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15

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life reimagined

4 of us in Russia

When I was a little girl, I imagined I would grow up, work in a corporate job, get married and have children. I imagined cooking for my family in our house, probably on Long Island, and going on vacations to the same tourist spots my parents took my sister and me.

What actually happened was that, although I am happily married and have two amazing kids, I hated working in corporate jobs and was totally uninterested in cooking. We never bought a house on Long Island or visited Williamsburg, Virginia or Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Instead, we lived in a Manhattan apartment overlooking the East River, and took the kids to Europe and Alaska. When my husband was offered a job in California, we laughed and rolled our eyes. I mean, really, who leaves New York?

Well, we did. We’ve been living in San Diego for the past 16 years. And we can’t imagine moving back.

Now, at the age of 55, I feel like I’m going through another transition period. My husband has retired, my youngest is graduating college next week and I’m working hard to get my writing into some of my favorite publications while growing Midlife at the Oasis – which will celebrate its first anniversary in July.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that life is a journey. If you’re lucky, it’s a long one. Yes, there are forks in the road. And plenty of detours, obstacles and crossroads.

Ultimately, I think we’re all trying to get to a place of happiness and satisfaction.

Thankfully, there are many different ways to get there. So, when I discovered I didn’t really want the life I had originally imagined, it was easy to take a different route. We have the power to choose which path to take.

Sometimes, though, we get lost.

Right now, I’m feeling a little lost.

It seemed like divine intervention when I was recently invited to experience and help introduce Life Reimagined, a new initiative from AARP which takes a tool-focused approach to rethinking what’s next. It’s awesome.

Life Reimagined

I spent a lot of time on their website, reading articles that totally pertain to where Michael and I are at this stage of life (he’s looking for a new walk like the Camino de Santiago he did last year; I’m sadly obsessed with my electronics). I learned so much about their innovative approach to helping you write the next chapter of your own life.

They get it.

In fact, they even provide a LifeMap to literally chart and visualize your course.

I immediately registered on the site – which you should do, too – and I’ve already started taking advantage of their extensive resources. I love thinking about and answering their questions and planning an abundant future. There are tons of interactive activities, inspirational stories and so much practical advice, it’s like having a personal life coach. And it’s free.

What I love about Life Reimagined is that it’s not Life Reinvented. You don’t have to become someone different or transform yourself into someone else. You just have to imagine the possibilities and learn how to make them a reality. And you can do this even if you’re in your 30s and 40s. Why wait to live the life you want?

I’d love to know how you imagine the next chapter of your life. Please leave a comment, and let’s take this journey together — even if it’s on different paths.

I’m going to be writing a lot about this because it’s a subject that’s so important to me. It’s why I created Midlife at the Oasis, and why its tagline is, “Living an amazing life never gets old.”

You can take up a new sport at 50. Learn a new language at 60. Go glamping at 70. Become a volunteer at 80. Write a book at 90.

You can live an amazing life at any age.

Imagine that.

This post is supported by Life Reimagined, your guide to rethinking what’s possible and seizing your “what’s next” in work, relationships, health, personal finance and more.  All opinions are my own.

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Comments

  1. Sometimes I feel like I am in a rut because things get so mundane. I really need to stop and enjoy my kids more while they are little.

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      I think we all feel like that sometimes. Look at some of the tools on Life Reimagined and watch how quickly it changes the way you look at everything. Amazing!

  2. I think it’s amazing that we can all do what we want at any age! I’d love to be able to write a book or just travel around the world!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      You can do both! Life Reimagined will actually give you practical ways to start the ball rolling. Can’t wait to read your book, and please send me postcards from your travels!

  3. It’s so true that you can do what you want at any age. My daughter’s friend’s grandma decided to take a trip to Ireland a few years back on the spur of the moment!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      That’s awesome! I hope to be that spontaneous and adventurous when I’m an old woman!

  4. We can do anything, at any age!

  5. Glad the empowering message is getting out there! And you deliver it so well.

  6. I was planning on moving to San Diego or Santa Monica from Manhattan (first LI, of course) but five years ago found myself in North Myrtle Beach SC of all the places in the world! The funny part is that I actually like it!
    You never know where life will take you. I think that’s the most exciting part of the journey

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      We could have been neighbors! Glad you’re enjoying Myrtle Beach. Yes, life is definitely an interesting adventure!

