Retirement is wonderful. You’re able to say goodbye to long commutes, boring meetings and late nights at the office. You have plenty of time to do the things you enjoy. But what if plenty of time is actually too much time?
When I worked at MTV, a fellow senior exec remarked, “Working for MTV is like being married to a really hot model that won’t let you sleep with her.”
I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time.
I was driving to Tucson the other day, when I passed a billboard for the U.S. Border Patrol. On the sign, there was a big picture of a guy called Ernesto Guevera. Under aliases, it listed “The Axe,” “Spike” and “Che.” Guys have nicknames. Women do not.
When you think of a “typical” music student, you might picture a 7-year-old girl, sitting nervously in front of a piano, her tiny fingers resting lightly on the keys. Several decades ago, you may have even been that little girl. Well, if you think that musical instruments are just for kids, it’s probably time to update your soundtrack. There are plenty of reasons people over 50 should consider adding a little music to their lives.
Loneliness is a huge issue for Baby Boomer women. Many women in their 60s are living alone and, while some of these women are enjoying their new found independence, others find themselves feeling like their lives lack purpose or direction without close social ties. In fact, in a recent Sixty and Me survey, 75% of the women in our community said that they are feeling alone.
When I asked the women in our Sixty and Me community to vote on this year’s “Sexiest Man Over 60,” Richard Gere emerged as the clear winner.
As we reach our 60s, many of us find that our social circumstances are changing. Our kids, once the center of our lives, are grown up and are pursuing their own dreams. Our careers are either winding down or changing dramatically. Many of us are dealing with a divorce or separation. As a result, many baby boomers find themselves having to make new friends again for the first time in years.
One of the most important things that I learned from our survey on loneliness is that people who are dealing with loneliness are not starved for interaction – they are starved for intimacy. I don’t mean intimacy in a purely romantic or physical sense.
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You’re sitting in your living room, waiting for your child to come home. They’re 5 minutes late. Then 15. Then the panic sets in.
As parents, we wanted to do everything we could to protect our kids from our own imagined fears. If we could have surrounded them in bubble-wrap and assigned them bodyguards, we would have. But, since our kids would never let us get away with that, we did the next best thing. We nagged, bribed, threatened and cajoled them. We told them, in a hundred different ways, “Don’t talk to strangers.” Then, we hoped for the best.
There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. Being alone is a state of being. Being lonely is a state of mind. The truth is that you don’t need to live with someone in order to have an active and happy social life. At the same time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with looking for love at 60, 70 or 80 years old.