Cover image for 50 after 50 : reframing the next chapter of your life / Maria Leonard Olsen.
50 after 50 : reframing the next chapter of your life / Maria Leonard Olsen.
Title Variants:
Fifty after fifty
Publication Information:
Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield, [2018]

Physical Description:
xiii, 183 pages ; 24 cm


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
155.6719 OLS Book Adult General Collection

On Order



At age 50, Maria Leonard Olsen drank her way out of a 25-year marriage. She had, against advice, put all her eggs in the motherhood basket, willfully derailing her successful law career. As teenagers, her precious children did not need her in the hands-on way they previously had. Her husband and she had grown apart because, among other things, they failed to nurture that important relationship. She was depressed and stuck. When she turned 50, she had the distinct feeling that she was on the downward slope of her life. Actuarially speaking, she was. So when she turned 50, her gift to herself was to go on a crusade to make the most of whatever time she had left. She set out to do 50 new things that were significant, at least to her. The list spanned physical challenges, adventure travel, and lifestyle changes. Each taught her something about herself and about how she wanted to lead the next years of her life to come. This work follows the work she did to accomplish those 50 new things and shows readers how to make their own action lists - whether it be joining a knitting club or hiking the Himalayas, every item has significance for each individual and speaks to her needs and desires. The list is the match to spark the fire that will light the years after 50. Readers will hear about Maria's adventures and the rewards of each. Accomplishing new things, learning new skills, deepening personal and spiritual relationships, and seeking out challenges will add the spice to a life that may feel repetitive, insignificant, inauthentic, or just plain boring.

Author Notes

Maria Leonard Olsen is an attorney, women writing/employment retreat leader, public speaker, and a cohost of the "Inside out" radio show on WPFW, FM 89.3, in Washington, D.C. She has written for the Washington Post, Washington, Bethesda Magazine, Parenting, and other outlets. Olsen also counsels women recovering from addiction and trauma. See for additional information.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

When lawyer/journalist Olsen reached age 50, she decided to try 50 new things that were significant to her. As a woman in recovery, the author values the time she has left, and through her own story, urges readers to do the same via activities such as singing like no one's listening, riding a horse, and performing random acts of kindness. She enumerates many more exercises under the headings of "spiritual endeavors," "thrill seeking ventures," "lifestyle changes," and so forth, but the message is that we should value and embrace life to the fullest. VERDICT An inspiring read for those who are in or have passed through middle age. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Preface: Maria 2.0, or Out of the Mud Comes the Lotusp. xi
Part I Why I Did This (And Why You Should, Too)p. 1
1 Recovering from Childhoodp. 3
2 The Emptiness of Materialism and Trap of Perfectionismp. 7
3 A Living Problemp. 13
4 Dry Drunk Grad Schoolp. 29
Part II Introducing My List of 50p. 35
5 Travel and Adventurep. 37
1 Volunteer Vacationp. 38
2 A Very Long Hikep. 41
3 Solo Safarip. 43
4 I'll Take Manhattanp. 44
5 Traveling Shoesp. 46
6 Appreciating What's in My Own Backyardp. 49
7 Food, Glorious Foodp. 50
6 Learning and Teachingp. 55
8 Exercising My Brainp. 56
9 Back to Schoolp. 57
10 Radioheadp. 58
11 Consciousness Raising for Adultsp. 60
12 Consciousness Raising for Childrenp. 62
13 Empowering Womenp. 64
14 Sculpting a New Lifep. 65
15 Stitcheryp. 66
16 Work Itp. 67
17 Mixed Remixedp. 70
7 Social Activitiesp. 73
18 Dating for Dowagersp. 73
19 Beat that Drump. 76
20 Sing Like No One's Listeningp. 77
21 Third Eyep. 78
22 Ordinary Peoplep. 79
23 Nothing Like Old Friendsp. 80
8 Physical Challenges and Well-Beingp. 83
24 Silent Disco Partyp. 84
25 Yogip. 86
26 Who Rescued Whom?p. 89
27 Back in the Saddlep. 91
28 Floatingp. 92
9 Spiritual Endeavorsp. 95
29 Excavating My Inner Wild Womanp. 95
30 Getting Off the Hamster Wheelp. 99
31 Shamanic Wisdomp. 103
32 Good Vibrationsp. 105
33 Healing Self, Healing Othersp. 106
34 Random Acts of Kindnessp. 107
35 Higher Powerp. 108
36 Raising My Spiritp. 110
10 Thrill-Seeking Venturesp. 113
37 Wind Therapy (Or, What It's Like to Pretend to Be a Hells Angel)p. 113
38 Learning How to Firep. 116
39 Thirty Seconds of Famep. 117
40 Skydivingp. 118
41 Inkedp. 119
11 Lifestyle Changesp. 121
42 I Am Enoughp. 121
43 Seaside Sanctuaryp. 123
44 Life by the Waterp. 125
45 Keep It Simplep. 127
46 Good Companyp. 129
47 Model Behaviorp. 131
48 With the Wind in My Hairp. 133
49 Attitude of Gratitudep. 133
50 Following My New Road Mapp. 135
Part III Lessons and Tools for Your Own 50 After 50 Listp. 139
Suggested Readingp. 149
Bibliographyp. 151
Appendix: Additional Sample Lists from Others Inspired by My List of 50, and More Ideas of Things to Tryp. 153
Book Club Discussion Questionsp. 163
Acknowledgmentsp. 165
Notesp. 167
Indexp. 177
About the Authorp. 183