I’m 48 and consider myself a very late bloomer. I feel behind in so many ways and like I’m running out of time to do and have the things I want in life. As a result, I spend too much time ruminating about the past and worrying about the future, which wastes time. I want to find a way to shift my mindset and appreciate any advice.
This sounds insensitive, but I have to be honest — you are 100% wrong. I know I should say you are entitled to feel what you feel, but…no. You’re not. From where I’m sitting, 48 is young. I’d love to be 48 again. You have so many good, juicy, fascinating years ahead of you. I don’t know what you wanted to do in life, but unless you wanted to have quintuplets, I don’t see any problems.
It’s irrational to have thoughts that don’t serve you or anyone else. Ruminating about the past doesn’t do you or anyone else any good. The past is over, so constantly thinking about what you can’t change doesn’t serve you, and constant thoughts that don’t serve you make no sense. Worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, and may never happen — those thoughts also don’t serve you, or anyone. Again, irrational. So, in that whirring brain of yours, what thoughts might you have that would be of use, and not make you feel like shit? Replace those ruminations and worries by having thoughts about what you might want to do now, what could you do in the present, and what actions might you want to take in the future. THAT makes total sense.
Possibly, though obviously you can be in your 80s and still rock the Oval Office. (Though why you’d want to be President, I don’t know.) Want to be a senator? Doable, though you might want to start out as a state senator or councilperson. Want to start your own business? Go ahead! So many women older than you have built successful businesses (Linda Rodin leaps to mind.) Write out a business plan today. Wanted to have a “fancier “job than you have? Think about what your experience, wisdom, and skills can contribute to a company, craft a great resume, start networking and get going.
Are you concerned about relationships? I know you’ve seen enough movies, TV series, and ads for over-50 dating sites that should tell you it’s not over. Hell, I didn’t get married until I was your age, so I’m sure it’s possible. Plus, you will pick a much better person than you would have at 25. I’m sure about that, too.
I’ll tell you about my regrets. I always wanted to learn boxing or another martial art. Now, at 61, my arthritic knees and bad back make taking classes impossible. I was sad about it, but I’m going to look into getting a trainer who can let me focus on beating people up just using my upper body. (From a lounger would be ideal. A girl can dream, can’t she?) And that’s just it, dream. I’m betting that whatever you wish you’d done you can still do. Maybe not the way you would have done it, but on the other hand, your age gives you experience that may help you do it better, or at least in a way better suited to you.
All our hindsight gives us insight.Dixie Laite
My advice is this: When you catch yourself having a thought about the past or future, and it’s not serving you, replace it with different thoughts. Focus on thinking about what you could do now that can lead you to the life you’re so worried you didn’t live or won’t live. We can’t change the past or insure any future, so the only thing we can do is make choices that serve us in the present or serve a goal we’ve set for ourselves.
This is actually great news! It takes away this plethora of imagined choices and useless regrets that are overwhelming you. Adopt a narrow, almost laser-like focus on the now. Make that your new mindset. This will serve you and help you escape all that anxiety.
Give it a try. Believe me, I have been there. (I often still AM there.) I do know what you mean. But the 61-year-old me is mad at the 48-year-old me who didn’t know how good she had it. Still, I don’t let myself stay mad; that won’t help me. I just hope I can focus on the 61-year-old now I will be certain to envy in five, 10 years’ time.
Good luck, and tell me how you’re doing.
P.S. You might enjoy reading:
Late bloomer: starting a career, creative passion, and parenting in my 40s
Got a question for Dixie? Email her at dixie [at] jumbleandflow.com.
Dixie Laite has been a second-grade teacher and mechanical bull operator, and for the past 25 years she’s worked for a variety of TV networks as a writer, editorial director, trainer, advice columnist, even an on-air personality. But primarily she’s trotted around New York City in one cowboy shirt or another, lurking around flea markets, gyms, and anywhere they’ll hand her French toast. Currently she lounges around her apartment with one husband, one dog, five parrots, and roughly 2,000 pairs of shoes. Dixie is the main lady behind Age Against the Machine, a column about empowering women over 50. Sign up for the Jumble & Flowdown newsletter to stay in the know about Dixie’s latest columns.
Follow Dixie on Instagram @dixielaite
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