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Finding Purpose in Life After 50

My dear friend.

Have you ever heard that the key to a happy life is to find your purpose?

I spent 12 years looking for my purpose and can say, with a decent amount of confidence, that finding a singular "purpose" is like finding a unicorn. A myth at worst. A rare things that a tiny number of people manage to locate at best.

For the rest of us, I've created a logical approach to finding purpose in life after 50. Some will say that this removes the magic of "purpose".

To them I say...that's exactly the point.

Finding Purpose in Life after 50 Cover photo - birding

Table of Contents

About the Author - Dr. Angela Caveney

Know Your WHY to Find Purpose in Life After 50

The first step to finding purpose in life after 50 is to know your "WHY".

Boiled down, your WHY is the fundamental reason WHY you do what you do. Your underlying motivation that drives you forward.

Knowing your WHY begins with introspection into what truly matters to you – your passions, your dreams from earlier days, and the causes that excite you. It's the fusion of all the elements that you bring joy and fulfillment.

By identifying your WHY, you not only assemble the pieces of who you were earlier in life, but also who you aspire to be in your next chapter.

To further understand this concept, and to help you find your WHY, I highly recommend reading Simon Sinek's fantastic book, Start with Why as well as his accompanying workbook, Find Your Why.

Knowing your why is key to Finding Purpose in Life after 50.

Define Your Core Values

With your WHY in mind, defining your core personal values is the next step to finding purpose in life after 50.

Knowing and living in alignment with your core values is like having a secret recipe for happiness, authenticity, and a life filled with purpose.

In my article about discovering and defining your core personal values, I've outlined the exact, step-by-step process I use when working with clients. This is also the same process I used to determine my own core values.

Going through this process will take thoughtful reflection and some effort, but, once you've done it, you will have a clear compass to guide you through the countless choices you'll encounter as you seek purpose.

Goals are another key to Finding Purpose in Life after 50.

Choose Your Goals

Next up in our finding purpose in life after 50 adventure is choosing your goals.

With your WHY and your core personal values in mind, imagine your future. Create a road map for your life.

What do you want your life to look like in 1 year, 5 years, 20 years and "someday"?

These questions can be intimidating and most people have no idea where to start.

Use your WHY and your core values as guiding stars, helping you choose goals that truly align with what is most important to you.

When you set goals that closely align with your deepest aspirations, you'll be more excited about and motivated by these goals because you know they will lead to a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Create at least one long term goal to match every core value.

For example, if one of your core personal values is connection with other people, design your life such that you have lots of daily opportunities to interact with others in ways that energize you.

Another helpful strategy, when setting long-term goals, is to include people who are important to you in some of them. Create a sense of partnership and fun as you work together toward something really big and exciting.

The process of deciding on your goals can take a while. This is ok. Be patient. Keep a notebook for thoughts that pop into your head. A change of scenery can also be helpful because it gives you a fresh perspective so the ideas can flow.

Don’t obsess too much about making sure you have the exact “right” goals. You can always change them later. There are no "wrong" answers and whether or not you achieve your "someday" goals is not actually very important.

What IS important is that you create a vision for your life and begin to act in ways that are aligned with achieving this vision.

This, my friend, is what we call, living with purpose.

To find purpose in life after 50 - you must take action

Take Action to Find Purpose in Life After 50!

Now that we've gotten all the thinking out of the way, it's time to take action!

Action is the antidote to anxiety, the secret to slowing life down and making it more memorable and another foundational element of finding purpose in life after 50.

As we get older, it becomes easier and easier to just to settle into our daily routines.

Growth and discovery, however, happen when we shake things up, pushing outside the familiar boundaries of our comfort zone.

This doesn’t mean that you need to make drastic changes. Routines are an important part of life. If we did different things every single moment of every day, we'd be physically and psychologically exhausted.

Small changes, however, such as trying new hobbies, creating a bucket list, attending local events, exploring nearby towns, or just switching up how we do common daily activities can all lead to a better understanding what fills our lives with purpose.

Explore new hobbies

Exploring new hobbies is a fun and easy way to begin the search for purpose in life after 50 because they can open up avenues of joy and engagement that you might not have considered during your earlier years.

And - there are nearly unlimited hobby options!

In this article, I list 179 hobbies for empty nesters. Surely something in here strikes your fancy! Give it a try!

You may also enjoy this article about social hobbies, in which I list my favorite 50 hobby ideas for women seeking to find friendship through hobbies.

A bucket list is one way that people start Finding Purpose in Life after 50.

Create a bucket list

I love a good bucket list! Creating a bucket list is a great way find purpose as you brainstorm (and then accomplish) all the things you want to do in your life.

Traditionally, bucket lists are a place to brainstorm all the places you want to visit, activities you want to try, and experiences you want to have before leaving this Earth.

But bucket lists don't have to so "final". You can create bucket lists for certain phases or aspects of your life...or even just for a single season. Check out my list of 339 Summer Bucket List Ideas for Adults for inspiration!

