So much of our life is spent trying to please other people. While some women are able to find the strength to truly be themselves at every stage in their lives, the majority of us feel compelled to care what other people think along the way.
But, regardless of how we got here, the good news is that, now that we are in our 60s, we all have the opportunity to be who we really are.
By the time we reach our 60s, most of us have made our share of sacrifices. We have relocated to support our husband’s careers, put our dreams on hold for our children and supported our communities at our own expense.
I’m not saying that any of these actions are wrong – far from it! I’m simply saying that most of us have made a habit of putting others before ourselves.
Every day, it seems like another famous actor, musician or sports star declares bankruptcy. A few of the most famous examples include Kim Basinger, Billy Joel and Nicolas Cage. More recently, famous rapper, 50 cent, threw in the towel and admitted that his debts had become too much to handle.
Do you every feel like you are chasing happiness? How many times have you said, “When I get _______ I’ll finally be able to do ______?” Or, “If only _____ would happen, I could finally be happy!” This kind of thinking comes so naturally to us that we barely even notice it. Unfortunately, natural as it may be, this kind of thinking also prevents us from being happy in the present.
Many women are struggling to find happiness in life after 60. On the surface, you might think that our inability to be happy comes from our complex lives. After all, many of us have experienced divorces and deaths in the family. Some have lost parents and watched their children grow up and move away. Others have experienced health challenges of one kind of another. But, despite the fact that we share similar challenges, some of us are much happier than others. The question is, why?
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.
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?