  7. Woot Woot! You definitely are sharing the message that so many women need to hear 🙂 Yes, we can do anything we put our minds to…and go places that make us happy, too.

    Sharing this with a friend who needs some support and guidance.

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      I totally believe middle age is a time to try everything we didn’t get to do during the first half of our lives. Life Reimagined is so encouraging. It could be exactly what your friend needs now!

  8. This could not have come at a better time. We just got back from a weeks vacation where I spent the last night laying awake DREADING going home and back to work. We have dreams of retiring and moving to Spain but we are having trouble jumpstarting our plans. I am going to sign up for Life Reimagined and maybe, just maybe we can start on the next phase of our life!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      Ooh, I hope you’ll be sending me a postcard from your new home in Spain soon! Go register, and it will happen faster than you think!

  9. I love this Lois! And it’s perfect for me to pursue at this point in my life. As you know, my perfectly wonderful life was suddenly interrupted when my husband died. Now at age 70 I don’t know what’s ahead. But I can imagine all kinds of things….going to sign up for sure! Thanks for the push!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      Definitely sign up – you’ll be so inspired. Again, I’m so sorry for your loss, Joan, but glad you can imagine good things ahead. They are there!

  10. Re-imagining life is what I am doing, again and again and again. Because life is all about possibilities, and new adventures and journeys are what I’m planning on doing for the rest of my life!

  11. I will have to visit this site. I’m in my forties and my son has left the nest. I’m definitely feeling like it’s time for a major change, perhaps even a change of scenery. I’m glad I came across this today.

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      You will totally be inspired by Life Reimagined. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

  12. I always thought I would work in the family business my whole life… But after 13 years, I quit to start my own business! It was scary and a bit of an adjustment, but now I wouldn’t think of doing anything else!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      Good for you! It’s fascinating how you can live a life so different from what you expected — and love it!

  13. This is a great post. It’s a hard thing to realize that life won’t be what you imagined, but reading things like this really help me to know that everyone feels it and the sooner I let go of the preconceived notions, the sooner I can really enjoy and look forward to life! <3

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      There’s a great Shakespeare quote that says, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” So true! You should check out Life Reimagined — it’s fun and insightful and so encouraging.

  14. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    You are living proof that life can be awesome at any age! But, what is glamping?

  15. Shauna says:

    That is so funny… I imagined a life with no kids, working a corporate job, ordering takeout every night. Now, I live thousands of miles from my ‘hometown’ with three kids and I work from home and love every minute of it 🙂

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      Isn’t it amazing how your expectations can be so off and you can still be so happy?! Glad you’re loving your life!

  16. This Sounds Great I’m Getting Up There In Age I Really Need To Check This Out Thank You!!

  17. What an awesome thing they offer! I love the Life Map as well. It sounds like a great tool to set your goals.

  18. Maria Oller says:

    Wow I’m not yet there butI feel so old for my 35 with 18 years old and baby on the way I might need to really check it out

  19. Lois I. Van Dahm says:

    I can write a book at 90??-!! That gives me four more years to get my act together and fill in the chapters which already have titles.I just need someone to kick me in my gluteus maximus.No one knows more about my much less than mundane, Iife, so it’s up to me to put it on pages before I forget my own name.

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      When you write your book, I will happily promote it for you. I am happy to kick you in your gluteus maximum to get you moving — that’s what Loises do for each other. And you can write a guest post for me any time you feel like it. I will be proud to publish it! xo

  20. it’s amazing how things change when the kids are grown and out of the house,i dread these days but I have a ways to go!.

  21. I am feeling a change too, my kids are all going in school and I will be left at home…I love this post and the book at 90 – it will be great!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      Can’t wait to read the book you write at 90! Will definitely be needing glasses to read it!

  22. I never expected to stay in RI so long, but can’t see myself leaving anytime soon

  23. Great post- I think we all feel a bot lost sometimes no matter what age. I’ll have to visit the site!

  24. My life just keeps on getting interrupted, and not always in a good way, so I have no choice but to reimagine and retool. This was a great article, Lois. I will have to check out the site since now you’ve got me curious.

  25. Lois, life has a way of not turning out exactly as we might imagine. If we are fortunate, many of the twists in the road take us to places far better than any previously-considered plans. Sounds like you and your husband are on the cusp of an exciting new phase that you would have never dreamed of all those many years back in NYC. We will watch with interest as you celebrate Midlife at the Oasis’ first birthday and explore your Life Reimagined.

