Three Survival Tips for Starting Over When You Feel Too Old to Start Over

bird flying

Is life forcing you into a do-over?  Wondering how you’ll start over so late in life? Does it feel like you are too old for a fresh start?  You aren’t alone.

To tell you the truth, I’ve felt a little like a fish out of water lately.  My family and I relocated to Santa Barbara this past month for my partner’s job.  I left behind my friends, my entire career and my spiritual community to go on this new adventure.

Discovering an new place is amazing, and if you’ve ever been to Santa Barbara you will know how lucky we are to be in such a beautiful place. But there are times where it feels like I’m a young 20 something again (and not in a hot way), instead of the nearly 40 year old woman with a solid career that I know myself to be. And while I know that 40 is not ‘old’ and age is really just a number anyway,  its easy to feel like all the hard work I’ve done in the last decade didn’t happen, especially when I’m visited by old patterns and fears.

If you’ve ever felt like you were starting over late in life this post is for you.

I can’t say I have it down perfect.  I’m still having my share of hard days, but these few things have really been a saving grace for me.

Remember who you are

I use the phrase a lot in a magical context.  Basically it means “remember that you are a soul who has been here before and will be here again”, remember that you have a spirit self who can rise above the situational drama of the moment.  It serves as a touch stone for me, especially in times of fear, to remind me that I’m here for a reason, even if I can’t see it at the moment.

This phrase has also helped me in a more mundane way: sometimes just remembering all my accomplishments is helpful when I’m worried I will fail.  Remembering that I have so many great friends, helps when I’m feeling like it will be too hard to build community here, remembering that I have built a thriving practice before, helps when I’m worried about how my career will unfold.  Remembering all my spiritual training really helps when I feel overwhelmed and intimidated.


If you don’t already have a grounding practice, this is the time to start.  Grounding is when we literally connect into the energies of the earth so that we have her support.  So people do this by imagining roots growing out of their feet and into the soil, by walking barefoot on the earth, or by putting their hands in dirt.  I like to imagine a root also growing straight out of my root chackra.

Connecting to the earth in this way reminds me that I have support.  It can be incredibly powerful for over-coming fear and anxiety.  I found myself relying on this tool a lot in my first week here as everything was unknown.  One because it would give me a second to really feel what I was feeling, especially my fear, and two, because grounding always reminds me that I have support, no matter how alone I feel, the earth is always underneath me.

Take a minute to be grateful

Gratitude gets a lot of lip service, and for good reason.  Studies show that when we are thankful, and express that thanks to someone, we are happier people.  So no matter how scarey, bewildering, or foreign life is feeling right now, take a second to find something or someone you are thankful for.

For me, in the early weeks here, it was being near the ocean.  I have always loved the ocean, so I made a point to go visit it once a day.  You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget how amazing the ocean is, even when you live near it.  So even if I couldn’t go swimming, or the weather was bad, I would make a point to just go visit it.

Have you ever faced a situation or time in your life where it felt just like starting all over again?  Leave me a comment below and tell me what your best tools for surviving it were.
photo credit: hjhipster via photopin cc

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Allison Carr

Leave a Comment

  • Tabi(tha) February 13, 2014, 11:28 PM

    Great post Allison! Grounding and gratitude have been so important to me as I’ve moved from Barcelona to Ibiza. I’d also add patience to the list. It takes a while to ground ourselves in the energy of a new place and to branch out and meet people. I sometimes finding my inner dialogue expecting a lot more when I’ve only been on the island three weeks!

    • Allison Carr February 14, 2014, 1:52 PM

      Yes, patience! Thank you Tabitha, that is a great addition to the list. Have to remind myself all the time!

  • Silvia February 17, 2014, 4:52 AM

    Thank you for this reminder Allison. I’m at a new beginning right now as I take my business to the new online territory. It’s not quite starting over but I’ve been there more than I care to say. I know that when I’m in fear, I’m not in my right mind. Like you, as soon as I remember “You’ve forgotten who you really are.” the fear begins to fade away and I can begin to TRUST in the process. It’s really amazing how when you make that shift how nothing physically may have changed…yet everything has changed. I needed this right now. Thank you.

  • Melissa Burkheimer February 21, 2014, 10:39 AM

    Lovely reminder for showing gratitude. I’m going to take a gratitude break right now. 😉

  • Artist Desiree East February 22, 2014, 1:15 PM

    Hey Allison, I remember your name from one of the B-School subgroups. Welcome to Santa Barbara (I actually live in Ventura County, just south of you)! Starting over could be very scary, but could be exciting and adventurous, too…I’ve had to start over (after the great recession hit), and it was the best thing that ever happened to me…gratitude and counting your blessings definitely play in creating a mindset that supports stepping into creating a new life with significant changes. xo

    • Allison Carr February 23, 2014, 10:55 PM

      Thanks for the welcome and sharing your story Desiree! I’m definitely grateful to be in such a beautiful place.

  • Jennifer Watkins February 27, 2014, 4:13 AM

    Hi, thank you so much for writing this piece. It brings me comfort because I am considering a move from New York City to California, where I will be starting over again as well. I too will be starting an acupuncture practice and leaving my clientele and professional/personal network out here. Thanks for your thoughts, I can relate! Good luck:)

  • K October 25, 2014, 4:29 PM

    Thank you, this was helpful today.

  • Jacqueline June 29, 2015, 11:07 PM

    I am 55 years old.
    I don’t feel it, whatever it is supposed to feel like.

    I was at the top of my career in my mid-40s.
    Well paid, well respected, successful.

    It all fell away from me. I lost everything.
    I don’t know anymore how to recover, or if I even should.
    I’ve overcome some great difficulties, but now am dependent on help.
    I can’t seem to fathom how to be independent again.
    I don’t know how or where to begin at my age.
    And yes, age is a factor when seeking employment.

    I was once brave, a free spirit.
    Of course the factors leading up to my complete loss, career, family,
    Love, were self created. Deep seated in childhood.
    I do not know how or where to go.

    A new loving husband after a long long absence of love and commitment. Home, family, security. More than I have ever known.
    It all fell away from me.