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3 Enablers of Purposeful Living After 60

By Linda Wattier December 13, 2023 Mindset

As a 60+ woman, you may ask yourself, “What am I doing with my life?” Or, maybe you’re thinking, “I want to experience purposeful living, not just fill my time.”

Perhaps your sense of purpose was all wrapped up in raising a family and/or your career, but things are changing, and you’re feeling a little lost.

We all want to feel like what we do day in and day out matters.

In fact, plenty of research has shown that identifying and pursuing a purpose improves our physical and mental wellbeing. Studies show that individuals with a sense of purpose tend to experience increased longevity, improved sleep quality, a strengthened immune system, reduced stress levels, and enhanced cognitive function.

But to reap the benefits, our purposes must be anchored to specific positive impacts and the meaning they have for us. Purpose, impact, and meaning are closely related. We need all three to fulfill our human potential and determine what our life will add up to.

Whether you’re going through a life transition, reflecting on your future, or just yearning for more depth and significance, a closer look at these three enablers of purposeful living is always a good idea.

Purpose Is What You Stand For

Purpose is your intention to make the world a better place in some way. It’s a cause (or causes) you believe in and are willing to stand up for in your daily life.

It’s about adding more love to the world.

It could be something as personal and close to home as helping a loved one deal with a long illness. One of my intentions is to support my husband through chemotherapy, ongoing treatments, and positive mindsets for his chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Maybe you feel called to help underprivileged women and children in your community.

Maybe you love and want to help preserve Mother Earth in some way. Perhaps you want to protect animals in your neighborhood or in the wild.

Like me, you may love books and reading and want to promote that in your community.

Perhaps you love art or music and want to contribute beauty to the world. My friend Ruth loves music, has been teaching piano to children for over 30 years, and can’t imagine ever wanting to retire.

To rediscover a sense of purpose, ask yourself, “Who and what do I love? What am I willing to stand for and work towards?”

Impact Is What Happens from Your Purpose

While purpose is about potential, impact is about reality – the unmistakable effect or influence you have on a person or a situation. Impact is the specific difference you make – what happens from your purpose. It’s something that can be observed and measured.

For example, my husband’s cancer keeps going into remission through the healing power of my love and positivity, plus the passion and skills of his oncology team. As we all stand for his potential wellness, our impact is seen through lower lymphocyte counts in his blood and his quality of life.

Ruth sees her impact when her piano students are excited about new learning and experience the joy of making music. It’s obvious when students are practicing and making progress.

Ask yourself what measurable positive impact you want to make in your world.

Meaning Is Derived from Your Impact

Meaning is subjective and unique to each and every one of us. It’s about why we do what we do and the feeling we get from it.

I experience tremendous significance in standing for my husband’s wellbeing. The positive impact of my support is undeniable and brings me great satisfaction.

When I ask myself why, I realize it aligns with my values of higher love, compassion, and zest for life.

Ruth derives much meaning from spreading her love of music and helping expose children to the arts. Why? Because the universal and enduring nature of music touches us all profoundly and promotes authentic self-expression.

A simple way to connect impact and meaning is to repeatedly ask yourself why and stay curious about your answers.

Your next chapter can be your most vibrant and purposeful one yet. The world is waiting to be enriched by your unique gifts – the purpose, impact, and meaning only you can bring. As author Steven Pressfield wrote in The War of Art, “Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you ever wrestled with purpose, impact, and meaning? If you’re nearing retirement, do you have a plan for feeling purposeful when the time comes? If you’re retired now, do you feel a little lost? Or maybe you did at first but found your way again?

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Eileen Johnson

I know that I really need purpose in my life. I recently started a knitting group at my house. I am teaching my 60 year old plus girlfriends to knit. And another group modern hand stitching. We are all willing, determined and creative! So nice to combine purpose with fun!

Linda Wattier

Yes, Eileen! Purpose with fun! Plus, you are creating community and belonging. Keep going and thanks for reading. 😊


I am dealing with this question at the moment. Perhaps I will go down the path of doing more art when I retire. I’ve been drawing and painting regularly since I was 21. Or maybe I will do some work on the local business board. I am not much interested in helping homeless people or those living in poverty so no point pretending

Linda Wattier

More art and the possibility of adding to your local business board sound great, Ingrid. The idea is to engage in things that feel authentic to you. Thank you for reading and for sharing. 😊


my congenitally imperfect hip (that got me to 62, though i made it run mileage and go to gyms and push iron around, ride motorcycles poorly, and just eke every bit out of what i found – i never wanted to miss a thing – not a fashion doll, so i’ve been Busy! – but i appreciate the art and finesse of you fashion dolls out there; i just never got good at it)

anyway, my hip is tired. i’ve known for my life i had a wonky structure, and thank God it didn’t stop all my rippin’ and runnin’ – but now, i’m Wonky.

my purpose in life is to not land heavily on my kids. my extended family is either extended to far or gone too far with me in other ways. my Daughter says i always have a spot in her lovely home, and that’s reassuring. but she’s out of state, and my Son is here locally. i’m single, and i’ve told him point blank that i don’t want to land on him if my hip wonks out.

so my purpose, as simple as it seems, is to take care of myself as best i can. the doctors recommend much more than i’m up to or into. i am into pilates, i have a pup to walk, i have many interests – playing with paint, reading, too much screen time – ha, astronomy, Arabic, keeping my Spanish fresh … even though my walking is wonked, it hasn’t stopped me driving. if God has no hands, so Missionaries do God’s Work, then God has no eyes, and there is much Beauty in the World, so i walk around to show God Beauty – hokey, isn’t it? i think so, but it is where i am, and i can’t believe i’m lucky to be right where i am

be well. yes, i’m by myself a lot, which i enjoy mostly, so my communication is getting blended into different styles, rather than be obliged to stay front-end ready for 300+ grocery customers a day. it’s new kind of freedom, and my Daughter’s in place to watch the sanity factor – haha


Great stuff! A lot of people with “perfect” hips don’t feel this good

Renee Lovitz

I am in a position to be able to help those less fortunate than I am. I have done this for years and will continue as long as I can.

Linda Wattier

That’s wonderful, Renée

The Author

Linda Wattier helps women over 50 design their most authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling experience of midlife and beyond. She’s a personal coach, writer, and founder of How She Thrives, a free email newsletter with hand-picked advice on how to keep growing brave, strong, and free as we age into our true selves.

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