Welcome to The Next Hill.

Hi. My name is Mel. I write and manage this website. But more about me some other day. This page is not about me. It’s about the website.

Every year, millions of us are forced, in middle age or beyond, to start our lives over. Sometimes the trigger is something terrible: the death of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a good job. Sometimes the trigger is something not so terrible: a last child fluttering away from the nest, retirement, a divorce, or the loss of a mediocre job. (I fall into this second group myself.)

Millions of other people discover as they reach a certain age that they want to completely remake their lives—start off in a different direction. (I am one of these people too.)

But starting over is never easy. Those of us forced to start over frequently make a terrible mess of it. Most of the people who yearn to start over never do.

What keeps us from getting it right? Lots of things:

  • The accumulated baggage of the past
  • An unwillingness to admit old mistakes
  • An unwillingness to commit new mistakes
  • The fear of losing even more than we already have
  • The fear of looking foolish
  • The seriously mistaken belief that we are too old

It’s all there at the back of our minds. And it’s all a lotr of bull.

Society is no help. In fact, it is a real hindrance. If you are past a certain age, our society will always do its best to convince you, subtly and not-so-subtly, that you are too old to begin again.

Sure, there are always friends and relatives telling you to "go for it." And there are certainly plenty of people more than happy to assist you—for a price. But in the back of your mind, you know it’s a load of crap. You see those wrinkles and gray hairs in the mirror every day, and our insidious, youth-obsessed culture does it best to shine a harsh, unflattering light on every one of them.

So, what’s left to do? Well, a lot of us simply lower our sights. Instead of taking a run at the next hill, we hunker down and try preserve whatever we have left. That is a terrible mistake.

I want this website to serve as a constant reminder that no one is ever too old to start over. It will be a pretty small site at first, but over time it will grow to contain useful articles, news, and links—about career change strategies, lifelong learning opportunities, coping with loss—and tips and tricks for dealing with society’s constant attempts to shuffle us off to the side of the road.

I will find the experts on these things and bring them here when I can. If I can’t, I’ll tell you what I think they are saying and where you can find them.

I will bring you success stories about other people starting over in new careers, new relationships, new whatever. In time, I hope the site will also become a place to connect with other people starting climbs much like your own.

A final note about me. I am definitely not an expert on any of the things that will be discussed and written about on this site. I do have opinions, and I will share them. But I will not always know what I’m talking about. Because, to be honest, I’m just a guy in his fifties looking up in surprise at The Next Hill.