I work in two industries -- TV production and also as a psychotherapist. I chose to go into the field of psychotherapy, since when one is a TV producer one spends their life giving advice, talking people off the ledge, and helping people solve their problems... all for free. So I went to school, got a degree, and now people have to pay me for the bon mots I dish out. But I was also savvy, knowing that at a certain point in a career, taking that walk of shame out the door of some 20-year-old executive was not for me.
Nevertheless, I have not "aged out," as they say. My ideas are as relevant today if not more so, and my know-how is invaluable. Who is it that denies experience in order to hire their friends to produce a TV program destined to go over budget and more than likely fail? Most TV shows do fail. Better to do it with finesse than with the bravado of how cool you are as a TV exec. But I fight the fight and periodically get the call to rustle up my expertise and come and rescue a project or make some talent talk who is completely out of his/her league as a host. I actually like the process of working with the impossible and making it possible. So yes, I am relevant. But so are the rest of you.
Daily, I deal with clients who feel redundant. They have been replaced by younger staff, electronics that do their job, programs and processes that no longer exist, and they are rendered paralyzed. Consider this the bounty call to get out of your own glue trap. You are not useless. You need to take a firm look at your skills and how they can translate to something else. You may not make your big bucks again, but you may find peace in doing something you have always wanted to do. You can teach in your field, work on your kid's sports team, perhaps volunteer for those issues that mean something to you. And yes, you need to make a living, but look toward other means of doing so. Craigslist, Staff Me Up, Filmjobs.com and any other conceivable website that might have something of interest -- something you might never have considered. Take a look at the syllabus of various colleges -- not to enroll, but to find out if there is something you have not thought of in which you hold some form of expertise. Be aggressive. Call everyone you know and then some. Do not be afraid of the cold call and do NOT get off the phone without getting another reference. Remember that most people are nice and do care and will help. And those who will not are not worthy of your time or interest. I know a few of those, and while it takes a deep breath to remove them from your speed dial, you can do it.
Age is just a number, and the higher the number the more the experience. Do not give up on yourself. Just reinvent yourself and remember that often the second chapter is way more exciting than the first.