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Coping with Change in your 50s

Article by Beverley Harvey

life over 50 coping with change image

This weekend with only my faithful dog for company, I sat and sobbed my way through Finding Your Feet. It’s a wonderful film that has a stellar cast of a certain age; Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie and Joanna Lumley all act their socks off. It’s warm, witty and very funny in parts – but laden with pathos, too, so I highly recommend keeping the tissues to hand.

I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll just say that the story centres on coping with change. In this case, it’s concerning the abrupt end of a 40-year old marriage due to infidelity. The shock and despair of such a breakup is surely right up there with bereavement, and the ripple effect as far reaching.

It set me thinking about change generally. Our fifties can be a pivotal time; the menopause alone demonstrates that (it’s not called ‘the change’ for nothing). Then there’s the inevitable empty nest syndrome for parents – a recognised trigger for divorce in later life. Our fifties can also be a time when our careers slow down (or come to an end), or perhaps we elect to reshape our working life entirely, into something more rewarding. It can be a time when health issues come to the fore; either our own or those of elderly parents.

A life stage where we think about change

For some of us, it’s a life stage when we think about moving – perhaps downsizing to a small property or completely relocating. Either way, moving to a new house can be an exhausting and painful process.

I recently moved from Kent to West Sussex and after several months, I’m shocked by how bereft I feel. It was a choice my partner and I made willingly but I was unprepared for how much I would miss frequent contact with friends and family (who are now two hours away) and my former local surroundings. It’s early days, and I’m sure that over time I will make new friends and become part of a community that currently feels so alien. Common sense tells me that things will get much better – especially once the builders have left and our tired and dated house reflects our lifestyle, rather than that of the previous owners.

The thing about change is that it’s just around the corner for nearly all of us and sometimes new circumstances are thrust upon us without warning. How we cope with it – whether we resist or embrace change – can hugely affect the outcome.

In Finding Your Feet, Sandra, our heroine, decides to embrace her new freedom and a whole new world opens up to her; one that is ultimately happier, more fulfilling and on her own terms. I for one would do well to take a leaf out of Sandra’s book this autumn.





Beverley Harvey

Beverley Harvey is a freelance writer, living and working in Kent with her partner Mark and her naughty terrier Brodie.

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