Reaching retirement age creates cacophony of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, we feel a sense of relief that, after decades of hard work, we will finally be able to pursue our passions. On the other hand, with all of our social relationships changing, it’s easy to feel lost, or even fearful about the future.

With so much change going on around us, what can we do to find meaning in retirement? When I asked this question to the women in the Sixty and Me community, several patterns emerged. In a previous article, I talked about how facing your mortality, exploring your spirituality and learning to put yourself first can create a strong foundation for a happy retirement.

Now, I’d like to talk about the importance of forgiveness, planning and health to finding meaning in life after retirement.

Start Forgiving Yourself and Others in Retirement

By the time we reach our 60s, we have our share of regrets. This is natural. Unfortunately, our regrets are often anchors that tie us to the past. Unable to forgive ourselves and others, we spend our time thinking about what could have been instead of planning for what might be.

Find ways to forgive yourself and others for past mistakes. Share your regrets with someone that you trust. Write them down and then burn the paper. Ask for forgiveness when you think it is necessary and give it even when you believe it is underserved.

Retirement is a chance to start fresh and embrace life on your own terms. Don’t let sadness define you. Learn to live free from regrets. Learn to let it go!

Celebrate Your Accomplishments and Plan for the Future

Women over 60 have so many stories to share! Why not write your memoirs and share the most memorable experiences from your life? You don’t necessarily have to publish a book. You can write in a journal, record a video diary or make an audio recording.

As you reflect on your life so far, you will almost certainly see patterns that you can use to shape your future. Are there activities or people that have always made you happy? Is there anything that you have put on hold in the past that you could start doing today? What do you want your legacy to be?

As a little inspiration, please watch my interview with professional writer, Ben Gran, as we discuss how to celebrate your life by writing your memoirs.

Invest in Your Health

What if I told you that there was one thing that you could do to live longer, feel healthier, improve your memory, increase your happiness and look better? No, I’m not talking about a new anti-aging treatment. We all know how effective those are! I’m talking about exercise.

Let’s be clear about one thing. Exercise is the most life-changing thing that you can do in retirement. Why? Because good health after 60 is essential to everything else that we want to do – travel, explore, learn, love and play.

The good news is that getting in shape doesn’t have to be time consuming or boring. Even 3 minutes a day of high-intensity exercise has been shown to be effective. Or, if boredom is more of the issue, why not combine your exercise routine with some social interaction? You could join a gentle yoga class. Or, if you like to dance, why not consider belly dancing or Zumba?

Life after 60 can be filled with meaning. But, in order for this to happen, we can’t let it unfold randomly. We need to take control. If we want to find meaning, we need to learn to forgive others, celebrate our own accomplishments and keep our bodies and minds in great shape.

What advice would you give to a friend who asked you how to find meaning in life after retirement? How have you found meaning in your own life? Please join the discussion..

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