Ten things to master during your 50s

Start a journal

Our thoughts and views on the world are likely to change over time, so it’s important to keep a log of how you’ve developed as a person over the years. This is especially important as we navigate our 50s and need to start considering things we may have never thought about before, such as the finer details of your retirement or the world our kids will grow up in.

Keeping a journal also has many personal benefits such as helping you relieve stress or anxiety by channeling your thoughts into something constructive and calming. If you’re tech-savvy enough for it, you can also look into starting a video journal, which allows you to share your ideas with others.

Become an expert 

Our brains have picked up all sorts of useful information over the past 50 years, all we need to do is unlock the most important parts that matter to us. Regardless of education or past success, we all have an area of expertise that we know more about than others. It could be relationship navigation, career growth, personal fulfillment, or even something as trivial as how to avoid the occasional bout of reflux or indigestion.

Once you’ve found an area that you have plenty of life experience in, it’s a good idea to start sharing your insight with friends, family, or even with the rest of the world by starting a blog.

Adopt a pet

Whether you’re a long-time pet lover or just need that extra bit of company, adopting a cat or dog from your local shelter could be the perfect way to satisfy your itch. Thousands of pets across Australia are homeless and in desperate need of a forever friend. Joining forces with a pet can give you a new sense of purpose and connection which many of us are lacking. Plus, there are endless health benefits of owning a cat or dog.

The great thing about adopting from a shelter is that you don’t need to go through the busy and stressful 12 months of raising a young animal. Most shelter animals are already old enough to live independently and come with micro-chips and an up-to-date vaccination schedule. That means less work for those of us who want to jump straight into the fun times.

Start a side hustle

Australia’s gig economy is on the rise (PDF), which represents a perfect opportunity for those of us with extra skills to offer. The great thing about working as a freelancer is that it allows you to supplement your income in your own time without feeling tied down. Plus, you’ll be setting yourself up with valuable contacts and industry skills which you can make use of if your regular job slowed down or ended.

Start thinking about retirement

Closing the loop on our careers might still be a while away, but there’s no harm in thinking ahead, especially if you have extensive plans after you retire. You don’t need to have a concrete plan just yet but any small efforts you start making today can have a big impact when the time finally comes. Common retirement planning strategies include:

  • figuring out how much money you’ll need
  • making sure your superannuation is in order
  • fixing up your home in case you plan on downsizing or selling
  • creating a list of activities you’d like to do.

Reconnect with your past

Your life and social circle have likely changed over the past 5 decades, which usually means there may be plenty of friends or family members you no longer keep in touch with. Reigniting these past relationships can be a healthy way to reflect on how much has changed over the years and could also help widen your friendship circle. Whether it’s a former partner, a childhood friend, or even school acquaintances, you can use Facebook to track them down and reach out for a chat.

Make your health a priority

This might sound like common sense but we’re all guilty of putting our health on hold from time to time. Given the higher risk of certain illnesses as we get older, this is the time to really put our health front and centre. That means committing more time to exercise, eating healthy, and having regular check-ups at the doctor. If other plans get in the way, consider working around or cancelling them. It’s time to put our health first!

Consider your insurance needs

Insurance is designed to help manage your risk of financial loss. While it’s never a good time to be faced with financial worries, our 50s can be particularly full of potential set-backs. That’s why it’s a good idea to look into protecting the things you’ve worked hard for – whether it’s your home with Home & Contents Insurance, your car with Car Insurance, or even Life Insurance to protect your family’s financial future. Speak to a financial advisor if you’re unsure about your personal needs.

Plant a tree

Spending more time with nature can be surprisingly therapeutic so why not get involved in the action? Planting a tree is great for the ecosystem and allows you to give back to the world you’ve lived in. Plus, it can act like a personal family heirloom for your loved ones and even give you a renewed sense of purpose by watching it grow. 

You can plant a tree on your own property or you can adopt one through an environmental group.

Stop regretting the past

It’s normal to feel anxious about your past but procrastinating on it for too long can hold you back from enjoying the future. Try to forget about your regrets or shortcomings and focus on the things you can do right now, such as offering a helping hand to someone who may need it.

This article is an opinion only, provided for general information purposes and shouldn’t be considered or relied upon as professional or personal advice. If you have legal, tax, or financial questions, you should contact an appropriate professional.