Self-Discovery Thought Leader: Joan Senio
The 50s are a decade of profound change for many women – our children are often young adults or fully grown, and our careers may be beginning to wind down.
We may have achieved a state of financial stability which gives us more freedom. Many of us find ourselves questioning the paths we have taken. We may also be feeling grief or regret about earlier phases of life, the onset (or continuation) of menopause, and in general, the loss of decades past.
This can happen whether our youth has been exceptional and joyful, or whether earlier decades did not live up to our expectations. This period of transition and yes, a bit of mourning, can lead to feelings of confusion and loss of identity. It’s important to know that it’s not uncommon to feel this way and that many women experience similar emotions during this stage of life.
There is some comfort in this. But the more useful idea to emphasize in our thinking is how we can support one another as we navigate this disconcerting phase of life, and ultimately, how we can overcome an identity crisis as a woman over 50.
“This period of transition and yes, a bit of mourning, can lead to feelings of confusion and loss of identity.”
How To Overcome An Identity Crisis As A Woman Over 50: 6 Practical Tips:
An identity crisis can be a powerful and transformative experience, especially for women over 50. As societal expectations shift, personal milestones are achieved, and new adventures unfold, it’s not uncommon for women to question their identity and purpose. Read on for six powerful, practical tips to help motivate us all as we navigate this time of transition together.
1. Adjust Our Attitude About Aging:
Accepting the changes and challenges that come with our shift in identity in our 50s is the first essential step to overcome an identity crisis as a woman over 50.
Many of us may find ourselves subtly (or conspicuously) resisting change at this stage of life. We may become fixated on doing things that we think preserves the attitude and aura of youth. Doing things that in some way validate our continued existence and “prove” our ability to keep up with the younger generations. This pattern of belief and behavior does not serve us.
In fact, it’s harmful to our peers and the women who will follow us. Just as we encourage younger women to define and accept themselves as they are, today, we must nurture the same confidence and acceptance in ourselves, as we become older. Not to deny that aging is occurring, and that we are changing as a part of the process – but to recognize that aging is occurring, and all the goodness it brings with it.
We do not have anything to prove. To anyone. As a woman over 50, our goal should remain to be our best, most authentic selves. To accept and celebrate the new opportunities that this stage of life presents, the wisdom we have acquired over our life experience, and to truly model what it looks like to “age well” – including acceptance and joy of whatever that means to each of us.
2. Build a Support Network:
As we seek to cultivate love and acceptance of ourselves as women over 50, it’s important for us build a network of like-minded women to support us, shore us up when we doubt ourselves, and to reinforce our beliefs and commitment to a healthy aging mentality.
“Seeking the support of friends, family, or even professional counselors can be incredibly helpful.”
Seeking the support of friends, family, or even professional counselors can be incredibly helpful. Being able to share and discuss these feelings can provide valuable perspective and support. Connecting with others who have gone through or are going through a similar experience can also be empowering and reassuring.
3. Rediscover Passions and Hobbies:
Navigating an identity crisis as a woman over 50 can be tricky.
As we work to accept the changes that natural aging brings and as we seek to nurture and grow our support system, it can also help to realize that there are some things that do not need to change as we age, at all. Reconnecting with old hobbies and areas of passion or interest can be a great way to rejuvenate our energy.
- Are there interests you actively pursued earlier in life that you have neglected in recent years?
- What topics did you read about when you were younger that you have grown away from?
- What new interests have taken their place or should take their place?
- Are there hobbies that you tinkered with, but never indulged?
- What resources do you have available now (experience, financial security, a wider network) that could help make it more realistic to tackle dreams you held earlier in life?
If you’ve always wanted to do so, now could be a great time to try your hand at writing or pick up a paint brush. Or resume taking an academic or fitness class in an area you enjoyed in the past. Or even to start a blog or website, to encourage other women to dream and grow! Take the time to reconnect with your passions. Embracing them can lead to a renewed sense of self and purpose.
