Reinventing yourself after 40

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time and how little we really have of it.

The decades of life

When we’re younger, we feel like time is neverending. Watching my teens and their view of time is proof of this!

In our 20’s, we don’t pay much attention to time because we’re in the grind, trying to prove ourselves. We’re trying to figure out who we are and what our careers will be, all the while maintaining a social life. Phew! That was a fast paced and kinda stressful time.

In our 30’s, many of us are caught up in motherhood. We tend to put our needs second to our families. When women keep up with their careers while raising their kids, it’s even harder to stay intact and grounded about who we are and what we want. Not to mention the mom guilt that seems to permeate every part of us.

Then, 40 hits. I’ve written about how this is the age I felt like I could breathe again. I could take a moment to slow down and see where I was standing. And think about how far I’d come, and where I wanted to go.

Reinventing yourself after 40

But after 40, I found myself in an unfamiliar place from the young 20somethings where I used to be. My body has changed shape. There are grays in my hair. I’m less driven by social scenes and designer bags and more excited to cuddle under a blanket with my family to watch movies or enjoy a great meal. My decision-making process, my interests, and my social circles have shifted. 

So, who are you? How are you feeling? Do you feel like there is a lot of time left? Or do you feel like you’re racing against it to do all the things you want in this lifetime? 

My Story

If I’m being honest, right now I’m racing. I have been since I started this blog in 2016. I need to find a balance and I keep telling myself I’ll find it once things are how I envision them to be.

You see, this is the first time in my life I’m living for me. It’s the first time I’m walking with bravery and a mindset of abundance instead of holding fear and insecurity. 

Many of you know I lost my dad when I was 9. He became sick after his first heart attack when I was 7, just a year after our family moved to the US from South Korea. We were getting our bearings here, I couldn’t speak English well, and we were still “foreigners.”

Those 2 years while he was sick, is what I remember most about my dad. There weren’t loving moments or explanations to me about what was happening. There was a lot of unspoken sadness and fear about what was to come.

After he passed, my mom was a mess and as a result, made some very poor decisions (read my post on how I became a good decision maker for more background on my childhood).

10 years old on our trip to Korea to see family after my dad died.

Growing up “sink or swim” taught me to live in a state of scarcity. I was conditioned to think in a ‘you have to be the best’ manner with my rationale that otherwise, I’d end up like my mom. Powerless. Helpless. Unhappy. I feared one day my own kids would end up like me, feeling alone and ashamed about not having a normal family. 

Living with a scarcity mindset from teens through adulthood

I got my first job when I was 14 at a Hallmark card store. Once I realized I could make more money working on commission, I switched to working in fitness clubs where I was that aggressive sales person who would follow you to your car. You can kinda imagine me doing that, right? Haha!

In undergrad, I had no social life whatsoever. All I wanted was to graduate with a 4.0 and secure the best job possible, to be free from my past. So I studied and worked. And studied and worked some more.

After graduating Summa Cum Laude (top 1% of the class), I spent the next 7 years working in public accounting and corporate finance restructuring at the biggest consulting firms. I was adding to my freedom bank. Due to my drive, I was promoted faster than my peers. But in the process, I burned myself out. I was miserable and lonely and didn’t know who I was or why I was in a career I hated. 

Fast forward to my 30s – After meeting the love of my life,  I moved to Los Angeles, got married and had 2 kids. My husband needed me to help him with his career so I spent the next 10 years helping him set up his medical practice and managing the company. I was miserable, but it was a familiar feeling from my accounting and finance days. I knew I had to do it for my husband and our family. In the process, I was resentful and would at times, lash out at him.

Growth mindset work will help you 

So here I am today. At almost 46, I’m finally doing what I WANT. It feels weird at times. After living so long with a mindset of scarcity, shame, and fear, it’s taken me a ton of work to get to the other side.

If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you know my blog’s key message is to live your best life with confidence, authenticity, and a growth mindset. Some people learn and get this message engrained before their 40s and if they do, they are extremely lucky! For me and many of my friends, this comes after age 40.

I’ve seen my friends reinventing themselves too, which makes me feel happy! For instance, my friend Jodi, an ex-model, yoga instructor, and mom of 4 kids enrolled in a writing apprenticeship and has been featured as one of the publication’s star writers. My friend Rebecca, an ex-teacher and mom of 3 who loves pilates is getting her certification as an instructor. And I have another friend who used to be the quietest person at our gatherings. She is now the loudest speaker in the room, through her empowerment and mindset work. 

It’s when we force ourselves to break out of the shells we have been living in all our lives that we see growth. Once we see this is true, we take more risks to break out and push our boundaries. Even though our fear isn’t completely gone, we lean into it anyway.

Reinvent yourself

Life is short. We don’t have all the time in the world. The reality is, our lives will end sooner than we can even comprehend. So, what do you want to do? Don’t just exist. LIVE. GROW. Make your mark in the world so when you are about to leave this earth, you can look back and say you’d do it the same way. 

One of my purposes in life is to share my story. Stories from my past, my current life, and my future! I do it with the hope to encourage you to get inspiration to share your stories too. To take more risks in living. And to walk with bravery and a zest for this life that goes by waaaaay too fast. 

ps. My “Play Big” goal is to transform the Jewelry Industry by cutting the fat, the noise, and the mark-ups to make it easier and more fun for you to buy jewelry…. all from the comfort of your homes! Trust. Style. Value. What do you think? I’m excited.

There is so much I’m learning about how businesses work online.  I feel like I’m finally getting that MBA I dropped out of when I ran away to follow my husband to California, 16 years ago!

Visit my Ounce of Salt Jewelry Site and let me know what you think. There are some killer pieces you should check out for yourself. And great gift options for those you love, too. Mother’s day is around the corner. You know you deserve to sparkle! Psst, my readers have access to a 10% off code.

I have big plans! As with everything else in my life, I’ll share my journey with you. Thanks so much for being here, and I’ll be back soon!

I’d love to touch base with you with new posts and give you access to my new freebie resource library where I’m adding new goodies to each day. 

“Flavor your life with an Ounce of Salt.” A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.