How to start over when you’re alone at 50

A few years ago, my life turned completely upside down.

One day, I had the rest of my life all planned out and laid ahead of me. The next, I woke up and I was alone. At 50.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re going through something similar. I know how you feel, and you’re not really alone… because I’m here to help you get through everything.

In this article I will share a bit of my story and tell you exactly what I did to turn my life around —  and how you can too.

So grab your favorite drink and let’s get started!

1) Stop focusing on your age and relationship status

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I don’t know about you, but to me 50 felt like a very awkward age to be starting over.

I knew I still had many years ahead of me, yet I somehow felt like it was too late or embarrassing for me to try to do anything. Everywhere I looked I saw happy newlyweds and teenage Instagram influencers, and they all reminded me that I was 50, and alone.

That became my rebuttal to nearly every idea I or a well-meaning friend came up with.

  • “Why don’t you explore a new hobby?” Um, I’m 50. It’s too late for new hobbies.
  • “How about starting a new business?” I’d have no idea what I’m doing, and nobody starts from scratch at 50.
  • “Have you thought about trying online dating?” You’re kidding, right?

It became like a one-size-fits-all excuse, a crutch I leaned on whenever something sounded too scary or complicated.

Many of my friends of my age had successful businesses, happy marriages, and a fantastic view to wake up to every morning. I felt like I was completely behind where I was supposed to be at 50, and like there was no way to catch up, and nobody to support me.

But only one thing was making my age and relationship status a limitation. And that’s my own belief that it was.

I threw these judgments out of my head, and stopped comparing myself to others. Their path was theirs to walk — and I needed to keep going down mine. You and I have something few people get to experience: the chance to reinvent ourselves.

This mindset change was the first key for me to start over alone at 50.

Since then, I’ve been able to find an amazing partner, start a new fulfilling career, and transform my life into something I’m excited to wake up to every morning. It wasn’t easy, but I proved to myself that nobody is ever too old for a new start.

2) Let yourself feel freely

When you’re alone at 50, you might be going through many emotions. I know I sure did!

Scared, anxious, sad, regretful, resentful, hopeless, a little hopeful… I went through all of those in less than five minutes.

I hated feeling that way. So I pushed all those feelings down and tried to cover them up as best as I could.

But no matter how hard I tried, I could always feel them under the surface. Sometimes something would tug on one of them ever so slightly. Other times, they nearly erupted to the surface.

One day I was too exhausted to keep trying to bottle them up. As I lay in bed, I let all those feelings wash over me. I imagined them being (unwelcome) residents in my mind, filing in through the doors I had flung open. I even said hello to each one mentally and identified what each one was. Hello, grief… hi, fear… hey there, envy.

I let each emotion fill my whole body and say whatever it had to say. It was far from pleasant, but I had no strength to fight back anymore.

And you know what?

Once I allowed myself to feel freely, I didn’t have to keep bottling the anger and sandess up. They left on their own. I found myself less and less weighed down by them, and recovering my previous energy and motivation for living my life.

I realized much later, when talking to a therapist, that this is an incredibly powerful technique for processing emotions and pain. It’s important to give yourself time to grieve — whether it’s the loss of a partner who was a big part of your life, a job, or simply your old way of living.

If it’s too overwhelming for you to do alone, I highly encourage trying it with a professional therapist, or someone you trust.

3) Get out of the house

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I had many painful periods of my life when all I wanted to do is hide under the covers. And finding myself alone at 50 was definitely one of them.

Nothing and nobody could convince me to get out of bed, let alone leave my apartment… except maybe pizza deliveries.

I was lucky to have a very good friend who saw my misery and helped me out of it time and time again. She coaxed me to put on some decent clothes and go outside.

Now, you might be imagining us going crazy at a club… or attending those super uncomfortable singles events. But all we did was sit on my terrace. That’s all I could manage to do for a while.

But soon the terrace became my driveway, then my block, and pretty soon I was going around town feeling much more like myself.

If you’re in a similar situation as I was, I hope you have a friend like this who can do the same for you.

But if not, let me be that friend.

It doesn’t have to be today, but promise me that sometime over the next week you’ll get into an outfit that makes you feel good and get out of the house. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes at first.

Then when you feel ready, find ways to engage in your community. You’ll feel much more grounded, build more relationships, and find your way forward into your new life.

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Aim to spend at least 30 minutes each day in nature or fresh air.
  • Get to know your area better and try to discover a new place each week.
  • Talk to or get to know your neighbors more.
  • Volunteer in your community (ask around if you don’t have any ideas for how).
  • Find a book club or other group of interest you can participate in.

