Life after 60 isn’t perfect. In addition to the everyday concerns that exist in your younger years, you also have to deal with a weakening body, living on a pension and changing social roles. With all this going on, it’s easy to be discouraged. I even know women who are quite bitter about their life after 60. They look at their life and ask themselves “This is it? How, after 40 years in the workforce did it come to this?”
I was going through boxes of folders the other day and found some great memories: photos, my “Polyester, The Movie” smell-o-vision card, news articles that I wrote or were written about me, an old I.D. bracelet that I gave – and got back – from girls in junior high school and more.
I love books. I always have. When I was younger, books were my escape, my education and my entertainment. They allowed me to grow and learn and to slip into places to discover parts of myself that were not defined by the outside world.
When I interviewed developmental molecular biologist (try saying that 3 times fast) John Medina about how to keep your brain healthy after 60, he was full of useful advice. For the most part, his recommendations fell into the “things we know in our hearts that we should be doing” category – getting more exercise, improving our sleep and learning to deal with stress.
For many women, music played a big role in our young lives. It was a defining cultural force and every decade brought unique bands – from the Beatles, Rolling Stones and all those wonderful British bands in the 1960s to the divine divas like Whitney Houston and Donna Summer in the Disco “80s”.
By the time we reach our 60s, most of us have regrets. This is a natural part of life. Some of us regret the way that a certain relationship ended. Others wish that we had stayed in closer contact with our friends or family. Still others wonder whether we should have taken a different path in our career.
Ok, so, it turns out that a career doesn’t actually last a lifetime. In fact, the experts say that the average American can expect to have up to 11 jobs.
Have you ever considered writing an autobiography? If so, perhaps now is the perfect time to tell your own fascinating life story – even if only for your own enjoyment.
In a previous article we wrote about the value of women over 60 making the decision to reflect on their life experiences. We discussed how writing down your life story and memories can be one of the best ways to understand yourself and put the places and people who shaped your life in perspective.
Women over 60 have lived through six amazing decades. Throughout our lives, with a curious and adventurous nature, we have challenged the status quo and celebrated our independence and freedom. Many of us have had to build enormous emotional reserves to manage and survive difficult times.
In my recent interview with Dr. John Medina, we discussed the power of nostalgia to improve brain function. Since women over 60 care deeply about keeping their brains healthy as they age, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and explore the six decades that have shaped women who are just now reaching retirement. As you read, I encourage you to take a pause after each section and try to visualize what your life was like. What are your strongest memories of each time period?