career · creativity · life lessons · women

After 50…does it have to be a bucket list?

hour glass picture

I want to grow!  I want to achieve new goals…. but the clock is ticking LOUDLY!  Why is it that as you get close to 50 people stop talking about goals and just talk about “bucket lists”??  After a certain age does everything have to be a one time deal?  A one time adventure?  A notch on your belt? Finished?  ugh!  I feel like I finally have time for myself, my career, rediscovering who I am and what I want to be, but I’m finding myself in a culture of very young people and wondering if I’ve missed the ferry!

I want to keep pressing forward but it can be overwhelming, and frankly a little embarrassing to be the old girl all the time.  Will anything that I do at this point in my life really make much difference?  My dad passed away at age 59, but my great-grandmother was over 100!  My mind tells me that life is unpredictable and should be lived as an ongoing adventure.  My heart tells me to press on toward the dreams I’ve carried for so long.  My mirror tells me… I’d better get a move on!… or maybe get real.

Is there a perfect age where you still have sound body and mind, and yet have some wisdom and experience that give you respect? authority? legitimacy? validity?  Will I be seen as a try hard?  Will I be patronized, patted on the head and ignored?  Maybe that’s my first obstacle… I need to stop worrying about what other people think!  I need to stop caring about how I will be received and simply be me.  If in fact I am trying to be the best ME that I can be, I will continue to learn, grow, encourage, teach, and inspire those who come within my circle of influence.  And IF that circle of influence happens to enlarge, I will be grateful and humbly accept that challenge.

A simple internet search reveals all kinds of people who achieved amazing things well past the age of 50.  I wish I could speak to some of them.  Maybe that’s my second obstacle, I need mentors.  People who have found success later in their lives.  People who are older, who maybe took a very different path to success, and yet have lessons to teach.  I find myself wanting someone to tell me, “no, that goal is a terrible idea”, and yet afraid to hear it!

I’ve raised my children, been married almost 30 years.  I’ve completed several degrees and have recently made a big career move.  Life is good, but it’s not easy.  And when things get challenging, that’s when the doubts move in.  Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?  Should I just be working part-time and puttering in my yard?  I suppose it is scary to me how much my desires have changed over the last few years.  The new territory of  (almost) empty nest, and a more challenging career, bring excitement but also tons of self-doubt.  And the easy out is to just shrug my shoulders and say… “Maybe I’m too old for this.”

I’d love to hear from anyone else, young, old, and in between.  How do you see yourself?  Setting goals?  Or just bucket list items?  How do you see those in other generations around you?  Let me know…

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