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Now what? What to do after you’ve done it all

If you find yourself in this position – congratulations on a life well lived!  Many people, if not most, tend to come to their mid-fifties or sixties and feel deeply disappointed in themselves because of the way their lives “turned out.”

Or, maybe you’re not feeling disappointed, but simply feeling lost and curious about what to do next. Most of our lives we’ve been conditioned to believe that you grow up, graduate from high school, go to college, get married, have a career, have kids, retire.  But, that really is a short-sighted and limited view of how life is.

Life does not follow a straight line. Ever. Life takes turns; sometimes it meanders; sometimes it requires hard effort; sometimes it stagnates. But, if you’re over 50, I’m sure you’ve figured this out already.

If you are at a stage in life where you’ve done EVERYTHING (obvious hyperbole) then this article has a list of suggestions for how to finish well.

  1. Start a business.  Using the knowledge you have of yourself, start a business. You could either begin a business based on what you’ve already done in the past, or you can start a business based on a dream you’ve always had.
  2. Write. You can write a book based on any topic you’re interested in. In today’s “independent author” world you don’t need to get a big name publisher to help you publish your book. You can do it all on your own by finding a good self-publishing venue.You can start a blog. Write about a topic that interests you. People love to read blogs. You can write about any topic you choose and I’m sure you’ll find an audience in like-minded individuals.Write articles for periodicals or online blog spots. Check out (Help A Reporter Out) and see if there are any audiences interested in what you have to say.
  3. Start a new hobby. You can take up any hobby you want: weight lifting, painting, bowling, furniture re-upholstery, knitting, gardening, crafting, photography…The list is endless.
  4. Develop yourself. Work on your “issues.”  Go to therapy. Go on a mission of self-discovery and open the closet door and look at the skeletons.  Join a support group. Get involved with others on the same journey of self discovery.
  5. Travel. Be it road trips, trips to other countries, or cruises. Plan your itinerary, develop your budget, and make it happen.
  6. Begin a new career.  This could involve starting your own business, or it could mean planning a new course of action, going to school, and then getting hired by someone else. Have you always wanted to be a teacher? A nurse? A party organizer? Whatever you’ve always wanted to do that you haven’t done yet, now’s the time to do it. If it requires going back to school, start registering for school and get going. Remember, age is just a number; and besides, no matter how old you are you still have a life to live. Why not just keep on living it doing the things you love?
  7. Set new goals. This is encompassing of all the other suggestions, but still deserves mention. As long as you’re alive its healthy to set new goals. Keeping your mind active is essential to living a quality of life no matter what your age. Even if the goals are small, such as, organize a closet, or big, such as plan a new career, it is helpful to set goals to obtain. This keeps you looking forward to something new each day. This keeps you motivated and forward thinking.
  8. Start a project. Any project – from sewing a quilt, to painting a room, to redecorating your house. You could refinish furniture, redesign your wardrobe, plant a garden, or plan a  party. The options are endless.  It is invigorating and exciting to work on projects from beginning to end.
  9. Invest in animals. You could invest in a common pet, such as a dog or cat; or, you could liven things up a little and go for something more exotic, such as a bird or fish tank. If you go with the latter, you may discover that setting up and maintaining an aviary or an aquarium can become a full-time job! Owning pets can be very rewarding. They provide warmth, companionship, and purpose. Depending on the type of animal you choose to invest in, you can spend a lot or a little bit of your daily life committed to the experience.
  10. Volunteer. There are many places to find meaningful volunteer opportunities. You can work with kids – tutoring or coaching. You can volunteer your time as a mentor to younger people wanting to learn skills from your professional life. If you are a member of a church there are many opportunities to do missionary work, teach children or adults, volunteer to help with administration or planning. Libraries, hospitals, schools, and community centers also provide a variety of options for using your skills and passions.

No matter how old you are, always remember that each day is a gift and all we have is today. Live each day to the best of your ability, with no regrets. If you find yourself feeling stale or stagnant, go for a walk and determine what you’re going to do today that best serves your future self.

Now what? What to do after you’ve done it all

Sharie Stines

Sharie Stines, PsyD, CATC-V, is a therapist and life coach specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma, and helping people overcome the damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma, and dysfunctional relationships. She has conducted extensive research, taught classes, and provided counseling to narcissistic and borderline families, and people struggling with attachment-based parental alienation. Sharie is a writer, a consultant, and a counselor.

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APA Reference
, . (2018). Now what? What to do after you’ve done it all. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 15, 2019, from


Last updated: 14 Aug 2018
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