How to Change Your Life After 60
So many of us are faced with life changing decisions at a time when we thought our lives would be secure, even boring. It can be a daunting task to make a major life decision that you hadn’t planned. Here are some suggestions that will make that process a little easier.
First of all, as Douglas Prefect says in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic!” Everything will be alright.
It may not be the way you would have wanted it, but you’ll be surprised how changing your life can offer new experiences. A sudden turn in the road often gives us a new perspective, which may encourage us to do things we never thought we would try.
Consider Your Options
Though it may not seem so at first, you always have options. Consider how your different options will affect your life and what adjustments you are willing to make. Maybe you have to sell your house or move for some reason. Even this may offer opportunities.
A friend of mine was recently a victim of a house fire. He had a big trip planned with visits to five different countries, meeting people and doing poetry readings in each country. Here he was, two weeks out from the big day, and homeless.
I was wondering what he would do: would he cancel or would he go on? He chose to go forward. He had lost most of his possessions, yet the trip was already planned and paid for. In a way, having no possessions made it easier to just go.
The Silver Lining
Now, of course, the story is a little more complicated than that. However, life crises often do turn out to have silver linings.
A couple you may know as successful podcasters, had never considered podcasting as a business. Yet, when the husband had to give up his career as a musician after being diagnosed with cancer, they realized that the podcast could be a solution to a new kind of life.
They used his recovery time to create a video podcast about their life in the UK, their hobby, and their interest in the many historical sites found in their home country. Four years on, The Bakery Bears Podcast is very popular, with more than 10,000 subscribers. I love couples’ podcasts!
In my case, I’ve had a number of life changes. I had a divorce in my mid-30s, lost my home and my job, went back to college, became a theatrical costumer, which meant traveling all over the United States solo, and finally, landing in San Francisco for a few years.
Believe me, this involved many challenges, yet those experiences inspired me to write a book about my adventures.
I later moved to Asia and taught English in three different countries. You might say, I’ve acquired a unique ability to adjust to change. And that’s not the end of the story.
Have you found yourself in a situation where you feel like a lost nomad? You are not alone – many other seniors feel that way sometimes.
Here are some practical things you can do to change your life:
- Do a little internet searching and see the amazing things many over 60 couples, as well as single women, are doing.
- Don’t waste time complaining about how different things are.
- Enjoy the beauty and adventure of your new situation.
- Find others with similar interests.
- You don’t have to stick to the retired crowd. I’ve found I have more in common with people a bit younger than myself. They are often more open to change and more adventurous.
- Find your niche.
I didn’t know a soul when I came to Thailand. But it didn’t take long for my background in theater to lead me to the local English-speaking theater where I’ve enjoyed acting, doing a little costuming, and even assisting the director. Now, I’m organizing a poetry and jazz night for the theater. You can make opportunities into reality, too!
If you are a retired expat, living in a foreign country, you are probably nodding your head right now. There is always the excitement of exploring a new place and culture. But there is also a bit of uncertainty that you learn to live with.
You learn to accept that you are the foreigner. It’s not your country. In most countries, it is difficult to get a long-term visa. Sometimes that means a new adventure every few months, while you visit another place to renew your visa.
Life will throw you curves! Find the opportunities and catch them!
Are you adjusting to a lifestyle that is less secure than you’d expected? How do you cope? Give us some of your tips in the comments.