This is the final installment of our series, “What to do in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.” Thanks for all the encouraging feedback, and for forwarding the emails to friends.
We close it out with “What to do in your 50s.” As a reminder, for a more in-depth look, check out my new book, “What to do Next: Finding your Best Step when Life is Uncertain.”
What to do in your 50s
Read “Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life” by Arthur Brooks.
I will read this book once a year from now on.
Watch episode 7 entitled “Moondust” from The Crown.
To be honest, I’ve never been that interested in the Royal Family but Wendy and I started watching The Crown on Netflix earlier this year. It’s phenomenal. This particular episode, Moondust, should be required watching for anyone in their 50s. You’ll see why.
Interview your parents on video.
If you’re blessed to still have your parents, I would recommend you interview them on video. I did this years ago with my Mom and Dad. Do you know how valuable this video is now? To me, it’s priceless.
Select a younger person and mentor them.
Flip it around, and ask that same younger leader to mentor you.
There’s a lot younger folks can teach us, starting with technology.
Write down 10 lessons you’ve learned in your life.
What would you want your grandchildren to learn from what you’ve learned in life, good and bad? You know a lot more than you think you do. Write it down. It doesn’t have to be well-written. It just needs to be from you.
Read “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino.
Honestly, this book is great for any decade but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t slowing down in my 50s. We might be getting older but we’re also getting better. This book helped.
Work more efficiently so you can live more effectively.
For example, would it be possible to take off every Friday afternoon at Noon for the rest of your career?
Evaluate your life insurance policies.
(And get an annual physical.)
Increase the percentage of money you save and give away with each passing year.
Let go of regrets.
We all have them. You did your best with what you knew and with what you have. Let go. Don’t carry regrets into your 60s. This might require some internal work with a therapist.
Increase, not decrease, the time you invest in exercise.
The same is true with your nutrition. Don’t let this slide just because you’re in your 50s.
Be aware of Contempt.
The Gottman Institute on Relationships teaches that contempt is what undermines most marriages. Contempt is often delivered in tone or body language. It can happen the more we are around one another. As the old saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This can settle in around your 50s if you aren’t careful. The antidote is appreciation and gratitude. Specifically, look for things to appreciate and choose to express gratitude for your spouse. Watch your tone and body language. Don’t let contempt undermine your marriage and key relationships.
Take a risk.
As Clint Eastwood said, “Don’t let the old person win.” Yes, we need to be wise but we don’t need to be afraid. Try something new. Keep learning and growing. I launched a business in my late 50s during a global pandemic. I talk about that in “What to do Next.” It wasn’t easy but it has definitely been worth the risk.
The older we get, the less risks we tend to take. It actually should be the opposite. It’s called growth.
Don’t stop. Keep moving forward.