Attend (and maybe even plan) social events

Attending social events can be a really rewarding way to find purpose as you push yourself out of your comfort zone and into the weird, wild world of new experiences and friendships.

If the town you live in doesn't offer a lot of varied types of events to choose from, then just create your own!

If you need suggestions, here is a list I created with 78 Social Event Ideas to get you started.

Before you know it, you're not just attending events; you're the one bringing people together, creating memories, and maybe, just maybe, discovering that your purpose involves more laughter, shared stories, and the occasional awkward dance than you ever imagined.

Dating again is a fun way to start Finding Purpose in Life after 50

Start dating again

Whether you're looking for new love or for fun ways to reconnect with your spouse and keep the romance alive as empty nesters, rediscovering the thrill of dating can be an exhilarating way to find purpose in life after 50 - through the joy of shared experiences.

Dating is a vibrant avenue for self-discovery and growth. It's not merely about the quest for companionship; it's a pathway to learning new things about yourself and the world around you.

Engaging in fun and creative dates can spark joy and excitement, breathing new life into daily routines.

As you explore various activities together, you forge deeper connections, not just with your partner, but with the community and environment you're experiencing together.

If you are wondering where to begin, or looking for fresh ideas to spice your relationship, check out my list of 30 Dating Ideas for Older Couples.

Travel with purpose - to find purpose

Traveling after the age of 50 isn’t just about ticking destinations off your bucket list; it's a masterclass in rediscovery, reimagining what is possible and finding purpose.

As you immerse yourself in new cultures, cuisines, and conversations, you'll find experiences that resonate with the core of who you are.

The beauty of purposeful travel lies not just in the places you visit but in the transformations that take place within you. Every wrong turn becomes a lesson in patience and humor, every shared meal with a stranger a reminder of the universal language of kindness.

It’s in these moments, perhaps as you’re trying to explain vegetarianism in a country where the concept is as foreign as you are, or as you’re standing atop a mountain you never thought you’d have the energy to climb, that you find pieces of your purpose.

Life after 50 should be full of living, not just existing, and what better way to prove that you’re still very much alive than by leaving home, if only to appreciate coming back to it even more?

Retreats are the perfect way to start Finding Purpose in Life after 50.


By definition, going on retreats is a very powerful way to find purpose in life after 50.

Unlike a typical vacation, the purpose of a retreat is to provide a structured opportunity to focus on personal growth, self-reflection, and rejuvenation.

The benefits of retreats are many, including stress reduction, enhanced mental clarity, and improved physical health, all of which contribute to a stronger sense of purpose and direction in life

Exploring various types of retreats can lead you to find one that resonates with your current life phase or challenges, offering activities and workshops designed for introspection and discovery.

Whether you're spending time in a natural setting, practicing yoga, or meditating, retreats can help highlight what truly matters to you, potentially guiding you toward a newfound purpose or reinvigorating an existing one.

Notably, health and wellness retreats for women provide a unique space for women to focus on their physical, mental, and emotional well being as they often include programs tailored to address specific life transitions.

Social clubs are fantastic for Finding Purpose in Life after 50.

Social Clubs - A Short Cut to Finding Purpose in Life After 50

If you know anything about me - or if you've ever read any of my other articles...then you knew this was coming...

I love them so much, I started my own: The Trybe Women's Social Club.

But this section is not a shameless plug for you to join The Trybe (though we'd love to have you join the Digital Trybe!).

Women's social clubs provide a shortcut to finding purpose in life after 50 because they do a lot of the heavy lifting for you by bringing women together to do a multitude of different activities.

All you have to do is sign up and show up!

For more info on social clubs, check out this article on the benefits of joining a social club and, if you're feeling extra frisky, perhaps even this one on the many benefits of starting a social club.

Start a Passion Business to Find Purpose

My final suggestion to help you with finding purpose in life after 50 is to consider starting a business around something that you are passionate about.

Midlife can be the absolute perfect time for women entrepreneurs to thrive.

Your business can be for a service, a product, a nonprofit...or pretty much anything else that excites you. The possibilities of businesses you can start in midlife are practically limitless and will no doubt lead you to feeling that you're living your life with purpose.

Starting a business is another option for Finding Purpose in Life after 50

Final Thoughts

Finding that unicorn we call "purpose in life" after 50 becomes an achievable reality when you know your WHY, your core personal values and your goals - and design your life in alignment with these things.

Whether it’s through exploring new hobbies, new experiences, social events, dating, travel, retreats, engaging in social clubs that bring together like-minded individuals, or channeling your passion into a meaningful business venture, the opportunities to redefine and reinvent yourself in midlife and beyond are endless.

About the Author

Angela Caveney, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, Neuropsychologist and Founder of The Trybe Women's Social Club. Her absolute favorite things to do are to help women find their people, rediscover themselves and thrive throughout midlife. She can be reached directly at

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