Their hunger to build connections was strong. Some of the women retired from successful careers; some were invited to retire from careers they loved. Some were looking for employment. Some of the women had children who lived far from home and were raising their own children. Some of the women were widowed or divorced. They shared a common desire to build relationships with other women who were over 50.
There is an increasing number of magazines, websites, and programs designed for women over 50. Featured topics typically include makeup and beauty tips, weight loss and recipes (a bit of an oxymoron), and articles to relieve joint pain and body aches.
I recently discovered an article called 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get by Jason Nazar, a successful 30-something entrepreneur who wanted to motivate 20-something young professionals. Nazar admits, “I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I see this generation making their own.” His words of advice and caution to 20-year-olds offer something meaningful to me and 50-something-women of my generation:
Time is Not a Limitless Commodity. Nazar explains, “In our 20s, we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want.” I believe the same is true when we are in our 30s, 40s, and 50s. “Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance and can never get back,” Nazar wisely adds. We must make the most of opportunities we have today because there are no guarantees we will have the same opportunities tomorrow.
Social Media Provides Opportunities to Connect. Social media provides marvelous venues to connect with others. For example, I offer tips to encourage others to confidently pursue their passions on my Take Action Blog at www.DrJulieConnor.com. I love to post inspirational quotations, books, and things I find interesting on Pinterest and Twitter. I share photographs and check in on family and friends on Facebook and Instagram.
There are many blogs and opportunities to discuss common issues on discussion boards and forums. However, we must be careful not to become dependent upon social media to replace relationships with family and friends. We are fortunate when opportunities allow us to transform social media contacts into authentic relationships.
Pick Up the Phone. Nazar insists, “Stop hiding behind your computer.” He adds, “It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person.” This wise caution reminds us of the value of face-to-face contact. If you want to build connections with others, you can find a group with members who share your professional or goal-related interests.
Attend a class at your local college or church. Local Chamber of Commerce groups, libraries, and community centers provide information and resources within your area. Check out Meetup.com groups in your community; they provide camaraderie across a wide range of ages and interests.
Read More Books, Fewer Tweets/Texts. Nazar tells 20-somethings,“Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters: all breadth and no depth.” He encourages 20-somethings to read books. Most 50-somethings enjoy the feel of a book’s paper pages between our fingers – or the touch of a Kindle screen as we select new eBooks. There are also many community book clubs hosted at local libraries, community centers, and churches. You can also find online book clubs on sites for avid readers such as Goodreads. Large publishing houses such as Doubleday Book Club also jumped on the online book club bandwagon.
Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do. “You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do,” Nazar warns 20-year-olds. The same is true for 50-somethings. Sooner or later, you must find the courage you need to do what you want and step out to meet the people you want to meet. Stop waiting for the right time or the right circumstances. The right time is now.
Use Your Lessons to Propel You Forward. We made many mistakes when we are in our 20s because we had less experience; the information we glean from our mistakes becomes the wisdom we need in our 50s to guide our decisions.
Challenges are issues of perception; you can interpret them as obstacles that block you from moving forward – or important arrows that point you where you want to go. Wear your lessons learned like a badge of honor and move forward with pride. Trust yourself to make good decisions as you explore new opportunities.
Act “As If.” Nazar encourages 20-somethings to identify a mentor or role model whose behavior and words you admire. He suggests, “If you were (name of a person you admire), how would he or she carry themselves, make decisions, or accomplish goals?” Consider this tip when walking into a new social situation or trying a new task. Or insert your own name and imagine your most courageous self walking confidently into a new situation. “You’ve got to fake it until you make it,” he adds.
You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated. It is not what we know that adds value and meaning to our lives; it is what we do with what we know. Make a list of the things you would most like to do. Create goals that will help you transform your ideas into a plan of action. The first step begins with doing something. Take one step forward.
Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, said, “If you own your own story, you get to write the ending.” Every day provides another opportunity to release and let go of what was and explore all of the adventures that lie ahead of you. Step into a new chapter of your story today. You are the author. You decide how your next chapter will be written.
What would I do if I were 20 years younger? Why not do it now?