On some level, I guess we all dislike change. In fact, for most of our lives, we have done everything in our power to find stability. Most of us looked for “safe” jobs. We tried to get our family to “safe” neighborhoods. Now that we are 60, we are told to put our investments in something “safe.” In all of these cases, the word safe also means predictable.
Life after 60 is a time for reflection and renewal. It can also be a time for recommitting ourselves to our core values and exploring life with a renewed sense of purpose. As I talk to the other members of the Sixty and Me community, I find that most women believe that the best years are still to come – if we make good decisions today.
On some level, we all know that the secret to longevity and happiness after 60 isn’t found in the latest pills and potions that the “anti-aging” industry pushes at us. The best tonic for longevity is to live well – to surround ourselves with good friends, new experiences, healthy food and worthwhile dreams. But, if you are feeling a bit apprehensive about life after 60, you may be looking for some more specific advice. After all, we all know what makes us happy, but, knowing how to make ourselves happy is another matter!
There is a well-established stereotype that the older we get the more risk averse we become. On one level, I can understand why this might be the case – when we are young, we have our whole lives to make up for our mistakes. As we get a little older, we simply have more to lose.
Over the course of our lives, we are taught many lessons. We learn that some people can’t be trusted. Most of us discover, the hard way, that life isn’t “fair.” We learn that most black and white issues are actually colored by rainbows of complexity. Unfortunately, many of us respond to these “lessons” by becoming more cautious and risk-averse.
Like many women my age, I spend hours in front of my computer every day. As the founder of Sixty and Me, it’s rare for me to type fewer than 2000 words before lunch. But, despite the fact that I am completely comfortable with technology, I still love my leather bound journal. There is something about putting pen to paper that takes me to another world and makes all of my fears and worries fade away, if only for a moment. Do you feel the same?
Do you every feel like life takes on a momentum of its own? I know I do! As we pass through the decades of our lives, one decision blends into the next. Finally, as we reach our 60s and we finally have time to evaluate our lives, it’s easy to wonder “how did I get here?”
When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, what do you see? Do your eyes dance quickly over your reflection, too quickly to settle on any one body part? Or, perhaps you pull in your stomach, hold back your hair and pause to evaluate yourself. Are you happy with what you see?
I have terrible news. There is a killer in your living room. Even worse, you probably think that this particular assassin is your friend. After all, he says all the right things. He entertains you. He even keeps you company at night. Unfortunately, this killer also has a hidden agenda – he wants to keep you isolated, dependent and worried. Why? To steal money for his employers.
No, I’m not talking about a member of your family, a friend or your Scottish Terrier. I’m talking about your TV.
When I ask the members of our community what challenges they are facing, a lack of meaningful friendships and a lack of financial resources are at the top of the list. On the surface, these are different issues, with different causes. But, if you dig a little deeper, they both relate to our changing circumstances.
By the time you reach your 60th birthday, you have a pretty good idea of who you are. You have faced all of the challenges that life has thrown your way and you have emerged victorious – ok, a little bruised too, but, victorious none-the-less.
At the same time, by the time we reach our 60s, many people find that the person that they are on the inside and the person that they are on the outside have moved far apart.