Our 60s are one of the most important transition periods of our lives. With our kids out of the house, our social context is changing. Retirement is “in sight,” even if we don’t plan on quitting our jobs any time soon. Turning 60 is also the time when many of us start to question our place in the world. We may even look at our lives and ask, “Is this it? Surely I was meant to do something more!”
If you are like many older adults, you may be wondering how to reinvent yourself after 60. Perhaps you are tired of feeling out of shape and want to make a commitment to living a healthier life. Or maybe, after 40+ years working for someone else, you are ready to create a business of your own. Perhaps you simply want to find ways to give back to the world, now that your kids are off building their own lives.
Since starting Sixty and Me, I have loved listening to all of your stories of reinvention. We have people in our community who have gone back to school, changed careers, started sky-diving and dedicated their weekends to supporting their favorite charities.
I’d like to share a few of the lessons that I have learned from these amazing people who have found happiness and fulfillment in their lives.
Here are 4 absolutely essential steps to reinventing yourself after 60.
I love the scene in Alice in Wonderland, where Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which path she should take. The cat replies that it depends where she wants to go.
This sounds obvious, but, you would be amazed how many people miss this step on their reinvention journey. They are so eager to “get started” or “do something” that they set off randomly, chasing one whim after another.
As a starting point, I would encourage you to take out a piece of paper and answer the following questions:
What do I value most in this world?
What do I feel is missing most from my life?
When have I felt happiest? What was I doing and who was I with?
What am I good at? Which of these talents do I actually enjoy?
What do I think is wrong with the world?
How do I want my life to be 10 years from now?
What do I want to fix most in my life?
What do I like most about my life?
These questions are just a starting point. I’m sure that you can come up with others that relate to the kind of reinvention that you are looking for. It’s important to make these questions a part of a “living document.” Don’t write your answers once and assume that your job is done. Return to these questions every few months to see how your perspective has changed. You may be surprised!
When you decide to reinvent your life after 60, the tendency may be to focus on big achievements. If you want to get in shape, you may rush out to join a gym. If you want to fix your financial situation, you may decide to sell everything that isn’t “essential.” In my experience, very few people thrive with this kind of approach. Oh, sure, they feel great for a few days. Then, as the adrenaline wears off, they go back to their old habits.
Ironically, the best way to reinvent yourself after 60 is to start with small steps that you can apply consistently. One place to start is with your answers to the questions in the previous section.
Try to find one small action that you can take every day. For example, if your health is a concern, set aside 5 minutes every morning to stretch. Set a timer and resist the urge to exercise for longer. Then, every day, increase your morning exercise time by one minute. Within a month, you will be exercising for more than half an hour. More importantly, you will have established a habit that will be hard to break.
What small step are you going to take today to build your new life?
The road to reinvention can be a lonely one. As a result, it pays to have people on your side – people who understand what you are trying to achieve. If you have a spouse, share your dreams with them. Ask for their support and encouragement. You may be surprised by their reaction.
Beyond your family, there are so many people in the world who share your passions. You may not feel like joining a club or organization at first, but, don’t rule this out in the future. As you establish good habits and your confidence grows, look for ways to share your passions with others.
After decades looking after your family, it may feel strange to focus on yourself. You may even feel like you are the only person who thinks that your passions are important. This is certainly not the case.
Many people in the Sixty and Me community have told me that their road to reinvention actually started when they decided to declutter their lives. Prior to doing this, it was as if they had too many programs running in their heads. With so many people and things to take care of, there simply wasn’t enough mental energy left at the end of the day to sort out their own lives.
Take an inventory of the people, places and commitments in your life. Are there things that you never use that you could sell or give to a worthy cause? Are there people in your life that make you unhappy? Are there commitments that you took on when you were in a different context that continue to suck up your time and energy? Maybe it’s time to let these things go!
As with every other aspect of reinventing yourself after 60, it pays to take the decluttering process slowly. Don’t be in a hurry to change everything at once. If you remove one unnecessary item from your life every day, your life will be decluttered in no time.
I hope that you found these 4 essential steps useful and that they help you to get on the path to building the life that you deserve!
Are you planning on reinventing yourself? What do you want to change most in your life now that you are in your 60s or better? What advice would you give to the other members of our community when it comes to reinvention after 60? Please join the conversation and “like” and share this article to keep the discussion going!
Tags Reinventing Yourself