After you’ve been through a personal disaster there is usually an upside. It’s the time when you have regained your equilibrium and understood that you learned important lessons. You start making new and better decisions and feel proud that you made it through.

But, how did you get there? I’ve been through several of these upheavals throughout my life and I’d like to tell you about one of my most recent.

Don’t Let Age Deter You

In 2008 I lost my business. The downturn in the economy abruptly ended my career and I was forced to retire. Not that I wasn’t appreciated for my work, but with the recession, my clients could no longer financially support my services. I was already 69.

I bought into the idea that I was “older,” and therefore not hirable in younger recruiters’ eyes. I had never thought about not working, because I loved my work. But now, what was I going to do?

Searching for My Next Me

Being the active person I am, I looked for new outlets to enjoy. I became a very involved volunteer, joined a walking club, and took classes for people over 55 at the local university (no homework!).

I tried an acting class at the community college to test out my skills, and even became a Weight Watcher leader. All these activities and more kept me busy using my energy and abilities. But something was still missing inside me. Something was waiting to be born.

Be Open to New Ideas

Then, one day, I picked up the newspaper and read an article about a man who was a retirement life coach. And, I thought, I can do that! After all, I have solid experience. I’ve led workshops, facilitated retreats, consulted and coached people at different companies in organizational behavior skills and processes.

I know how to help people reach their goals and improve their lives. And, I’ve just gone through my own forced retirement. I get it! I immediately went online to search for how to become a certified retirement life coach. I found and took a 10-week class and was ready.

As I started to focus on my new career, my other skills began to show up. I wanted to speak professionally again, and write another book, and write for publication, and on and on. I wanted to give workshops on how to have a life after retirement because through my personal experience and research, I was forming my thoughts on what people can do at any age to create their best lives.

I also learned that when people don’t have a reason to get up in the morning, they get sick, get depressed or die. I wanted to help. Before I knew it, I was creating my next business.

Today Has Overcome Yesterday Big Time

Today, I’m doing it all. I have a new business and I have a life. I’ve written my book: Revivement: Having a Life After Making a Living. I’m speaking and writing and more, and I’m having a blast.

Here’s How to Reinvent Yourself

So when disaster strikes, here are eight ways to reinvent yourself:

  • Take control. Remember, you get to choose what you want your life to be like. It’s always your choice.
  • Take action. Find activities and try them out. Keep what you like and discard the others.
  • Use your skills when volunteering; this helps you and helps others.
  • Don’t buy into ageism. No matter your age, it’s up to you how you feel.
  • Know your skills stay with you. You’re as good or better than ever.
  • Check out local resources for things to do. There are many activities in your neighborhood and online.
  • Make sure to interact with others and gain support.
  • Listen to your inner voice and let it guide you to your future.

You don’t have to wait until you are a certain age to have a great life. The time is now!

Have you ever turned a bad situation into a good one? What happened and what did you learn from it? Are you still coping with a loss and need support to get through it? Since lost and found are part of life, let’s start a conversation that can take us to higher levels of overcoming and personal success.

Gloria Dunn-Violin is a professional speaker, workshop leader, and author of Revivement: Having a Life After Making a Living. Her 25-year background in organizational behavior and development, constant research and personal experience makes her uniquely qualified to guide retirees on their journey. She also hosted a cable TV talk show and writes for publication. Visit her site at