Next month (June 2023) I turn 50. When I turned 30 I was experiencing clinical depression. When I turned 40 I had my first panic attack. So it’s no surprise that I’m a little anxious as to what turning 50 will be like.
Reaching 50 years old is a significant milestone that many people approach with a mix of emotions. On the one hand, there may be a sense of accomplishment and pride for having reached this age. On the other hand, there may be a sense of uncertainty and even fear about what the future holds. If like me, you are approaching your 50th birthday, it's important to recognise that these feelings are completely normal!
Below are some of the more common reasons someone may feel a sense of fear and anxiety about what lies ahead.
Perhaps the most common fear that people have about turning 50 is the fear of aging. As we get older, our bodies change, and we may not be able to do the things we used to do. We may also become more prone to health problems and illnesses. This fear can be particularly pronounced for people who have always valued their youth and vitality.
Related to the fear of aging is the fear of declining health. As we get older, our bodies may not work as well as they used to, and we may be more susceptible to diseases and chronic conditions. Many people worry about their physical and mental health as they approach their 50th birthday.
Another common fear about turning 50 is the fear of financial insecurity. By this age, many people are well into their careers and may be starting to think about retirement. They may worry about whether they have saved enough money, whether they will be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, or whether they will be able to support their family financially.
As people approach 50, they may also experience a sense of regret about things they have not yet accomplished in life. They may worry that they have not achieved their goals, that they have not made the most of their opportunities, or that they have not lived up to their full potential.
For some people, turning 50 can also bring a sense of loneliness. This may be particularly true for people who are single or who have recently gone through a divorce or breakup. They may worry that they will never find a partner or that they will end up spending their later years alone. For some it is the fact that their children have grown up and flown the nest, getting on with their own lives.
As people get older, they become more aware of their own mortality. Turning 50 can be a reminder that we are all getting older and that our time on this earth is limited. This can be a source of fear and anxiety for some people.
Finally, some people may worry about becoming irrelevant as they approach their 50th birthday. They may worry that they will no longer be relevant in their industry or that they will be seen as old-fashioned or out of touch. This fear can be particularly pronounced for people who work in fields that are known for valuing youth and innovation.
If you are feeling any of the above, and there are at least two or three I’ve been navigating myself, there are steps you can take to navigate this transition with calm, clarity and grace.
1. Take stock of your life so far
As you approach your 50th birthday, take some time to reflect on your life so far. What have been the highlights? What have been the challenges? What have you learned about yourself? By taking stock of your life so far, you can gain a better understanding of where you are and where you want to go.
2. Set new goals and reflect on your life purpose
Once you've reflected on your life so far, it's time to reflect on your life purpose and perhaps set new goals. What do you want to achieve in the next 5, 10, or 20 years? Do you want to learn a new skill, start a new career, or travel to new places? By setting new goals, you can give yourself something to work towards and a sense of purpose.
3. Prioritise self-care
As you get older, it's important to prioritise self-care. This means taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying physically active. Also, make time for activities that bring you joy, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones.
4. Embrace change
Change is a natural part of life, and as you approach your 50th birthday, you may be facing some significant changes. Perhaps your children have grown up and moved out, or you are considering a career change. Whatever changes you may be facing, try to embrace them with an open mind and a positive attitude.
5. Celebrate your wisdom
As people get older, they also tend to become wiser. You may have learned important life lessons from your experiences, and you may be able to offer valuable insights and advice to others. Embracing this wisdom can help you to feel more confident and self-assured as you navigate the challenges of your 50s and beyond.
6. Seek support
Finally, it's important to seek support as you navigate this transition. Talk to friends and family members who have been through similar experiences, or consider seeking out the help of a professional therapist or counsellor. Try to connect with others to build that support network to help you navigate this new phase of your life.
Turning 50 is a significant milestone, and it's normal to experience a mix of emotions as you approach this age but it can be a time of expansive growth and transformation. While there may be challenges ahead, there are also opportunities to explore new possibilities and to create a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.
Remember, age is just a number, and there is still plenty of time to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
If you are at a milestone in your life and would like support in navigating this, you can book a FREE consultation call with me.