Reinvention isn’t just for for superstars like Madonna. Any one of us can take stock of our life and decide to make some changes, to have a bit more fun and shake things up. And you don’t have to wear a pointy bra to do it - unless you want to of course, and hey, I won’t judge you if you do, afterall we all lived through the eighties!
In some ways our 40s are the perfect time to break up with old stories we have about ourself and old habits that no longer seem to fit who we are. It’s a decade of transitions and change, so feeling the need to reinvent ourselves is perfectly normal and can be hugely positive - when done from a place of love and not from trying to fix anything.
Whilst there is still an underlying message in society that once you’re past 40 it’s too late do something different, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Okay, so you probably won’t be able to take up tennis and win Wimbledon after the age of 40 (although never say never, right?), but there’s no reason why you couldn’t learn tennis and become the best in your club or district in your age group. And whilst dreams of being a prima ballerina might be out of reach, again there’s nothing to stop you going to classes and enjoying your passion, heck you could even go on to organise your own performance with only dancers over the age of 40 – now that’s something I’d love to see.
Here are 7 ways you could shake things up and reinvent yourself after 40:
1 Go Back to School - it’s never too late to get that degree you’ve always wanted, or a PHD, Masters etc. Education is a great way to keep your mind active, change up your job prospects, ignite new (or old) passions and even squash old stories of not being smart enough. Whatever your reason, heading back into education could lead to a mulititude of new opportunities.
2 Take Charge of Your Fitness - whether you used to be sporty , or like me skipped most gym lessons at school, it’s never too late to find a way to keep fit that you love. Whether it’s yoga, running, dance or HIIT, there is something out there for everyone. Getting fit improves our overall wellbeing, our energy levels, the way we feel about our physical appearance and can add years to your life. Exercise can also help to improve some menopause symptoms and ward off age-related illnesses like osteoporosis. So grab those leggings and enjoy becoming an exercise junkie, just think what your life (and body) could be like in a year.
3 Make a Career Change - it’s never too late to shift direction. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own business, work in a different area of your current industry, or get that promotion. You might even want to completely change what you do and work in an area totally unrelated to what you do now. Take the time to dive into what your ideal work life would look like, how you want to feel in your career, and then create a plan to make it happen.
4 Change Your Style - changing your wardrobe might feel like a cliche when it comes to reinvention (particularly for women), but many of us get stuck in a rut when it comes to clothes. It’s easy to stick to the same old things and stop having any kind of fun with fashion. Maybe you wish you could wear brighter colours, or want to wear dresses more than jeans (or vice versa), or perhaps you envy those women who pull of wearing hats or bright red lipstick. Whatever you wish you could wear, stop wishing and start doing. Life is short and wearing clothes that don’t make you feel like a rockstar is a waste of time. Yes, I am reminding myself of this too! So wear the DM Boots or high heels, the chunky earrings or bright scarves, and enjoy twirling in a flowing skirt or snuggling down in silk pyjamas, and become the unique style goddess you want to be.
5 Go Traveling - It’s never too late to change your location. Whether it’s becoming a tourist in your own country or buying a round-the-world ticket, travel is fun at every age and always has something to teach us. Make a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit and start ticking them off, what are you waiting for?
6 Face a Fear - Our fears hold us back and can keep us from fulfilling our true potential. Every time we tackle one of them we teach ourselves that we are more capable than we think. After a lifetime of being nervous around horses (after seeing my sister thrown off one when I was a small child) I finally decided enough was enough and faced my fear a year ago in Corfu, and I ended up having an amazing afternoon riding through stunning countryside and olive groves. That experience gave me the courage to join my husband and daughters for a beach ride here in New Zealand a few months ago that was equally magical, and whilst I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy a horse anytime soon, I created some very special memories and proved to myself that even when something scares me I can do it if I really want to. I’m determined not to let my fears dictate how the second-half of my life goes.
7 Learn a New Skill - Whether it’s learning to speak French, to dance the Tango, have a go at First Aid, cooking, or juggling, learning new skills helps to keep our brains sharp and active. It also opens us up to finding new passions, making new friends and creating great memories. We all have things we’d like to have a go at but never do. Why? Firstly, because we just don’t prioritise new experiences, but life is all about experiences, they are what make our lives rich and keep us interesting as well as interested. Secondly, we often hold back out of a fear of not being good at something; we don’t let ourselves be beginners. The older we get the more used to being ‘good’ at things we are. We tend to live lives where we do similar things each day, things we’ve become fairly accomplished at, maybe even experts at. So, to have to go back to being a beginner can feel hard. The trick is to release all the pressure and expectations and simply remind yourself that you are there to have fun, to have a go no matter how ‘good’ you are, that you don’t have to ‘get it’ in the first lesson (or even the tenth), you are simply there to experience something new. When you give yourself permission to be absolutely crap at something it’s amazing how everything shifts. Give it a try, you’ll probably suprise yourself and might even discover a new talent.
Reinventing yourself, when it comes from a place of love (not trying to ‘fix’ yourself or prove anything) is a way to bring more passion and pleasure into your life. And who doesn’t deserve to have more of that? So if you’ve got a desire to go blonde, to go from jeans and t-shirt casual mum to super sexy glamour queen (or vice versa), discover your inner thespian, or spend a month in Paris penning a novel and drinking endless cups of cafe au lait, then now just might be the perfect time.