4) Find the power inside you

Let me tell you one of my secrets.

This is probably THE thing that helped me the most when I was alone and struggling at 50.

You see, I desperately wanted to change my life. I wanted to wake up in a different reality, or for my surroundings to somehow magically morph into something else. I felt angry and complained to myself that my circumstances were keeping me trapped.

And then I learned something that changed everything.

I realized that I couldn’t keep blaming everything around me (as good as it felt sometimes!). This was my life — and I had to take responsibility for it. Nobody had more power to change it than I did.

I reached deep within me to claim my personal power — and slowly but surely, I began to shift my reality into exactly what I wanted it to be.

How did I do this?

I owe it all to the shaman Rudá Iandê. He helped me undo many of the self-sabotaging beliefs I held that were damaging my outlook, and the way I approached my life.

His approach is different from all the other so-called “gurus” out there. He believes the way to take charge of your life should start with empowering yourself — not suppressing emotions, not judging others, but forming a pure connection with who you are at your core.

For me, all these incredible changes started by watching one eye-opening video.

Now I’m sharing it with you so that you can do the same.

Click here to watch the free video.

5) Invest in your health

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I’m certainly not a pessimist, and I know for a fact that 50 is still a great age to start over (I’ve done it and am thriving!)

But there’s one thing I had to admit to myself. I’m not getting any younger. My body and health isn’t what it used to be.

And when I was in the clutches of grief and despair, I almost let myself go too far.

I ate like a pig and barely stepped out of the house for a time. I didn’t care about taking care of my health at all — I never really led a healthy lifestyle to begin with, and what’s the point of starting now, at 50?

Thankfully, I snapped out of it before I made things even worse. Now, I’m not in perfect condition — but I have enough energy to enjoy my life fully, and I have even seen improvements in my health issues that I never thought possible.

If you haven’t lived a healthy lifestyle until now, know that it’s never too late to start. I won’t bore you with science, but there are countless studies that prove you can become significantly less stressed, depressed, and unhappy by adopting healthy habits at any age.

Start with the basics:

  • Exercise regularly (even walking, yoga, and cleaning counts as exercise!)
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get some fresh air and sunlight every day
  • Get quality sleep and wake up at the same time every day
  • Meditate regularly

6) Review your finances

Your mindset, health, and community are all amazing tools to start over when you’re alone at 50.

But of course, life doesn’t run on just positive energy. Your financial wellness matters too, so now’s the best time to set things on the right track.

The first thing you need to do is be honest about your financial situation. This was probably the hardest step for me. I was in denial about where I found myself in life, and nothing could convince me to make any changes. I made every excuse under the sun.

But when I finally admitted to myself that I was on my own and needed to act responsibly, everything else followed much more easily than I thought.

These three steps will get you started:

  • Make sure splitting the assets is all settled if you are going through a separation or a divorce.
  • Take a look at how much you have saved, and whether you have any debts to pay off.
  • Factor in how a big change will affect your retirement plan.
  • Look into your insurance policies and check how your new situation will affect your healthcare.

After you’ve got the basics, you can consider how much you would like to spend and save and make adjustments to your lifestyle accordingly.

I found I was able to cut out a lot of things I had thought were “necessary”, simply because I was living with them for so long. Perhaps there are some subscriptions, premium services, or frequent purchases that no longer serve you.

If you’re currently employed, you may want to wait it out a bit longer. If you aren’t, it may be smart to look for an income stream, even if it is not what you ultimately want to be doing.

Even if it’s not what you ultimately want to be doing, financial stability is really important and it will help you make the changes you want to make as smoothly as possible.

7) Learn or try something new every week

Once you’ve gotten the right mindset and the fundamentals explained above, it’s time for the fun to begin.

This is where you start putting yourself out there, pushing your boundaries, and getting out of your comfort zone.

Wait, did I say this was fun?

To be honest, for me it was a roller coaster. There were times I dragged myself out of the apartment, and others when I turned around and went back home just meters away from my destination.

There were definitely days that felt not so much fun as completely terrifying.

But others felt exhilarating, uncovered my new passion, and led me to meet some of my best friends and soulmate.

These are the days that make it all worth it ten times over. The trick is to not expect to have those days all the time. You need to allow yourself some off days. You don’t have to do things perfectly (and it’s pointless to expect yourself to).

But ultimately, you need to keep trying. The thing about starting over when you’re alone at 50 is that there needs to be a new beginning. That means you can’t just keep doing what you’ve been doing until now. You need to break the pattern, and that will feel a little uncomfortable at first.

