I know, it’s not easy starting over later in life, especially if it wasn’t what you had planned, or you have had an unexpected setback. It may even feel like the end of the world.

I get it. After my marriage of more than 30 years collapsed, I was just a puddle on the floor of my new apartment.

It took me some time to pull myself back together. I still have lots of bad days, but I have slowly started to have more good days than bad. It didn’t happen overnight, but I’ve found some keys to making it happen.

 
 

Starting Over After 60? Start by Making New Friends

If you are waiting for someone to knock on your door to help get you back on your feet, you may be waiting forever. The only person who can make your life better is you and sitting on the couch binge-watching Netflix is not the answer, as much as I love it.

So, get out there and get to know your surroundings if you are in a new locale. If there is a coffee shop in your area, become a regular for a while. As you get to know the servers, they will get to know you.

You can look on the community board and find some activities near you. Take a book or the paper and just “camp” there for a while and you will most likely meet others from nearby. It just takes a couple of new acquaintances to make you feel at home in your new surroundings.

Look for an association in your neighbourhood or building. That’s a great way to get to know some new faces. And it’s all you need to make you feel like you are moving forward.

I had a party shortly after I moved to my apartment and combined my long-time friends with some friends from the new neighbourhood and it was a blast. My old friends loved my new digs and my new neighbours got a sense of who I am and who I was. Plus, I got some invitations for gatherings in my new neighbourhood after that, so it was a success.

Never Stop Learning

Continuing to learn isn’t just key for starting over, it is key for anyone as they age. Learning and keeping your brain working – and exercise – are the two best ways to keep yourself young, in my opinion.

Whether it is joining a yoga class, learning to cook some new recipes or taking up a new hobby, you will not only replace old habits and attitudes with new ones, you will increase your knowledge and maybe make some new friends. You’ll feel like you are in forward motion, rather than feeling stuck in old patterns.

If you are not in a book club, join one. It will force you to read a book that you might not otherwise read. Take a cooking class. If you want to learn Spanish, find a course in your area. If you wish you had taken accounting classes in college, many colleges and universities offer classes to seniors at a reduced cost or even for free.

Keep your brain busy and learning and you will have less time to dwell on the past and feel sorry for yourself.

Exercise

Let me assure you, if I never had to exercise another day in my life I would be the happiest girl in the world. But I do have to exercise. I am not a skinny girl who can eat anything she wants and not pay for it in pounds. So, exercise just must be a part of my life.

But, I know that without it I will not have the best chances of staying mobile and healthy in the future. So, I do it. And I have met some nice people along the way. If you are not exercising now, do it. And if you are, great, keep it up.

You are doing something positive for yourself. Exercise helps your mood, keeps you upright and improves your attitude. All you must do is put on your gym shoes and walk. You will feel better and get to know your surroundings.

Starting a blog called Starting Over at Sixty was another important step in defining my independence.

Have you ever gone through a major life event that forced you to start over? If you are struggling to start over, have you tried any of the ideas in this article? Please share your experiences with other women in the community.

Paula HarerAfter a 30-year marriage crumbled, Paula Harer found herself single for the first time in 35 years. She felt like she had something to say about her experience, so started writing a blog called Starting Over at Sixty. She addresses everything from loneliness and reinvention and offers ways to create a new outlook on life.

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