Living with uncertainty is challenging, especially for those of us who are over 60. We have so many questions about the future. At times, it feels like we have more questions than answers. This can be very difficult. Some people can live with uncertainty, but others find it impossible to cope with.
We are more reflective of life as we age and we have so many unanswered big questions. What is the meaning of life, why am I here, do I believe in god, am I a good person/parent/partner/friend, and so on. Many of us have accepted that these questions are concerning our views of the world, our beliefs and our outlook on life. These are the things we have been pondering for decades.
And then there are the other questions we seriously think about all the time. These questions tend to make us extremely uncomfortable when left unanswered as they deal with our financial stability, our health and our living situation.
When the economy is bad, it negatively impacts our available cash flow, the cost of living and our ability to survive on a fixed income. While we may be healthy today, we could have an accident or get sick tomorrow. And our living situation can quickly change with the end of a relationship, an accident, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. And where will this leave us? What will we do?
Not having answers to these questions can definitely keep us up at night, steal our appetite, and plunge us into a very dark state of mind. Sure we can answer them, but without a crystal ball, the answers are only speculation. So what do we do? Unfortunately, we often handle uncertainty in unproductive ways. We may find ourselves:
These are unhealthy ways of handling uncertainty as they all encourage anxiety and paranoia. The goal should be to handle uncertainty in a way that encourages us to enjoy our life and not be too focused on the unknown. We want to take control. But we need to do this in a positive way that reduces stress and the anxiety.
Here are a few positive suggestions for managing the uncertainty in your life so that you can get more from life after 60.
When you form expectations, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment, as the future is usually different from what you expected. Instead of expecting something specific, focus on what you can do, and make plans accordingly.
To give yourself a sense of control, make plans for a variety of different outcomes and build flexibility into your plans. This will eliminate the fear of not knowing what to do, and provide solutions for handling a variety of future situations.
Sometimes we can get lost in our feelings and drown in negative “what if” speculations. We need to nip these speculations and remind ourselves that while we can’t predict the future, it does not mean it will be negative. It may also be positive and we need to look forward to it with positive feelings.
Determine the worst that can happened to you and then figure out how you will handle it. Once you know how you will handle the worst, it becomes less stressful and you will build up confidence in your ability to handle the future.
Focus on living in the here and now. Mindfulness, achieved with gentle yoga, meditation and some exercises, brings our focus to the moment and our attention to how we feel and what is currently happening. This relaxes our body and removes feelings of fear and anxiety about the unknown. Whatever technique you use, it is important to reduce stress, as this will help you relax and be better prepared to handle whatever life presents you with.
Focusing on what you can do provides the strength and confidence in your abilities to handle life. This positive focus helps eliminate the stress and worry from what you can’t do.
We have to consider that living with uncertainty makes life exciting. How boring would life be if we knew what would happen to us in the future? We need to embrace the unknown and not fear it.
Uncertainty can keep us up at night, obsessing over what might go wrong, or it can motivate us to practice acceptance, live in the moment, and embrace the adventure of living.
I’m focusing on my possibilities, not my fear, and I feel extremely positive.
It’s all good!
What are your biggest worries now that you are in your 60s or 70s? More importantly, what positive steps are you taking to address them? Please join the conversation.
Watch our conversation on the topic of uncertainty in life after 60: