How to Approach Changes in Activity and Lifestyle After 60
There is a time in life for almost everything, and of course, a time when we put some joys of our life aside. But when? And do we self-select by incrementally cutting back?
Now, at the age of 70, there are considerations I didn’t concern myself with at the age of 60. I expect the same may be true for you.
This came into focus for me during the week of the Boston Marathon. I’ve run this race a number of times over the past two decades. During those years, I’ve moved from the 55-59-year age group to the 70-74-year age group.
As I look at race entries for this year, it is clear the number of runners in my current age group is but a fraction of what it was 15 years ago. With the oldest female runner registered at age 85, perhaps I don’t have that many more opportunities to qualify for and run that fantastic race.
Will I self-select and decide I am just too old, or will it be an involuntary decision? What about those other women from my age group 15 years ago? Did they self-select or were there considerations beyond their control? I suspect it was a combination of both.
Pondering all that, I began to explore my thoughts on when we may need to curtail the activities and events we truly enjoy. Will it be a voluntary decision, that we simply no longer enjoy that activity, that we have found something we enjoy more?
Or will it be an involuntary decision based on a number of factors? What could we expect to lose, willingly or unwillingly? How will we deal with that loss when it comes?
So, here are some other areas where we may share these concerns:
Will I Need to Curtail My Driving?
Some of us love to get out on the road and drive. It’s been a part of our lives since our mid-teens. Have you already begun self-selecting when you drive or how long you are on the road? Are you still saving time by taking the fastest, most frenetic highway, or do you opt for the more relaxing route?
I have a friend who decided to cut expenses by selling her car and taking public transportation. When she wants to go out in the evening, she calls a taxi, an Uber or a similar service. For her, it was a self-selective and sound economic decision.
Will I Need to Change My Travel Plans?
Any of you who share the condition referred to as wanderlust know how serious a life change this could be. When looking at adventure travel, do you check more closely on the hours of hiking each day or miles on a bike that are expected for a planned excursion?
When choosing your destination, do you question whether you could be in a vulnerable health position in some countries and regions?
Will Losses of Activities I Have Enjoyed in the Past Limit My Joy?
The loss of activities I genuinely enjoy is the one with which I personally struggle the most. I sincerely hope that my creative process will find other outlets that I had not considered.
We won’t know until we are there, but I expect to catch up on about 1,000 films that I have yet to view and as many books I have yet to read. And of course, the new generation coming into this world that we all want to meet and enjoy.
When and if our ability and energy preclude us from the enjoyable activities of a lifetime, let’s strive to find new ones.
As for me, I’d love to be that 85-year-old woman running the Boston Marathon, but if that is not to be, let me cheer from the sidelines.
Have you had to face losing or cutting back on activities or enjoyments of life? Was it sudden or was it an incremental change? Which of your favorite activities have you parted with and why? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Mary Lou Harris is a proponent of active living, community volunteerism and inquisitive travel. After a post age 60 retirement from a career in public service, she expanded those interests to include ultra-trail running, hiking and extended-stay travel. She can be contacted through her website or on Twitter at @stillarunner.