4. Rejuvenate & Discover New Areas To Explore:
It can reenergize us to explore new options and ideas, too. Gardening can be a truly joyful experience. Joining a book club can open up possibilities to encounter others who are in the same stage of life to bond with.
Is there a charity or community or political issue you feel passionate about? Perhaps you can now spare more time to serve in some capacity that contributes to the cause. Finding joy in these activities can be a rejuvenating experience. Stay open to new opportunities and possibilities that come your way. Let go of limiting beliefs and explore uncharted territories.
Consider new career paths, volunteer opportunities, or creative endeavors that align with your true passions and values. Taking chances and exploring new opportunities can help you carve a more authentic and fulfilling path forward. Venturing down new avenues and experimenting with different experiences may help you to rediscover what truly lights your soul on fire.
“Finding joy in these activities can be a rejuvenating experience.”
5. Invest in Self-Reflection:
As we work to overcome an identity crisis as a woman over 50, self-reflection is more important than ever. We must take the time to understand ourselves, our values, and what brings us true happiness. Meaningful conversations with trusted friends, family members, or a therapist can help us feel supported and guided during our self-discovery journey.
Engaging in regular self-reflection can help us uncover our core values and beliefs. Healthy introspection to gain clarity and self-awareness can happen through journaling, meditation, or mindfulness practices. One topic to be sure to attend to: reflect on your past accomplishments and the roles you’ve played throughout your life.
Recognize the strength, resilience, and wisdom you’ve gained from those experiences. Celebrate the achievements that have shaped you and reframe your perception of them. Every milestone holds value and contributes to your unique identity. These experiences have all shaped the woman we are today. A woman who is smarter, more experienced, wiser and more complex than the woman we may have been earlier in life.
We must honor and prioritize self-care and well-being as we navigate an identity crisis. Taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental health by engaging in activities that promote self-love and self-acceptance should be one of our primary areas of focus. Incorporating self-care practices, such as meditation, yoga, or regular walks in nature, can help in this process of self-discovery and acceptance.
Guarding and advocating for our own well-being may also include practicing self-compassion, setting boundaries, and surrounding ourselves with supportive people who celebrate us, as we are. It may also mean strategically removing negative people, relationships, or influences from our day to day lives.
“Owning your individuality and understanding that the journey is unique for each person is key.”
How To Overcome As A Woman Over 50:
It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating an identity crisis. Owning your individuality and understanding that the journey is unique for each person is key. Comparing oneself to others can be detrimental, so paving one’s unique path is vital. Celebrating this new chapter of life can lead to a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Recognize that an identity crisis is a natural part of personal evolution. Acknowledge that you have the power to shape your own narrative and make choices that align your life with your authentic self. It’s truly never too late to rewrite your identity and create a life that truly reflects who you are.
Additional resources can be found in Joan’s bio below.
About the Author:
Joan Senio’s professional career includes 20+ years as a private sector health care facilities executive and 15 years (and counting) as a consultant. Joan’s current consulting work is focused on strategic planning in energy, environment, and sustainability infrastructure resiliency.
Joan founded KindCompasCoach to provide free, on-demand, kind, compassionate coaching via an openly accessible platform. KindCompasCoach articles and resources are well-researched and provide facts and knowledge as well as tips, guidance and advice for those who need support to address obstacles and challenges to their personal development and fulfillment. Areas of focus include mental health, physical health, well-being and relationships, just to name a few.
To learn more, visit KindCompasCoach. You may also connect with Joan on Twitter (@KindCompascoach). Want to take the next step on your journey of self-discovery? Learn more about your authentic self today by reading this: Your Personal Mission Statement. Would you like to work with KindCompasCoach? We enjoy working with authors, coaches, bloggers, and advertisers and will consider a wide variety of collaboration opportunities. Contact us today and let’s talk about the possibilities!