Life after 50 can be a wonderful and exciting time but it can also bring challenges – coping with the empty nest, downsizing, loss of loved ones and experiencing the ‘what’s next’ feeling. My next guest, in the Over 50 & Thriving series, is Sam from Loving the Fifty Something. When I read Sam’s post, I thought how much of what she had written would resonate with us all. I loved how she is embracing life in such a positive way.
Sam and her partner, Jon certainly have made some huge lifestyle changes. They have proven that if you have the courage to take a leap of faith you will Thrive. Be sure to check out Sam’s website and connect with her on social media, through the links at the end of her post.
Thrive After 50 by changing your lifestyle
Life for me, as for most people, has been a rollercoaster ride. I’ve certainly had my ups and downs, but now I’m in my fifties I see each experience, whether good or bad as a learning curve and when I look back on my life I think of it as being mostly happy, but the biggest thought which goes through my mind is…”Wow, my life so far has gone so fast – Slow down!”
I’ve spent my life following the ‘norm’, going through School, College then finding work, trying to find that career path that may, but never did really suit me. Whatever job I did, I always put 100% of myself into it, because my dad always told me, “If you’re going to do a job, do it right and to the best of your ability” I have worked in many different roles most of my life: in make-up artistry; training; retail; administration and in management. I’ve even helped develop one and I solely developed two very different thriving business’s. I have and continue to enjoy my varied working life.
Life so far, has also included two close family bereavements, which I now realise had a big affect on me personally. I had a happy marriage followed by a sad divorce and along that journey was blessed with two beautiful sons and I feel so lucky to have had a second chance at the ‘love thing’ by meeting my partner and best friend Jon many years ago and with whom I am now happy and have so much fun with, we laugh – a lot!
I wrote a post for my blog a few months ago called ‘Living the Dream’ where, after realising I was going through the ‘empty nest’ time of my life when the kids had flown and you turn around and realise you’re left in a house which seems empty and well…so quiet.
I hated it!
For the first time, I wasn’t happy in that house! I missed the noise that drove me nuts for years, I missed the many young boys and girls who used to be in and out of the house at all times, I missed the sibling arguments, the rushing to School, the mess, the constant open fridge, I could go on and on, I think most of you will know what I mean…I just missed living with my boys, but it was as if all of a sudden I was standing in the middle of the house spinning round and….they’d flown – Gone.
I wasn’t ready for it. I hadn’t prepared myself for it. I’d been too busy to realise it was happening. What I did realise though, at that moment, was them growing up to becoming fine young men from being my tiny babies went by in a Flash!
At the same time I was experiencing the ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’, I’d also turned 50 and started to ask myself – so what now? Do we just keep going as we are, working our ass’s off to pay the mortgage and bills for a house which we didn’t really need anymore or is there an alternative? It actually didn’t take Jon and myself long to figure this out.
The ‘what next’ in mine and Jon’s minds was to sell up, that being my house, which we were happy in and my business, which I was proud of and move onto a boat called ‘Head in the Clouds’, a broad beamed canal barge which has been in our lives for years, we’d bought it as an empty rusty shell, it was a project which Jon mainly has been working on and the idea was that we’d love to live on it one day and travel around the British canals, but realistically, as life got in the way, we weren’t sure if it would ever happen – it was a bit of a dream.
It was scary selling my business and house, I had and still do have a few ‘jittery’ moments because it meant jumping out of a ‘comfort zone’, but I think a big driving force for me personally was the loss of my dad around thirty years ago. He died in his late 50’s, he’d worked hard all his life, had set up a very successful business from nothing and had only just retired when we lost him to cancer.
Our family was also to have another tragedy with the loss of my brother ten years later. I believe because of this I have the view that time isn’t for wasting, life is precious, it’s for living and we have to grasp every opportunity we can to be able to live life to the full.
I’m a firm believer that if you aren’t happy in any way, then look at how you can change things.
It may be a small change or quite a radical change and believe me, I know it may be quite daunting stepping away from that comfort zone, but changing something can give you a totally new avenue of life and new challenges, (in a good way).
Since moving onto the boat, we’ve not looked back. We don’t miss the house at all, in fact we absolutely love living on the boat and although it has it’s challenges, we feel quite free.
I am learning about solar power, inverters and battery banks, our water tank gives us around a weeks worth of water before we have to fill up, the toilet on a boat is – interesting, we wrestle with an LPG gas tank every time the gas runs out, (which surprisingly isn’t too often) we’re always on the look out for floating tree trunks or logs in the canals, which there are surprisingly a lot of, so we can lift them out, dry, chop up and use on the log burner, (not only does this keep us warm through Winter, and gives us hot water, but it also helps keep the canals clear as logs block the lock gates and damages boats) and we love it when the sun comes out, not because we can top up our tans, but because it gives us electricity, I love this concept – sunshine allows me to use a hairdryer!
I am loving my fifties!
Making the decisions we have, has given me personally, a new lease of life. It wasn’t an easy direction to take, but with the blessing from my boys and family, it was definitely the right one.
Living on the boat and also having a camper van gives us the freedom to find different views from our windows on a regular basis, we love to travel, stay fit, mountain bike and walk with our dogs, we boogie board or surf when by the sea and we always get excited when the Winter months are approaching because we love to snowboard.
After turning fifty and changing our lifestyle, I feel personally, I have become a calmer, happier person.
Life used to be so fast paced, I used to run around in all directions just trying to keep up with work and life, usually with me feeling I wasn’t getting anywhere, but time no longer flies by at such speed because I have slowed down my pace of life in order to enjoy every minute.
That doesn’t mean doing less, we are constantly busy, we are thinking more about our health, wellbeing and fitness. I finally found a way to lessen stresses and take a step back. I feel I am thriving, which is why I started to blog.
I started blogging just over a year ago and love it. My blog Loving the Fifty Something is about enjoying the Mid life years, stepping out of comfort zones, experiencing new things, trying to stay fit and healthy and generally shouting out for the over 50’s.
Life on a boat certainly isn’t for everyone, far from it, but life is so precious, so make sure you give it the best chance by steering it in a direction where it doesn’t pass you by so quickly.
If you are not happy about something then try making a change, even a small change can make all the difference to you and your family and you certainly don’t have to wait until you’re fifty to do so 🙂
Thank you Sue for asking me to be a part of your series, Over 50 and thriving
Have you ever changed your lifestyle? What was your experience like?