Tell me about your slightly later in life epiphanies

Hey - I am at a bit of a crossroads and may be making a huge life change. This is a bit nerve-wracking because while I am not ancient, I am also not a Spring Chicken anymore.

I want to hear about YOUR experiences making big decisions/life choices, especially the ones you may have made after 40…

Two weeks before my 48th birthday, I realized that my career of choice had mutated into something that I did not recognize, and my health depended on getting out, and doing so immediately. I then looked at my portfolio and realized that if I managed my money properly, I could retire.

It wasn’t an easy decision; in the meantime, I’ve dealt with cancer, and healing from that emotionally was less traumatic that this was. However, I have no regrets, and sadly, 100% support from colleagues, most of whom wish they could do the same thing.

Poysyn, whatever this decision is that you’re making, changes are never easy, but they’re often for the best. :slight_smile:

Around 50, decided to change jobs. Had been with my employer for well over 20 years. Had been promoted steadily and was a senior executive of a division. New opportunity came along to become a C-suite executive with a bit smaller company, but it was 1,000 miles away. More responsibility, but also the key decision maker. Moved my family including two elementary aged kids and we have never been happier.

When life presents you new opportunities, I would encourage everyone to lean towards taking those risks.

Another mid-40’s career changer here, not just a job change but moved into a whole new industry. It’s proven out as one of the best decisions I ever made.

Mid 40s. I realized I was crushingly unhappy in my current relationship and that there was no way I could ever make it a relationship where I could be happy.
So I ended it and restarted with nearly nothing. The emotional weight that was lifted when I finally let go improved not just my mental state but my physical health as well.
It also made me less hesitant to let go of all kinds of negative baggage that I was carrying around out of some sense of obligation or habit.
Very cathartic.

It’s very common for a person to make some kind of really big decision, and not realize until afterwards that no matter how hard it was to do, they didn’t realize just how unhappy they were beforehand. Divorce, career change, moving to an area that may be unfamiliar, cutting a toxic person out of your life, etc. are all tough but people are often better for it later on.

I’m 48, and returned to full-time study last year (in pretty much “my” field, so more a career-reboot than a career-change). I can’t yet say what the long-term results of this will be, but I thoroughly enjoyed the past year, apart from a few weeks of deadline-based terror, and am still really glad I did it.

In my early 40s I realized the 30+ years I’d spent on religion and planning my current life by the hope of a future afterlife and the belief I wasn’t good enough so needed salvation had been a waste of my time. It’d dictated so many of the choices I’d made that never felt right to me, huge life choices plus the years spent within those choices. This was all looking back, however, b/c what precipitated it was no longer believing in any God’s existence. And if there was no universal rulemaker, why would I still follow those rules?
It’s made it much easier to be completely honest w/ people, stand by what I say and do, and make myself happy first instead of doing the Christian thing as I understood it in hopes it would one day make me happy.

TLDR - I became an atheist, basically.

I didn’t choose it but I knew it was inevitable. My lil’wrekker grew up and left for college. She’s in her sophomore year. So now I am an empty nester. I’ve decided I don’t mind it nearly as much as I thought I would. Mr.Wrekker is retired from employment, not life. He spends something like 40 weeks a year hunting, fishing or planning said activities. So I am really alone alot of the time.
My biggest issue is I’m a hider, if I don’t have to get out and about, I don’t. I have to make myself go out in the public. I volunteer. I am finding that harder and harder to do, though. It’s a fight I’ll have fight for the rest of my life, I guess. I am basically a happy person anyway. So there’s that. I’m ok.

Sometime during my early to mid-40’s, i finally shed myself of the burden of peer pressure. Other than for business or work purposes, I realized that what people thought of me and whether they liked me or not doesn’t matter. I still follow 95% of the social norms, keep myself clean, fairly well groomed (I hate to shave and comb my hair), dress appropriately for work (which is polo or Aloha shirts) and play (t-shirts, jeans and rubber slippers). But if someone says I have to change to meet the standards of their societal group, I’ll just walk away.

These are great, and pretty much exactly what I was looking for - if anyone else has any, feel free to chime in.

It’s helping me a lot. I promise to, at some point, share what I am thinking, but it makes me crazy nervous to even THINK it, so not yet :slight_smile:

I loved my job, but after billing 70+ hours a week to clients, I realized I’d never get to know my young kids if I was working most nights and weekends. And at 45, I wasn’t sure i could find a new-yet-easier job in my field.

So I went from Biologist to Professor of Illustration/Design. And got a lot more time with my children!

I’ve been on this earth for nearly six decades and sometime in the past two decades or so, I realized that while doing things because of and for others is rewarding, they’re only with me a certain number of hours in a day. On the other hand, I’m in my own body and mind 24/7/365 until the day I die. So while I enjoy doing things because of and for others and look to them for advice and comfort, I must always accept the choices I make and accept whatever happens good or bad is ultimately because of the 24/7/365 me.

“Cry a river of tears, build a bridge and get over it.” taught to me by a 16 year old when I was in my 40’s.

This was the realization and experience of a close friend at work, who went from stressed and miserable in his marriage to happily divorced, lighthearted and contented.

I’m pushing 70 now. One of my happiest days was some time in the mid-50’s when I realized that other people actually like me more when I make mistakes. After decades of trying to be perfect, this was a shocker to me. I make a lot more “mistakes” now. I forgive myself much faster. And people are much more comfortable around me. While I could say I don’t care if people like me, it’s more honest to say that it really is something that matters to me and makes my days happier.

So, I’ve been on the hamster wheel for three decades now. I quit my job about a year ago and have never felt so good.

I’m running out of money, and do in fact need to work again, but for the time being it’s been fantastic.

I hate work. Well I hate what I did. I too am now looking for something more rewarding. I’ll be happy with the pay cut, as long as I can live.

At around the age of 45, I quit my job as a graphic designer/typographer, and became a full-time fine artist. I’ve done a few temp jobs since then, but for the most part I’ve been working on my art. Best decision I ever made. And then, around 60, I changed the type of art I did.

And on my 70th birthday, I bought a cello and began to teach myself to play it.

I can’t say post 40, 'cos I ain’t 40 yet, but I’ve gone back to University in my mid 30s to get the degree I couldn’t decide on and didn’t get at the normal age. So far it’s going pretty well, despite being a lot older than most of the other students (though not all, there’s a few older than me).

If you’re thinking some variant on ‘I’ll be nearly 50 by the time I finish!’, remember you’ll be nearly 50 at that time if you don’t do it too. It’s bleedin’ obvious, but it weirdly helps.

I’m getting there…

Another mid-40s career changer here. From math professor at a small Christian college, to government statistician. My wife made the same switch at the same time, only she was teaching at a local community college. One of the best decisions we ever made.