Does the meaning of life change after 60? That’s the question I found myself asking, recently, as I sat in a small café, writing and preparing for the week to come.
As I wrote, teenagers walked past the window, arms filled with shopping bags. Moms navigated the busy street with toddlers and buggies. Women in their 30s and 40s hustled past on their way to work.
Some people looked organized and purposeful. Others looked frantic and vaguely confused. Regardless, they all seemed to be going somewhere.
Whether they knew it or not, their lives had a purpose — perhaps a purpose defined by their life stage — but, a purpose all the same. With so many options available, life after 60 feels entirely different. So, the question struck me.
When our purpose is no longer defined by the roles we used to play, how do we find meaning in life after 60?
On the surface, the answer seems obvious. The meaning of life at any age can be defined by what is most important to us. Some women over 60 find meaning in their hobbies. Others continue to make their family or career the center of their lives, just as they always have. But, there is also a wonderful freedom that comes from being over 60. You finally have the opportunity to look beyond the role that society asks you to play. You get to ask yourself the question. What is most important to me?
So, ask yourself: “If I forget about what the world thinks, what do I value most in life?” Is it family, health, relationships, security, travel, music, art, simplicity, wisdom or love?
If you have identified your top priority and already have it in your life, treasure it. Hold it close. Embrace it. If you don’t know where to start, perhaps it would help to consider what some other amazing women, just like you, believe in.
I recently asked the 43,000 members of the Sixty and Me community what they felt was most important to them as this stage of life.
Their answers were as varied as their personalities. Perhaps you will find inspiration in the simple things that many women value. For many, health and family are the primary source of meaning. Perhaps 34 says it all. Or maybe it’s as basic as 24.
Elizabeth: Being with the ones I love.
Nuala: Appreciate the here and now.
Susan: Growing an online business.
Fran: Maintaining health and vitality.
Susan: Recovering from a loss.
Rose: Family, friends, health.
Anne: Mental capacities.
Toni: Staying cancer free.
Sandra: Doing things that make me happy.
Monica: Good health and happiness.
Sue: Being financially secure.
Carol: Keeping my memory.
Kathy: Being in control.
Angela: Finding peace.
Susan: My husband.
Marilyn: Being open to new adventures.
Dolores: My grandkids.
Mea: Waking up.
Pauline: Good social life with my good friends.
Zsuzsi: Happiness of my children and my grandchildren.
Gail: Lots of laughter.
Tessa: The love of a good man.
Patricia: Enhance my coaching business.
Richelle: My relationship with God.
Susan: Inner peace.
Meli: Pursuing my interests
Lauraine: Being true to who I am.
Steffi: Enjoying every day.
Lyn: Good health.
Francine: Health and financial security.
Pam: Keeping my mind busy.
Barb: Freedom to do what I want, when I want.
Pat: Being able to do things I like.
Anita: Loving my family.
Susan: My grandchildren and 2 great granddaughters.
Carol: My children and grandchildren.
Marillyn: Family and extended family.
Trish: Enjoy my grandchildren growing up.
Judy: Spending time with my grandchildren.
Wardene: My husband.
Shelley: Spiritual knowledge.
Cheryl: Move back to my hometown.
Alix: Sense of humor.
Gwen: Having fun.
Sandra: My eyesight.
Hermanda: Getting my PhD.
Gail: Unconditional love.
Barb: Having Money.
What do you feel is different about life after 60? What is the most important thing to you in this stage of your life? Please join the discussion.