Making the transition to life after retirement is challenging. Beyond the obvious practical considerations of where to live, how to stay healthy and how to pay for everything, we also worry about how to find meaning in our lives.
The 6 secret questions included in this article will help you to reconnect with yourself and build the life that you deserve.
Very few women consider themselves to be selfish or self-centered. This is especially true of women over 60, most of who have spent their entire lives looking after others.
For most of our lives, we have been encouraged, by society and our families, to be nurturing, giving and caring. There is nothing wrong with these personality traits. In fact, as I have written before, giving back is one of the best ways to find happiness after 60.
At the same, selflessness can be taken to an extreme. Our 60s are a perfect time to bring things back into balance and make sure that we are focusing on our own needs as much as we focus on the needs of those around us.
In today’s interview, I speak with blogger and author, Mary Eileen Williams, who says that it’s ok for women to be a little selfish in retirement. During our discussion, she highlights the fact that finding meaning after retirement requires us to focus our lens inward.
We can’t just rely on our relationships with others to give our lives meaning. We need to define our own meaning, based on our passions and values.
Next, Eileen and I discuss what happens to us from a psychological perspective after we reach retirement age. We talk about the emotional impact that losing our “accidental” friends, life-long careers and wonderful, yet ultimately independent, children has on us.
When our social context shifts, many women feel a natural urge to retreat from the world and “take it easy.” Unfortunately, in most cases, these women underestimate the amount of time that they have left on this planet.
While it may be fun to relax for a few weeks, or even months, sooner or later the nagging question of how to find meaning in our life reappears.
As Eileen mentions, biology and technology have combined to give women of our generation a wonderful opportunity to explore the world. Historically, women just didn’t live into their 60s and 70s. Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by!
In a previous interview, I talked with Julie Dargan, a Registered Nurse, about the hormonal changes that take place in our bodies during and after menopause. For the most part, these changes are usually painted as negative. For example, they make it harder to lose weight after 60. In my discussion with Eileen, we talked about a potential benefit of our shifting hormones – the fact that our new bodies allow us to be a little more selfish.
Eileen explains that, for most of our lives, our bodies are flooded with chemicals that make us want to be nurturing. One obvious example of this is the way that, for many of us, our families become the main focus of our lives.
Now that we have passed through menopause, many of us don’t feel as influenced by our hormones as we once were. As Eileen puts it, “Menopausal zest has narrowed and is moving us internally, encouraging us to be more introspective, authentic and spiritual.”
Finally, Eileen and I discuss 6 questions that can help you to find meaning in life after retirement. Please take few moments to answer these for yourself today. They may make a big difference in your life. Here are the 6 questions:
How is your life shifting and recalibrating?
What is your purpose?
What will make your life feel like a success?
What are the markers that will show you whether you are succeeding?
What behaviors and habits do you want to change?
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Turning 60 is a gift. It gives us the opportunity to decide how we want to live our lives. With fewer commitments to others, we can finally focus on our own needs and passions. I hope that you enjoy my interview with Eileen!
Have you become more selfish or selfless with age? Why do you think this is? Please join the conversation.