How to Recover from a Crushing Setback After 60
Have you ever noticed that when you have a sense of confidence and self-worth your sense of self is enhanced and you feel and see things more deeply? It feels like you can conquer the world.
Young people, especially children, leap from all kinds of heights having faith in their ability to do the impossible and land on their feet. Many times they are successful as adults look on in astonishment and thankfulness that they didn’t break any bones in their efforts.
What is it that makes children overflow with confidence in their ability to do whatever it is they imagine? When did we replace our confidence with insecurity? How do we get back our confidence as we age through life and living?
Those Days of Insecurity
When we are sad it feels like we don’t know which way to go or what to do. The lost feeling creeps in and we begin to question every decision we make. Not only that, but we doubt so many of our past decisions that we think contaminate every area of our lives.
Most of our decisions are final and there is no going back. We question our choice of a life partner because they don’t live up to our expectations. We expected to gain a supporter and cheerleader along with a shoulder to cry on, but that didn’t happen. We receive a lot less than that and wonder how our life may have been different.
The Truth About Choices and Living
Our desire for children and excitement gets lost in the insurmountable days and nights of giving without receiving. What were we thinking?
Our job was supposed to be exciting but got boring in a few short years. We don’t like the boss very much and would like to change jobs. The fearful thought of a job change, with a spouse and children to think about, makes it difficult to do. Will we jump from the frying pan and into the fire as our ancestors used to say?
We stress but hold back on making a decision. Were we the child who made the leap first and worried about the broken bone later? Nobody tells you about responsibility and the cost not only of living but also of loving.
Our children can be monsters and our spouse – annoying. We are unsure, sometimes, if we should retreat or stay the course, but we care about them and love them despite their flaws. Do they see our flaws?
We were the free-spirited child who made the leap of faith but are now the dependable mom, dad, co-worker, friend or grandparent. What happened to that daring child? We are the same child, but life has, hopefully, taught us to be kind, compassionate, loving and mindful beyond ourselves.
If we try to live life with these attributes in mind, we become a bit confused because they sometimes go against our desire to set ourselves free of responsibility, duty and even love. It actually takes that carefree spirit to encourage us to see another person and not just ourselves.
That is what makes us take the leap of faith towards something that may hurt us but is worth our time and effort. It is harder to take care of children with love and tenderness than it is to simply walk away, and let someone else do the job.
It is harder to stay with a relationship of any kind and work it through than it is to just give up and stop trying. No one likes to apologize and admit they messed up. When that happens, one person must apologize–which is not easy, but the other person must be strong enough to forgive. Only the strong make those kinds of leaps.
Doubts about Our Lives
Having doubts about life is part of living. We want perfection and think we can get it with our choices. If we are let down by a choice we made, we believe a different choice might have made things better.
This is kidding us because every part of life is a mixture of blessings and work. If you don’t expect perfection from choices, you won’t ever be disappointed.
The choice we make is the childhood leap of faith that we will gain much more than the cost of the leap or choice. As a child, the fall is worth the attempt. There are always costs to living, so have faith that living a life not only for self is worth the cost.
Learn to Be Mindful
We leap as kids to spread our wings and choose freedom to pick and dare. As adults, we must make the choice of letting ourselves live and love even when it hurts. What we get is worth our time and effort. Life lets us in on secrets as we mature. That should make us appreciate our lives at any age.
There are new people and new things to discover and to do all around us. We realize that money and things don’t make us happy or bring us peace as much as people and nature.
When we age and gain more time to use as we please, it is a blessing to be able to see, hear, sense smell and feel the world and people in it. We are not too busy working for money. We can now work for the love of life. People, animals, plants and nature need us to pay attention to them.
Forget About Regrets
There are no regrets unless you owe apologies. If you do, then reach out to the people you want to apologize to. It makes no difference if they are receptive or not. This is your life and understanding. You owe the apology, and they owe the forgiveness.
It is difficult to understand which weight is heavier. We are all up to the task of performing either gesture with grace. If it is too late to apologize to the person, a silent prayer within our hearts works.
I don’t believe we are judged for our bad acts but for our lack of not seeing or ignoring what life offers us. The lessons come through our living with mindfulness or thinking of others as much or more than we think of ourselves. We can’t ignore a need of anything or anyone if we can provide the answer or aid.
Live at Any Age
We can live our lives at any age with constant leaps of faith, trusting that we have made the right choice. We are never too old to have a purpose. We are living human beings with so much love to give, and love is what is lacking in our world today.
Children need love and some don’t get it. Older people can offer to read to kids or rock babies or visit the sick elderly or poor and offer advice or simple human contact.
Some people need a friend or advice, or even a job. High school kids can shovel, clean yards or babysit. Churches need help with people confined to homes or others who need food or clothing or temporary shelter.
Animals need homes and love. Sometimes, what seems like a “give” to us is a gift for others. Life has meaning, and every moment has the potential for a person to make a positive difference in our world.
Trust in those words and make the leap to come to the support of others in any area you can and in any way that you can. Your wisdom is priceless, your time unmeasurable, and your kindness ripples throughout time.
A person I knew, who was diabetic, had a heart condition and other problems and was confined to her home and unable to work or walk. Her life consisted of weekly trips to the hospital.
She would tell me about her talks with the medical people and how she made them laugh with her jokes. If they messed up her tubing or anything else, it became a joke. She wondered why she was still alive because she considered herself useless.
I now understand that watching her smile and joke amid such endurance of her pain made other peoples’ complaints about simple annoyances seem trivial. She taught us to be stronger and jump over the obstacles knowing everything is as it should be.
She had faith in life at any age. She always made a huge impact on other people and unknowingly brought love and grace into her own heart. She had the confidence to leap with faith even when her legs did not move, and she landed gracefully every time.
You are never too old to make a difference in the lives of others. Take back your confidence and look around because the world needs you – especially when they don’t even know it.
Are you feeling less or more confident in your 60s? What is the most difficult challenge you have had to conquer in your life? Please join the conversation below!
Pamela Reynolds is a Connecticut-certified teacher in elementary and Special Education. She taught for over 20 years in public and private schools and is now retired. The author of The Princess and the Queen, Pamela also writes about relationships on her website. She is married and has four children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and nine grandchildren.