  26. I wish more people realized that age is a number and not something that defines us. I’ve had a hard time with that this year because I went back to school. Its interesting to be the oldest student in the class by far.

  27. I love the thought behind this. Today is as good a day as any to do everything we’ve been dreaming about!

  28. Hi Lois,
    I think it might be fun to throw some darts at a different section of the newspaper each day? week? year? Wherever the dart lands, go. My husband and I used to do that with local maps for “antiquing/junking” day trips, and we had great fun!
    There are so many ways to mix and match the choices available to us. Anyone want to make a board game?
    I’m so happy I’ve discovered you! Thanks for all of your help.

  29. It’s funny, isn’t it, how life turns out so much better than we imagined sometiems.

  30. I absolutely love your outlook on life and I love this post!

  31. Beautiful 🙂 It’s weird (in a good way!) how you imagine life one way and it turns out totally different….and better! Love the idea of Life Reimagined!

  32. What a great way to combat fear of what’s next after raising children – introducing a world of possibilities to people and connecting them in this way. Very exciting!

  33. Wow! Sounds like your life was even better than you imagined! To live in Manhattan is really nice too! Just goes to prove that things can turn out better if unplanned 🙂

  34. Change at any age can turn out to be a blessing. It is just how you accept it.

  35. You should definitely come back and visit Williamsburg, VA, especially in the winter. It’s decorated so beautifully then and they still do the candlelight tour.

  36. Lois I love your thread and the interaction it’s inspired. You’re such a great blogger and you capture the thoughts and ideas of your readers so well. Congratulations on another hit!

    Middle age came with a thud for me. I realized I needed something fresh and stimulating for the next edition of my life. I went to school and found my art. it has been an exciting journey learning how to make fabrics to exacting specs while making art that may help the bird species of the world in so many ways. I’m working with a screen printer who will take my designs and carefully apply them to silks that I will offer on scarves. Act I of my life was a thrill a minute. After a hiatus, Act II is even more stimulating that the first.

  37. I love this. Life doesn’t stop at 50 or 60, so I think taking up new interests is important.

  38. Beverly says:

    Lois,

    You are an inspiration to all your readers. I am waiting for our day’s adventure snorkeling around an island in the Galapagos. We are going to swim with sea lions and jump off of a volcanic edge into the Bay. The message of “Life is a Journey” was our favorite saying last year on safari. It was in Swahili.

  39. I love the message from Life Reimagined. Realizing life’s possibilities and continuing to strive for a full life regardless of age is so important. We should never let our number of years dictate our commitment to living our lives to the fullest. And no one I know exemplifies this principle better than you.

  40. I am at the point now where I have no idea what’s next and am trying to figure it out. I have blogged in a semi-private fashion for 4 years now and have been strongly encouraged by my followers to write more, possibly even a book. I started a wordpress.com blog a few months back. I’ve purchased my domain name and have been told by some .org is the only way for a “serious” writer to go, while others think wp.com is just fine, so I have not really put my domain name into use as of yet. It seems there are 2 schools of thought and I’m unsure which is the best way to go for an aspiring writer trying to find her way. My biggest hurdle, I think, will be appealing to a wider group, as with my more private blog I have reached out to people on an individual basis. Somehow, hurting people just find me (almost 800 people now), and followers have told me my voice is “needed” in an uncaring world, so I’ve made these tentative first steps to blog in a more “serious” manner, and am trying to figure out what’s next. Meanwhile, I’ve signed up for a month-long writing course to begin next week to see where that takes me, and am reading a lot of blogs by midlife women to see how they are navigating midlife. I figure I need all the help I can get, so I am trying to find my “tribe.” Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      Wendy, I just read your blog and your writing is beautiful. I have 2 Facebook groups you might want to join. Email me if you’re interested at lois@midlifeattheoasis.com. Your voice needs to be heard, and I so appreciate that you reached out. I’d love to help you.

  41. Dear Lois,
    I just started reading your blog because I am always trying to find resources, for others and myself. I started a blog years ago, hoping to find like-minded woman, who were mothers getting ready to release their first-born children out into the world, however, I never got too far. I have debated for over a year about what I could blog about. So, when my husband lost his job and is now working as a temporary data analyst, I felt the need for empowerment so I started the blog. I was wondering if you could visit my blog and give me some pointers!

    Thank you so much,
    Erika Munz

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