The path to relevance has shifted for me during the past 3 years. Initially, my focus was meeting the expectations of people at work as well as my friends and family. However, years of balancing commitments to others has made me look for something deeper and more personal.
I am not alone when it comes to shifting my focus during Act 2.5. To understand the change, I researched this topic and learned that early in our careers, the goals we set year after year lean toward work and family. However, priorities change as we age and can be difficult to define for women over 50.
In our 30’s it’s about making career and family choices; at 40 we look for our life purpose, so the quest for relevance becomes more of a journey. We reflect on past achievements, take an inventory of our current situation and consider future possibilities.
Dr. Marcia Reynold’s research study published in Psychology Today, showed that women over 50 tend to focus on their legacy. Which she stated as, “a yearning to ensure age-defying relevance and to discover how you can be seen as valuable. Also define what you will do, to share the wisdom you gained over the years”. This study from 2013 is also referenced in her book Wander Woman.
In addition, Dr. Reynold’s developed categories and key questions you should ask yourself when determining how you want to stay relevant in Act 2.5:
Achievements: What have I accomplished that I am proud of? Does this work still fulfill me or is the joy disappearing? Is there something I need to leave behind in order to move forward?
Self-Exploration: Is there something more important and fulfilling that I can focus on now? What conversations am I having that bring me alive? What do I dare doing?
Purpose: What do I want more of in my life? What desires are starting to emerge? What experiences have provided me with a feeling of freedom and joy?
Growth: What have I been afraid to do? What step can I take now to find out what is on the other side?
Taking the time to consider these questions will help you determine your life’s path. As life progresses, your needs shift and the world around you is changing too. In order to move forward with this journey, it will be important to make connections with other women who are experiencing the same thing. Together you can share ideas, and along the way learn a lot about yourself. Like the saying goes, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”