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Staying “Hip” after 55:  The Ultimate Guide to Avoid the Mid-Life Crisis

by Rafael Henriquez for After55.com
April 4, 2018

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So you reached the point where you’re after 55 and maybe getting the itch to define yourself all over again. But before you go buying the new Audi S5 (fire-engine red, of course) or finally take that Eat-Pray-Love sabbatical, know that you’re in good company. Check out these names who are turning 55 in 2018: Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Paula Abdul, and James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of the heavy metal band Metallica just to name a few. Those guys are cool!

Be Active

By now you’re well aware of your body’s betrayal. Yet you can turn it around. Listen to your doctor, eat healthier, but most importantly, get moving and stay moving. You don’t have to kill yourself with side bends or sit-ups. Go dancing, take a swim class, golf, do yoga or go on a gentle hike at the park. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get your heart and blood pumping. You only need 30 minutes a day, the same amount of time it takes to find the remote control.

Give Yourself a Makeover

What’s fun about today’s fashion is that it’s not really new. Fads are always coming and going and repeating. Was there a style you wanted to try when you were younger but didn’t feel sophisticated enough? Men, it’s a perfect time for a swanky hat like a Po’ Boy cap or a Panama Fedora. And ladies, bigger is better: big scarves; long, flowing open sweaters; 3-piece layers. And be bold; accentuate earth tones with bright accessories. By changing your paradigm alone, you’d be surprised just how “not old” you’ll feel.

Flirt

No, I’m not talking about with each other … although, if you’re looking to rekindle that flame or starting anew, go for it! Love is ageless. What I mean here, though, is flirt with your dreams and your desires. Do you have goals you never found time to get accomplished? Is there a hobby you wanted to do but were too nervous to try? It’s never too late. Be fearless again. Having something to work towards and look forward to every morning that brings you joy and fills your heart will keep you feeling young.

Get a “Second” Job

Much like those hobbies you never got around to doing, this is the time to spread your wings, especially if you’re retired. Now is the time to write that great American novel, sell those nature photos, get the band back together and book gigs, or dust off your point shoes and teach a dance class. Everyone is good at something; we all have our talents. Turn your passions into a career. You’ll want the extra pocket change for some of the tips below.

Go Get Lost

Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither. (Tolkien). If you have the means, pull out a map and randomly pick a retirement travel destination to visit within the next 6 months just because. If you’re on a tighter budget, ask yourself: How well do you know the city or town that you live in? There are always hidden gems where you live: new eateries popping up, traveling shows stopping through, or historical sites you may have driven past but never stopped to learn about. Look up your town’s department of tourism, or go on a real-world treasure hunt by geocaching in your very own community.

Think Young

Peter Pan was able to fly by thinking happy thoughts. He was also a grown man in a young boy’s body. That’s because he stayed away from those who constantly complained about how old they were getting or just had negative energy in general. Never think you’re too old for anything that brings you happiness. If you want to eat cereal for breakfast, do it! If you want to have a house party with music and dancing friends, go for it! Don’t act your age, act your essence.

Do What You Want

Remember when you didn’t have a care in the world? It’s OK to live like that again. Like the 62-years-young Dee Snider or Twisted Sister once said, “I wanna rock!” Don’t feel ashamed to splurge on yourself a little or eat the big piece of 7-layer chocolate cake. Want to remake yourself but don’t know how? Go ahead and do something that shocks or even scares you like getting a Mohawk (my grandmother once accidentally dyed her hair purple … the first time; the second time was to touch up her roots) or buy a round of drinks at a watering hole you’ve never been to. Have fun by simply being spontaneous and extravagant. Even if you only do it once, consider it practice for your retirement bucket list. Rock on!

Ditch the Planner

This goes along with being spontaneous and doing what you want. Sometimes we get so caught up in a routine that we often give ourselves anxiety if we don’t stay on schedule. So what? You spent your whole life making plans; now plan not to. It’s perfectly acceptable to give yourself a break and veer off the beaten path. Take a nap on a Tuesday right before dinner, or even right after you first wake up. Miss a day at the gym if you want. Put on your favorite music, take a walk, and see where you end up instead. There’s a thrill in being disobedient, even if you’re disobeying yourself.

Embrace Your Age

Look around you. Chances are you are in the “sandwich years” where you have children – who, although they are going out into the world, still need your help – along with aging parents who may need you more than your children. Pay attention to how the youth live every day as an adventure and how the older generation takes it easy. Be excited that you have some wisdom but still have years to live freely. Accept who you are and who you can still become. So what if you don’t have a six-pack or are balding, gentlemen. Wear it as a badge; dad bods and a sleek skull are in. And, women, girls’ night out is 18 and up, not 18 and until, so go live it up and take too many selfies! “Old” is a word used for comparison, not a state of being.