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5 Tips for Personal Reinvention in Midlife

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew the sort of woman I wanted to be.  I wanted to be independent.  I wanted to have my own money and to stand on my own – not the type of woman who waits for a man to call. My goal in life is to tell every girl, every woman, they can be the woman they want to be.”  Diane Von Furstenberg


Like so many, I am excited about the release at the end of the month of Diane Von Furstenberg’s book, The Woman I Wanted to Be.  She discusses many topics which resonate with many, as well as being the designer of clothes for confident women.  I have often wrestled with the question she poses, “Am I the woman I want to be?”

When I think about my roles as mother and teacher, I am pleased and content that I fulfilled those roles successfully.  I believe I was the woman I needed to be for my own children and for my students.  Yet, when I turned fifty and began to look at my adult children moving on, I had to ask this question of myself again.  In my remaining years, who do I want to be?  The last eleven years of my life have been about moving toward that answer.

Reinvention is one of those concepts discussed by some books and seminars as if a magic wand can touch your head and suddenly change the course of life.  The truth is reinvention requires perseverance, determination, and those precious ticks of the clock we are so aware of now.

I have learned much over the last eleven years, and though it would have been nice if things had happened faster, the journey has enabled me to encourage and educate other women on the same paths.  I believe this is a pivotal year of change for me and the last component will require a big dose of courage to take a risk.  (I will let you know how that goes.)

But for those of you on a reinvention trip to become the woman you desire to be, I give you


  • Every journey needs a destination.

    Know where you are going and keep it before you daily.

  • Take small steps toward immediate change.

    Learn and develop your personal style, change your hair, get a pedicure and manicure, get a facial, a massage. Small steps of personal care are gifts we give ourselves each day and will improve our state of mind.

  • Get educated by learning new, updated skills.

    Wherever your journey is headed, make sure you know what is happening in that world.  It has taken hours upon hours to learn social media, but I stuck with it, and I did it.  When I began four years ago, I had never heard of HTML. I had a long way to go.  I am going to address this area of learning a little deeper on Thursday at

  • If you do not already care for your health, start now.

    Make sure you have a healthy eating and exercise program.  I waited too long on this one, but at least at 60, I got it going.

  • Reinvention takes time.

    Read blogs, read books, keep inspirational quotes in your planner, have a support group. All these things will help you go forward.  Do not get discouraged and give up.  Do not listen to negative voices.

I allowed insecurity to rattle my world for several years.  The first part of my reinvention was regaining my strength and confidence.  Check!  The second part has been a journey to return to work which energizes me and gives me purpose for right now.  We will see where that leads.

DVF also says, “Insecurity is a waste of time.”  It was, but regrets will only stop progress, so I am going forward, no matter my age, no matter what the clock says.

Instant reinvention might be a myth, but the journey has been worth it.  There is no retirement money at our house (my husband was laid off for three years and I teach private school where no retirement monies existed until recently). This requires a plan and the determination, joy, and good health to see the plan through.

So I ask you, are you the woman you want to be …right now during a new time of life?

Please share with us around the Joy Boutique table and have a great week everyone

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Thursday 16th of October 2014

I enjoyed this article as it hits home. At almost 67, I am finding this is one the most exciting times in my life. I still work part-time, because it gives me a purpose, I have started taking voice lessons, which I never followed through with in my earlier years, I joined a beautiful choir, I love to sew, decorate, garden and oil paint and I belong to a great women's group (wonderful support system). I don't think of myself as getting older, just freer and wiser. The only thing holding me back, is the number of hours in a day. I love getting dressed each day as it too is a creative process. And, with all of this I am still enjoying being with my husband and am blessed with 9 beautiful grandchildren and 1 great child. I look forward to everyday. I am inspired with older women who continue to grow and be creative throughout their lives. I look at all by new adventures as fulfilling my bucket list. However, the list keeps getting longer so I don't know if the bucket will ever be completely full. I very thankful that I have been blessed with good health for the most part and have a wonderful family and friends to see me through the good and the difficult times.

Lori Osterberg

Wednesday 15th of October 2014

I couldn't agree more Pamela. I do think the key is seeing the destination - if you know where you're going, you'll understand if you are taking the right steps to get there. The problem I'm having right now is seeing so many destinations. I've always had so many ideas I want to try! But I'm working on it. I guess its all part of the process, right? (Thanks for the update on Diane's new book - I hadn't heard she was releasing a new one, but I'm definitely looking forward to it now.)


Tuesday 14th of October 2014

Really enjoyed this article. It hit home with me as a woman who is just starting to figure out who she is in her second year of empty nesting. Thank you.


Tuesday 14th of October 2014

Can't wait for this book to come out! Great post! I'm happy with who I have been up until now, but I know it is definitely time for some reinvention. I'm at the beginning of that journey, and your tips are very helpful.


Tuesday 14th of October 2014

Really enjoyed your article, Pam. Your writing feels so sincere and genuine, which makes your words all the more powerful and resonant.

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