sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

The Curious Path to the Life You Really Want

By Linda Wattier September 16, 2023 Lifestyle

Something big was afoot.

Bored out of my mind and tired of the daily grind, I couldn’t muster up even one ounce of enthusiasm. My work in the corporate world had become meaningless. I knew I had reached a significant turning point.

In the mornings, my husband and I would laugh when, all “armored up” and ready to leave, I would rest my head on his chest and moan, “Please don’t make me go to work today.”

But this was no joke.

Have you ever realized you no longer fit into your chosen work environment? The one where you’d been performing well and cheerfully earning a living for years. The one with the great benefits package. In the brand new, art-filled building on the stunning campus.


That was me about 15 years ago. It was kind of terrifying.

The torrent of questions seemed endless. How the hell did I get here? Why do I feel so uneasy? What the hell should I do now?

I had no answers but sensed it was necessary to stay with the questions, be present with the not-knowing, and remain curious.

There was mental fog and confusion, so I did the only thing that made sense.

I got quiet.

I slowed down the hectic busyness of my life so I could listen for the answers to all those questions.

Somewhere along the way, I had given up on my sense of wonder and openness. I had opted for the “right” answers and solutions instead. The ones that would help me fit in.

So, I wanted to venture into this unknown territory and come up with all my possibilities, not just the “right” ones.

Life’s Big Questions

“What do I really, really want in life?” That was the question that started me on a new path. At first, what I heard was, “I just want some peace and quiet.”

Eventually, I understood that yearning for peace and quiet was a call to self-discovery. What I really needed was space to change and grow.

So, I became curious about where I wanted to grow.

That’s when some of the larger-than-life questions came up. Who am I, really? Who am I becoming? Why am I here?

It was staying open to the questions that led to crucial new learning. The kind of learning that lasts because it comes from within.

I found myself making new lifestyle choices that turned into healthy habits.

I became curious about new creative activities like nature photography.

I explored meditation and other spiritual practices.

Curiosity and inquiry also led to my professional coaching education, which turned out to be one of the most valuable experiences of my life.

My rekindled sense of wonder guided me back to my true self and innate creativity. Curiosity continues to be my starting place as I grow in understanding of myself, others, and our natural world.

How Curiosity Serves You

  • Embracing curiosity empowers us by expanding possibilities and opportunities in any situation.
  • Curiosity builds relationships. Being authentically curious about another invites them to reveal themselves candidly, so you make a genuine connection.
  • Choosing to view our natural world with wonder and curiosity refreshes the spirit.
  • There is power in not knowing. Venturing into the unknown has a sense of possibility and freedom to it.
  • As my mentor Brian Clark writes, “Just like having a lot of ideas is the way to have a great idea, being curious about a lot of things leads to a lot of ideas that can result in the perfect way forward for you.”
  • Curious people are happier. Studies have found that curiosity is linked to feeling more positive, less anxious, more satisfied with life, and having better mental health.

In the words of author Elizabeth Gilbert, “The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for an instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information?”

She also says it’s like “a scavenger hunt – where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. You pick each one up, unfold it, and see where it leads you next.”

If you keep doing that, curiosity will lead you to creativity.

And that will be the end of boredom.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

I’d love to know: Are you going through a transition that has you pondering big questions? Have you asked yourself who you are becoming or what you really want in your next chapter? Where has curiosity led you lately?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Two major life events have pushed me to explore how I wanted to design my next phase in life. First, my 97 year old mother died at the end of April. Although Mom lived 100 miles from me, I was able to spend a great deal of time with her, especially over the last 4 years of her life, often spending an overnight. What great times we had. Second, I turned 74th on my birthday in August. Friends often would ask me when I would retire from my leadership coaching practice, and I would reply that I loved the work and that I may need to contribute financially to my mother’s assisted living (that was a bit of an excuse). As Mom was in her final days, I realized it was unlikely I would ever wish I had worked longer when my time was up.

Secondly, it became clear to me that continuing to work was keeping me from moving forward with other goals. The other goals fall mostly into the category of giving back. After contemplating and waffling at times, I stopped accepting new clients and am completing all current engagements. By the end of October, I will have completed all engagements.

Currently,I am actively in search of volunteer opportunities to use my coaching skills, and already have one that I am excited about. As a side note, finding the right opportunity to volunteer is more difficult than it may sound; that is a whole addtional topic.

For now, I will enjoy having less on my calendar, which will bring more flexibility to explore volunteering, more spontaneous (and planned) time with friends and family, and more travel (leaving Saturday on a fall road trip, hoping to see great fall color).

Linda Wattier

Thanks for reading and for your uplifting share, Sue. I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. And it’s good to hear about your self-reflection, insight, positivity, and clear vision.

Wishing you all the best as you go.


Hi, Thank you for this article. I have been in this ‘in between time’ for almost three years. I retired. Did a year of AmeriCorps which I loved. Then Covid hit. I continued to do some volunteer work but it was hit or miss depending on the pandemic. I still haven’t landed anywhere. I have tried to be curious. I have explored a lot of different approaches to being a 60+ woman. My curiosity led me to books, articles, websites, podcasts, professional coaching and mental health therapy for mild depression. I try to sit quietly, meditate, and see what comes up. I take care of my physical wellbeing but I am still bored and lonely. I can’t find my place. I want more than a little part time job. I want more than occasional travel. I want to feel purposeful, not just fill my time. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Linda Wattier

It sounds like you’ve put a lot of effort into your explorations, KaLu.

In my experience, the solution to the uncomfortable emptiness you feel is to go even deeper with your sweet self.

My coaching process is designed to explore the wilderness of women’s inner landscapes to extract wisdom and purpose. There are several useful tools I could suggest, but it’s tough for me to give meaningful advice without knowing more about you.

I’d be happy to schedule a free, no-obligation phone or Zoom call to hear more about your circumstances and see if I can point you in a new direction.

Please contact me in email if you’d like to give it a try:

I wish you peace of heart as you go.


I retired fron Nursing in January. I was so tired of the Healthcare system. I don’t speak the same language as the new nurses. I became a stay at home dog mom. Loved it until I went to see my podiatrist for a post-op. Told him I retired and he told me he had a job opening! I now cut toenails for Medicare!! I love it! I only work Part-time. I love the people I work with….lots less physical and mental strain!

Linda Wattier

Part-time work you enjoy with people you love. Sounds like you’ve created your just-right lifestyle, Toni. Wishing you all the best as you go. Thanks for reading. :-)

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.

You Might Also Like