different as you reprioritize a lifestyle without as many responsibilities, like kids and work. You don’t have to be as rational and you can even be a bit selfish – use it as time to explore yourself and redefine who you are.

Go back to your childhood dreams.

What did you dream of becoming when you grew up? If you wanted to be the next Van Halen before life and practicalities got in the way, then buy yourself a guitar. If you yearned to be the next Frida Kahlo, buy yourselves some canvases and oil paints. Dig deep and find out what you’ve always wanted to try or be, and then give it a go. You’ve lived your life making rational decisions, and now it’s time to nurture your soul.

Try one new experience a week.

If you’ve never eaten sushi, go to a restaurant with a friend and experiment together. Take a glass-blowing class, even if you’ll never become a professional glass artist. Go out to the shooting range and learn how to handle a gun. When you find something you like, keep doing it. If you don’t like sushi or can’t get a rush from a gymnastics class, you don’t have to commit to it. But you can say you tried it, and you’ll become more well-rounded from the experience.

Learn a new language.

Maybe you never had a chance to study a foreign language in school, or you took Spanish because it was the practical choice when your heart yearned to try French. Now is the perfect opportunity to try it out. Learning a new language is fun, and it will make you worldlier to learn about another culture. And it’s a great excuse to travel and go visit another country so you can practice…

Apply for a job.

If you love books and recommending titles to friends, try working at your local library. If you’re an ace at getting work done around the house, apply at your local hardware store. Most Americans are working at least part of their way through retirement, so you might as well get a job you enjoy. Being employed somewhere you’re excited to work with skills you’re already confident in will make it a lot easier to get up in the morning, and will give structure to the liberation of retirement.

Go out to eat by yourself.

We don’t exactly live in a culture where most people feel comfortable going out alone. As social creatures we’re used to celebrating, gathering, and going out in groups. But by eating in a restaurant or going to a movie alone, you begin to feel more comfortable with yourself. That confidence will show in everything you do, and help you cultivate a newfound independence that most people in earlier stages of their lives aren’t ready for.

Reach out.

You and your significant other are about to be spending a lot more free time together, so to avoid driving each other crazy it’s important to widen your social circle. Without interacting with your work acquaintances daily, you might start to feel a bit lonely. Reach out to old friends and reacquaint yourself to what’s going on in their life. Be more involved with your family and go to the violin recitals, soccer games, and school plays. It’s the perfect time to reestablish ties with the ones you love, who may have been a bit neglected over the years, and to redefine yourself as more family-oriented.

Redefine what success means to you.

Your goals at age 50+ are different than your goals were at 30, when you were thinking about marriage, car insurance, houses and kids. Now, the guidelines are whatever you make them. Being successful later in life can mean being productive, being an active volunteer, or simply being happy. Accomplishments can be measured in how many guitar melodies you learned this week or finally mastering the French past participle. Recognize what your new goals are, so you know when you achieve them.

Join a club.

Joining a club or group can be one of the most fulfilling experiences that anyone at any age can have. If you like running, join a run club. If you’re into crafting, join an art group. There’s nothing better than sharing your passion with a new group of people, and growing together as you learn about each other each time you meet. With that being said, there’s no reason you shouldn’t join a club you’re unsure you’ll like. Take a chance, who knows, you might love cupcake-making 101.

Get out of your comfort zone.

You’re never going to accomplish everything you set out to do if you stay in that little bubble for forever. You know which bubble we’re talking about. That warm, cozy, safe little place you spend most of your life because…well, because why would you want to spend it anywhere else? There’s so much potential for discomfort and failure outside of it, it’s a miracle anybody ever leaves. However, you won’t climb to that personal peak you’ve always dreamed of reaching if you don’t. Maybe you always wanted to teach, but a fear of public speaking kept you from standing up in front of a class. Or maybe you wanted to be a writer, but a discomfort with others reading something so personal prevented you from doing so. There are an infinite number of reasons you could come up with for not doing something if you try. So don’t try. Get out there, do it! We’re only here for a short time, and as Lucille Ball so eloquently said, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”