Recently I was dining with a friend who, like me, works in the media. She is in her mid-40s and realizes that her days on the air are numbered. Putting aside the issue of why it's acceptable for men in their 70s to be on the air but women over 50 are considered too old, she was grasping for ideas on how to reinvent herself so as to stay employed for another two decades.

She has reached success, but it's ephemeral. She no sooner reached the top of her game than the game she was playing shut down. Nearly every week now she and I hear of someone in our field who's moving on, retiring, or being forced to take a buyout.

My friend is in what author and Texas entrepreneur Bob Buford calls "halftime"—that period in your life when you switch from what you've done for the past 20 years to what you will do for the rest of your life. Call it self-renewal or the next big thing or refocusing. You begin asking what you want to be remembered for and what your epitaph would be. You think of all the things about your life that dissatisfy you and that, if you're going to change them, you must do it now.

When I decided I wanted a child and that I would do whatever I had to do to get one, I spent my 47th birthday talking with a local adoption agency. Jobs don't last, I figured, but people do. Three years later, I became a mom—one of the better decisions I've ever made.

A friend of mine decided to take a chance on a thrice-divorced—and repentant—man, and got married for the first time at age 54. She is as happy as a clam.

Famed rescuer Corrie Ten Boom was age 50 in 1942, the year her family became involved in the Dutch resistance and began hiding Jews in their Haarlem home. She spent most of her 54th year in the Ravensbruck ...

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