Getting older is no fun. We start to slow down, our bodies become more delicate, and we realize we’re not as invincible as we used to be. There are actually many benefits to reaching middle age: for one, we have more time to relax and take up hobbies once our work slows down or our children move out.
Here’s a list of some of the most important things to do before you turn 50 – it comes around quicker than we think!
Keep A Journal
For those who may not want to seek therapy, writing a journal can have similar effects on your mental health. You don’t need to be an award-winning writer – no one else needs to ever read it! Keeping a journal is just a good way to organize thoughts and feelings.
It can be your personal secret. It can also be a great way to record nice and funny memories – something future generations will cherish after you’re gone. Pick up a pen today.
Get A Pet
It doesn’t matter if you’re a dog person or a cat person – when it comes to a pet we all just want love! Having a little friend has immeasurable health benefits on both our physical and mental health. They help us live longer, live healthier, and be more compassionate in life.
Getting a new pet is a great way to keep the home alive once children move out. Start small with a hampster and see how you feel – you might get a decade-long friend one day!
Therapy is one of those things that has often had a negative stigma surrounding it. We think that talking to someone about your thoughts and feelings can be a sign of craziness – nothing could be farther from the truth.
Everyone suffers from ups and downs and having someone listen and help organize your thoughts can be invaluable. It can develop your coping skills and help rationalize difficult situations. At least try it once and see if it is for you.
Retire With A Plan
It can feel daunting to be met with retirement. After 40 years of working and decades of raising children, it can be a shock when all of that goes away. How will we spend our time?
Whether it’s working toward a strong pension plan, booking time to travel, or simply finding a new hobby: start thinking about how you want to spend your later years. Although it’s never too late to learn a new skill, it’s also never too early to start planning.
Fall In Love
The ultimate risk in life which is always worth the reward. Falling in love is the single greatest thing two people can do and must always be celebrated. Sure, it can be scary to reach a level of intimacy with someone, but it’s always worth it.
By risking to be a little vulnerable, we also risk gaining life’s greatest pleasure. Remember, ‘it’s better to have loved and lost than never love at all.’ If you don’t know if you’ve ever been in love, you haven’t.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
More than half of Americans have reported concerns when it comes to money. One of the biggest money problems pertains to debt and how we pay off our credit cards.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by credit card debt we amass over time – so it’s always better to start paying them off as soon as you can. Just a few payments a month can help you stay above water and enter your later years with more serenity.
Volunteer At A Shelter
One of the best things we can offer people is our time. It’s easy to send money or write a social media post, but volunteering our time is much more beneficial for everyone. Once we settle into our lives it can be easy to forget how hard some people have it.
By sharing intimate stories and bonding with people less fortunate, we can understand people better and become more caring people. It only takes a few hours to change a life.
Visit The Library
Young people think libraries are a dying breed – all the more reason to check them out! Since no one under 30 visits these cultural gems anymore, the trips there have actually become much nicer. They’re quiet, attentive, and will always have what you’re looking for.
Aside from the myriad of books available, libraries are also a good space to catch up on some personal projects, like that new journal you write each day! Check these places out while they’re still around.
Write A Will
This one can feel a bit morbid, but it is an inalienable fact – we’re going to die. Hopefully not any time soon, but we can’t deny that we’re all boarding a train with no idea on its departure.
Therefore, it’s always best to be prepared. Writing a will can make the unimaginable a bit more manageable for the ones you leave behind. Sit down, allocate the important stuff and write down instructions. It will save on confusion for the ones you love.
Visit A National Park
The United States has a whopping 84 million acres of national parkland. This means you’ll practically never run out of places to explore when you journey across the 50 states. Whether you like walking, hiking, camping, or birdwatching – there’s something for everyone who chooses to spend time outdoors.
National parks are a great way to enjoy the natural beauty and get fresh air. For $80, you can buy an annual pass getting you entrance into all the parks you can fit into your schedule.
Take A Class
We may stop studying, but we hope to never stop learning. It’s never too late to learn something new, and with classes appearing online, it’s also never been easier!
