3 Ways to Answer the Question “What’s Next?” in Life After 60
Have you thought about what you want to do with the rest of your life? Do you ask yourself, “What’s next?” or, “What’s left?” It can be a challenge to think about what you want to do. However, answering the question of “what’s next” is critically important for success.
See the World with the Eyes Of a Beginner
As we age, we tend to stay with the familiar. We gravitate toward comfort. The truth is, the more you stay with the familiar, the smaller your world becomes – which makes for a greater chance of becoming isolated, depressed and anxious.
For example, if you wanted to try out a new art class, but your inner conversation goes like this: “Everyone will be better than me. I won’t be good at it because I have never done this before. Everyone will know more than me.”
If you’re really self-conscious, that train of thought will bring you to the ultimate excuse – of course, that “no one will like me.”
You talked yourself out of it before you ever sign up. Whenever you compare yourself to another, you can’t help but come out the short end of the stick, right?
If you’re not ready to jump into something new, you can tip toe in by imagining the new experience through the eyes of a child. Children are full of wonder. Their imaginations run wild. They experience their world whole-heartedly. It is magical.
You would never tell a child all the messages you tell yourself, so why not try compassion and love to help yourself become the beginner? You still have that ability. You just need to wipe off the dust, become the child, and let your imagination out to play.
Focus Your Awareness with Intention
Remember that where your awareness goes, your intention and focus follow. When you have no focus, one day runs into another, and life becomes a blur. So take some time to identify your intentions for your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Make an inventory on what has had meaning for you in the past, and evaluate what is meaningful now. Keep a journal of what you discover, and review it often because you are changing and evolving.
It is important to keep all possibilities on the table. Remember, you’re reconnecting to yourself in a new way. There is no right or wrong.
Slow Down, Be Still and Listen Deeply
Our culture urges us to always be “busy.” We run our lives at a fast pace. The more you run, the less you connect to anything meaningful in the world.
Instead of succumbing to what culture teaches you, let yourself sit in nature, still your body. Start noticing what your senses tell you.
As you take it all in, notice what stillness feels like in your body. The more comfortable you get feeling stillness, the more you hear the whispers of your soul. That is the voice of your inner wisdom speaking to you, holding you in safety and love.
Life and its meaning are always easier when we take the time and effort to meet ourselves in this way. Then you become empowered to meet everyday as a new adventure. What a great way to experience each day for the rest of your life!
What big goals do you have for the next phase of your life? Are there any hobbies you’d like to explore? What is your favorite spot in nature where you can calmly sit down and find peace? Please join the conversation below!
Ellen Bachmeyer, LCSW, helps women in their 50s 60s and 70s as they move through life transitions to create new meaning and emerge with an inspired life. She has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 35 years and has supported women with many transitions from divorce, to caretaking and grieving to remarriage, grandparenting and encore careers. Her website is Windhorse Center.