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50-and-beyond era is our time to shine

Updated May 13, 2024 - 8:36 am

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a monthly column by Marla Letizia, founder of the Long-Life Era community, which encourages Americans 50 and older to rethink their later years.

Mental health has been a hot topic lately, and it’s got me pondering my own mental well-being throughout the years.

Believe it or not, my mental health in my 60s, 70s and likely beyond is far superior to what it ever was in my 20s and 30s. Back then, I was dimming my own light, living to please others instead of myself. Anxiety and fear about my future consumed me.

In early adulthood, we live out of sync with our true selves because we lack the life experience to truly know who we are and what we want. At this young stage, we’re told who to be and what to desire, and we don’t have the wisdom to think otherwise. We’re not living to make ourselves happy; instead we live someone else’s dream for us while at the same time we’re trapped in our striving brains, believing that success and achievement will bring us joy.

The midlife awakening

Around midlife, ages 36 to 50 (the shortest era of our lives), we begin to consider our own happiness in a way we never have before. Hence, the infamous midlife crisis.

Several studies have described human happiness as following a U-curve, with our level of satisfaction highest in early and later life but bottoming out in those middle years, when we’re unhappiest and our mental health suffers the most.

It takes years to muster the courage to live authentically and understand what truly makes us happy.

This midlife crisis — or, better stated, midlife awareness — is when we assess our lives and begin to leave unhappy marriages, unfulfilling jobs, experience the death of loved ones, and feel boredom and a lack of purpose.

The Long-Life Era

Following the U-curve, around ages 52 to 54, you begin to make decisions with your own happiness in mind. You know who you are, life experience has shown you your purpose, and you’re making decisions based on decades of knowledge and a personal feeling of security, as opposed to the insecurity of your early decades.

This wisdom has helped us understand the temperance of life and, consequently, begin to live more in the present. We cherish the small things: laughter, a cool breeze, a beautiful flower, a kind smile, just to name a few.

As we live through our Long-Life Era — the longest era of our lives, which could last 50 years or more — we naturally brighten our light. Our hope and faith strengthen because we’ve observed ourselves making it through the toughest times and surviving, in most cases, our greatest fears. This knowledge of weathering our own storms adds tremendous strength to our mental health.

This era is a time of confidence and a deeper understanding of ourselves and our lives.

Looking back, none of us would want to relive our 20s and 30s. But today, at this Long-Life Era stage of life, our mental health is probably stronger than at any other stage. So, take a deep breath, get good sleep, and let your own wisdom guide you.

Your triumphant era awaits

This is it — the Long-Life Era we’ve been working toward our whole life. No more dimming our light or living for others. Those days of anxiety and existential dread are behind us. We’ve weathered midlife and emerged victorious.

Our mental health has never been stronger, our hope never brighter. We cherish each moment, finding joy in life’s simple pleasures. This is our time to shine, to live authentically and boldly chase dreams.

Embrace your Long-Life Era with open arms and an open heart. You’ve earned this triumph!

Contact Marla Letizia at Marla@LongLifeEra.com. Visit longlifemindset.com or facebook.com/groups/longlifeera.

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