Bad Girl, Good Business

Route 66 Installment #41: Matriculating >50

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What does matriculation mean?

I  had to Google it. The textbook definition of a matriculation date is:

“The first day of instruction in the semester or term in which enrollment of a student first occurs.”

So, how does that apply to adult life? We are all “students” in our own lives, continuously learning and maturing.

We control our matriculation date — that moment when we decide that we’re ready to experience new things, evaluate our relationships and decide how we might spend the next 50 — without a set curriculum and assigned professors to lead us on that path.

No roadmap exists for people over 50 — especially women. More on that later.

We are expected to live to close to 100, which means that we have many years ahead of us once our careers are established, our kids are grown and flown, and we have an opportunity to reboot and reinvent ourselves as grown-ass adults.

Last week, I attended a fundraiser for Yonkers Partners in Education.

One of the speakers was a young woman who spoke back in 2008 (when I was on the Board). Since I first met her, she graduated from Dartmouth, became a speech pathologist, and moved to Manhattan.

Think about your own path over the past decade.

What have you done? What have you learned? What do you still want to do over the next decade?

The roadmap for decision-making in our teens, 20s, and 30s is often clearer than it is in our 50s, 60s, and 70s. We get degrees, get jobs, get married (sometimes), and raise children and pets (sometimes).

But NOW is the time to set that next matriculation date and apply that learning to the next phase.

What’s in the 50+ curriculum?

  1. Geography: We are often free to relocate and travel. Don’t be afraid to make bold moves!
  2. Economics: Work with a great financial planner to map out how to optimize your income for the next 50 years.
  3. PE, Health, and Nutrition: Don’t stop moving, and take care of your body parts. You may need them for years to come.
  4. Technology: Knowing how to use your devices and social media can help you stay connected with old and new friends and family and make living much easier. Do not fear it!
  5. Extracurricular Activities: Loneliness can be deadly at our age. The pandemic definitely had an impact on human interaction, but now that it’s over, join social groups, and try new hobbies. Reading can also be invaluable in expanding our thinking and learning new skills.
  6. Psychology: Remain in a happy place as much as possible. This is especially difficult as we age, especially now that we live in an era that’s youth-obsessed. Think about all the challenges you’ve overcome in your life and surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you.
  7. Career Planning: I’ve made some significant professional moves over the past few years and am now realizing that although gendered ageism is very real, smart people will still hire professionals >50. Mentoring our younger peers can also be gratifying and I learn a lot from my friends in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

No Textbook Currently Exists

That’s why I created The Silver Hair Playbook™ as the title for my musings.

People often ask me how I’ve made some of the bold moves throughout my life and how I’ve overcome fear and depression during that time.

I don’t have all the answers, but I encourage you all to pick a “matriculation date” (no matter how old you are) and commit to making life and work decisions — small and huge —  that will lead you to happy places.

Craft your own “caps and gowns” for the 50+ years ahead!

A “cheat sheet” for active aging:

BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred Where you live can determine how long you’ll live (geography lesson)
BGGB_ShakingHands Fighting loneliness can prolong your life (health class)
BGGB_Thumbs-Down-fred These bad habits will age you (more health-related lessons)
BGGB_Pointer Agetech (STEM class)




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