Your reward for pushing through that discomfort is the opening of any new door you want. You’re going to discover new friends, a new career, a new path in life that makes your soul sing.

If it’s too much all at once, start small and then gradually go for newer and newer ideas.

  • Read a new book every week
  • Try to talk to one new person each day
  • Try out your friends’ hobbies together with them
  • Join a club and stick to it for at least 3 months
  • Learn a new skill, such as quilting or Photoshop
  • Find ways to help out with things you love doing

8) Out with the old, in with the new

When you discover new things and people you want in your life, you will need to make room for them.

Start in the most literal sense and declutter your living space.

You might have accumulated loads of stuff over the years that don’t serve you anymore. Though you may barely glance at them in your day-to-day life, these are like anchors that are holding you tethered to the life you used to live.

Get the weight of those unnecessary possessions off your shoulders by donating or selling them. You might be surprised how much a clear space relates to a clear mind!

Do the same thing with your habits, activities, and commitments. Cut anything that no longer serves you or doesn’t fit into the life you want to build.

This is also a great time to have a hard look at yourself and be honest with yourself about your flaws.

Is there anything about yourself you want to do better at, or wish you could change? The good news is you can. When you let these parts of yourself go and do the work to improve yourself, you’ll cut the ropes that are holding you back from being who you want to be.

Invest your new time and space into researching and building your new life:

  • Make a vision board for what you want your life to look like
  • Make an active and conscious effort to forgive yourself and others for the past
  • Declutter your home and optimize your environment for the lifestyle you want
  • Become friends with people doing what you want to do
  • Look for opportunities to use the skills you want to develop
  • Work on improving yourself and developing the traits you want

9) Make a life plan

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Lots of people discover new interests, goals, and passions. But very few ever make anything of them. They keep on living in the same old patterns and routines.

What does it take to build a life filled with exciting opportunities and passion-fueled adventures?

Most of us hope for a life like that, but we feel stuck, unable to achieve the goals we wishfully set at the start of each year.

I felt the same way until I took part in Life Journal. Created by teacher and life coach Jeanette Brown, this was the ultimate wake-up call I needed to stop dreaming about starting over and start taking action.

Click here to find out more about Life Journal.

So what makes Jeanette’s guidance more effective than other self-development programs?

It’s simple:

Jeanette’s created a unique way of putting YOU in control of your life.

She’s not interested in telling you how to live your life. Instead, she’ll give you lifelong tools that’ll help you achieve all your goals, keeping the focus on what you’re passionate about.

And that’s what makes Life Journal so powerful.

If you’re ready to truly start over and start living the life you’ve always dreamt of, you need to check out Jeanette’s advice. Who knows, today could be the first day of your new life.

Here’s the link once again.

10) Be patient and kind with yourself

People usually start over during dark times. You might have lost your partner, your job, or your home. Things you’ve invested years of your life into are suddenly ripped away from you.

No matter the specifics, starting over when you’re alone at 50 is rarely done quickly or easily.

There will be good days, bad days, and days when you question everything. Honor those feelings and give yourself space to mourn your losses.

You can’t expect yourself to work through all of your emotions before you start over. So don’t wait “to feel ready” and let time go to waste. Be prepared for this to be a continuous and gradual process, like keeping a lake clean while dust and leaves continue to fall into it.

I’ve been through all these ups and downs myself, so I completely understand how it feels. But always remember, you CAN start over, even when you’re alone at 50.

You’ve gotten an incredible chance at a fresh start, so embrace it. All your options are open. You don’t need to feel bad for being excited about something new even while you process agony or heartbreak.

Throughout your journey of starting over, it’s important to focus on what you can control, and accept what you can’t.

Here are some tips that helped me the most:

  • Use affirmations to remind yourself that you CAN start over and will be stronger than before.
  • Make a daily gratitude practice.
  • Keep a bullet journal to process your feelings and track your progress.
  • Break down big goals into small steps.
  • Celebrate every win — even the small ones.
  • Reach out to close family or friends for support when you need it.
  • Find a counselor to talk to (many are covered by insurance if money is an issue)

Living your new dream life

Congratulations! By reading this guide, you’ve taken the first step to starting over.

I hope my story has served as some inspiration for you, and that you’ve gotten some helpful insights that can motivate you along your journey.

If you need more guidance, be sure to check out the courses I referenced above, and spend some time looking around Ideapod. And feel free to reach out to me or any of our other writers — we are all here to support each other.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all the best!

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Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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