If you want to learn a new skill or fill some gaps in your knowledge, online classes are the perfect way to do it. Alternatively, if you want to meet people and get
Learn To Forgive
Pick someone from your past and learn to accept an apology they gave. Holding on to negative feelings of someone only harbors your own bitterness and anger. By learning to forgive, we can move on emotionally and mentally from a troubling part of our lives and accept new challenges that come our way.
You might even rekindle old friendships through communication and compassion. As we get older, we start to realize that conflicts just aren’t worth the trouble.
Whether it’s following a bad breakup or once your children move out of home, it’s important to have some ‘me’ time. This will allow you to learn more about yourself and what you enjoy.
It could be binge-watching a Netflix show or reading a book – you’ll never know until you do it. Also, being alone will make you better with others, since you’ll be more strong-minded and independent. Allow yourself the time to stop and listen to the silence: you might just like what it has to say.
Play An Instrument
This might sound like music to your ears, but learning an instrument has amazing mental and emotional benefits. Indulging in musical experimentation can channel your creative and emotional energy, making you more well-rounded.
It can also be incredibly therapeutic by helping you relax in times of stress. You don’t have to be the world’s next best musician: just do enough that pushes you farther each day. It can be the piano, guitar, or even the tambourine – as long as you enjoy it.
Try A New Dish
Imagine biting into a new dish and hating it. The texture sits on your tongue badly and the taste makes you break into a sweat. Then guess what happens? Absolutely nothing.
Unless you have a known allergy to a food, there are literally zero risks to trying new foods and dishes from around the world. Worst case scenario is that you don’t eat it ever again – and the best? You might just discover a dish you never knew existed.
Use Your Passport
Passports aren’t just official forms of identification – they’re your ticket to travel the world. The worst thing you can do is delay the opportunity to visit somewhere new and realize you missed the best time to do it.
It can be hard to collect the funds or take the plunge, but countless studies suggest we enjoy experiences more than items – so take yourself away! Travel can take many different forms, and vacations in your 50s can be vastly different to backpacking as a teenager.
Cry In A Movie
When we’re young, we are incredibly proud and would hate to be seen crying in public. Actually, crying is incredibly healthy and can form strong bonds through shared experiences. Next time you watch a Pixar film with your kids or grandkids, don’t be afraid to let out a little cry.
You won’t look weak or silly – and you might just encourage others to do the same. Crying can help release pent-up emotions and keep you feeling sane. It’s never too early to start.
Get An Adrenaline Rush
It’s easy to fall into old habits and live an easy and safe lifestyle. We forgot that sometimes a little bit of (controlled) chaos is ok. There’s a reason why thrillseekers want to bungee jump – the feeling of beating death is one of the greatest natural highs alive.
Adrenaline rushes can take many forms: bungee jumping, skydiving, or even a rollercoaster. It’s important to get the blood pumping around the body and chase some adventures sometimes!
Make A Mistake
Screw up. Do it in a big, embarrassing, way. Fail at something in your life – you’ll never learn a greater lesson. We’re often faced with two decisions when we make mistakes: try fix it in whatever form it takes, or cover it up and keep going.
We should always aim to recognize and rectify our mistakes in ways that make us better. The things we learn from the emotional (as opposed to rational) feeling of failure will help us be more successful in the future.
Learn To Cook
It’s easy today just to order something online and have it delivered to your house. When we’re young and single we often live meal-to-meal without thinking too much about our diet or our wallets. As we get older, we start to appreciate home-cooked meals more and value our diets.
Learn how to prepare a meal from items in your kitchen in a creative way. Cooking is both an art and a science, but it’s up to you how to balance it into your life.
Get Certified In CPR
This is a lifehack that could literally save someone’s life one day. It’s basic knowledge that you can take with you wherever you go. Of course, you hope to never use this skill but you’ll be thankful if you ever have to.
There’s no time like now to learn how to treat someone who is unconscious or choking. CPR and the Heimlich maneuver can save lives when conducted correctly. Every day you delay learning this skill you risk letting someone down.