Second Act: the Art of Reinvention at Any Age

September 13, 2023
Second Act: the Art of Reinvention at Any Age

When we began Connected Women we wanted to reinforce the idea that life truly begins after 50. We believe that society's obsession with youth (think about all those "30 Under 30" and “40 under 40” lists…ugh) only emphasises competition and an outdated definition of what matters in life.

In 2023, with all the self-awareness and the breaking down of stereotypes, a question worth exploring is "what can I do with my life after 50".

So, what does it mean to reinvent yourself later in life? It's not about starting from scratch; it's about embarking on a new journey with different goals, values, and dreams compared to your 20s, 30s and 40s. 

Think about how much the world has changed in the past 50 years. The movie "The Exorcist" was released in 1973 and has been reinvented five times since. The MRI was invented in the same year, and look at the incredible progress in medical technology. Your ability to reinvent yourself is a testament to the life you've lived.

By the time you hit 50, you've accomplished a lot in your life. But even with years and experience behind you, you can still choose to blaze a new (different, perhaps) trail forward any time. 

Reinvention doesn't have to be a grandiose transformation; it can be as simple as breaking old habits that you’re ready to let go of.

It's okay to let go of what no longer serves you, try different things, and focus on what you truly want, not what others expect of you. 

Here are a few other famous women who reinvented themselves later in life:

  • Betty White, who you might think has been famous forever, wasn't a household name until the age of 51, when she began playing "The Happy Homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore" show.
  • “Me, a 73-year-old Asian woman could have never even dreamed about being nominated for an Oscar (Yuh-Jung Youn, The New York Times April 2021)
  • “I was 50 years old and I thought the best years of my career were over. My work wasn’t stimulating to me and I tried to figure out what to do next. Type A people think they can figure out what to do next while they’re doing something, and they can’t. An important part of changing and figuring out what to do next is you have to just stop. I had to get good and bored before I could decide what was next — I thought maybe I’ll write a cookbook [The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook] while I figure it out.” — Ina Garten Forbes, June 2015

Now over to you! What are your greatest “later in life” accomplishments and experiences? 

Did you step into a new or more powerful role later in life? 

Did you take up a new hobby? 

Start a new career? 

Make a big lifestyle change? 

Maybe you’re experiencing a new depth of friendship with your friends? 

We love to hear from you! Hit reply and share your stories with us. 

Written by Alice Abba

Director of Possibility at Connected Women. And proudly marching towards midlife.