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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Reinvent yourself after 50

May 03, 2022 03:35PM ● By Laverne H. Bardy

I was recently asked to give a talk about the wonder and excitement of reinventing yourself after 50. The person who asked me said she viewed me as being a “liver” (as opposed to a kidney?) and thought my words might inspire others.

After considerable thought, I decided there are four components that influence the quality of one’s life after 50: attitude, humor, stress and purpose.

ATTITUDE. Your attitude colors your entire life, shaping how you perceive the world around you. A positive attitude can find the remarkable in the mundane, tolerance in the intolerable and humor in the midst of sorrow. It reminds you to embrace the person you’ve become and not give a damn about wrinkles or what others think.

Dr. Phil summed it up when he said: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what people think of you if you knew how seldom they did.” So stop yielding to yesterday’s belief of what seniors are supposed to look like. We walk around like we’ve got expiration dates stamped on our foreheads, but like celebrity peers George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Kevin Costner, we’re living longer and are no longer behind the scenes.

We’re a force to be reckoned with. Instead of pining over yesterday, get interested and involved in today. Reconnect with your childhood by making a snow angel, getting a squirt gun to ambush your husband or jumping up and down on your bed. (And, don’t forget to have your medical alert button with you at all times.)

HUMOR. The more things you can find to laugh at, the happier you’ll be. Plus, laughing has many health benefits, such as: lowered blood pressure, reduced stress, diminished depression and reduced aggression. Studies show that laughing more may be as important as exercising, not smoking and eating a low-fat diet. Laughter also produces an overall sense of well-being and makes your heart healthier. It’s the pressure valve that gets us through daily obstacles and challenges.

Funny things happen all around you all the time if you’re tuned in. Like the time I waited for over half an hour in a crowded deli store before realizing I’d forgotten to take a number. Even though life isn’t fair, when you laugh at yourself or at your situation, you’re in control of your life.

REDUCE STRESS. We can’t avoid it but we can handle it. Playing board games regularly offers almost as much stress relief and prolonged life expectancy for people over 65 as for those who exercise regularly. Playing music can lower your blood pressure and heart rate. 

Having friendships is vital. Loneliness has been linked to making people more susceptible to stress, depression and other illnesses. We all need someone with whom to discuss our problems and share our good times.

PURPOSE. Become involved in something you feel passionate about—something that makes you feel useful and necessary, gets your juices flowing, causes you to spring out of bed in the morning and keeps you riveted long past bedtime. Having a purpose reduces stress and the risk of depression.

Working after retirement doesn't have to feel like work

The bottom line is to eat sensibly, laugh and play a lot, move your body and remember that age is only a number.

How did you reinvent yourself? 


Jan Hyland - Grand Junction

“I’ve always been a seamstress and when we moved here from Houston, I started quilting. I meet other quilters at the Owls Nest on Tuesdays. It’s an informal group and I’ve made good friends with them. I make quilts for family members, and I love the mountains here.”


Richard Hyland - Grand Junction

“I’m phasing out my international consulting company for industrial engineering. I’m already active in social justice groups, and when I finally retire I want to do more of that and more outdoor activities."


Jennifer Randall - Delta

“I’m still working, doing what I’ve done for years—only now, I’m finally the boss! I work the hours I want, doing what I’ve always loved by helping people feel less stressed about filing their taxes.” 


Bill Ramsey - Montrose
“I officially retired about 5 years ago in New Jersey. A native Coloradoan, I moved back here because I like the area, the people and it’s more affordable. This past year, I’ve experienced some major life-changing events and having friends close by has helped. Retirement is a work in progress.”

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