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

Do I Believe That “All My Future Is Behind Me”?

By Ann Richardson April 06, 2023 Mindset

We were both waiting for the same train. I had sat down next to her in the waiting area, and she had moved her things slightly to make room, which meant we began to talk. For some reason, the conversation turned quickly to age.

I told her I was 81 and I liked being old. She said she was 61 and she didn’t. I asked her why not? “Well, because I feel all my future is behind me,” she answered.

Oh dear, I wondered. Do a lot of people feel this way?

Is Your Future Behind You at 61?

There is something about age 60, which sounds like a new level, like the levels in one of your grandchildren’s computer games. Except whereas they are always seeking to get onto a new level, this isn’t something that many of us are trying to get to.

It sounds like the beginning of ‘old’, which means the beginning of ‘the end’. Even if people at age 60 are not yet worrying about death these days (not so long ago, such thoughts might have been very reasonable), it is a time of thinking about retirement.

And retirement means stopping. Life as you have known it comes to an end. I guess it is an easy step to your “future is behind you.” (This brief companion also told me that she had lost one husband through divorce and another through death, so perhaps that sounded like the end of the road in the romance department.)

We turned to the reasons why I liked being old. “You are SO much more confident,” I argued. Yes, she said, and noted that she hadn’t really thought about that. “You feel so much more comfortable in your own body.” She agreed.

“And you do whatever you want to do and say whatever you want to say,” I added. She didn’t demur. I don’t know whether I won her over, but I did give her a flyer for my recent book on the subject of growing older.

She said she would look into it. Our train was called, our seats were in different compartments, and I didn’t see her again.

So Much to Look Forward to

But good heavens, life doesn’t stop at 60. It doesn’t even stop at 80. The past 20 years have brought two new books from under my pen. (In case you are curious, the other is on hospice care.)

Twenty years ago, I hadn’t written a word for Sixty and Me, for whom I have been writing for the last eight or so years.

And I hadn’t begun my new enterprise, started only five months ago when I was 80, of a free Substack Newsletter, each with a blog on some completely different topic of general interest. It has grown from 25 family and friends to nearly 170 subscribers, which is very rewarding.

Of considerable importance, on the family side, I didn’t have either of my two wonderful grandsons, who have added so much to my life.

I might note that I know several women who have found new relationships just before turning 70, so even that side of things is not finished at 60. As far as I am concerned, the last 20 years have left me even happier with my long-standing husband.

Nor are the joys of life counted solely by what one has produced or the people in your life. There is a wealth of everyday experience to be enjoyed.

Everybody is different in what brings them joy, but I have gained hugely from the books I have read, the music I have sung, the places I have been. Not to mention those hours just chatting to a friend. Or lying on my bed thinking my thoughts.

I wouldn’t have missed them for anything.

My future is still in the future.

Where’s yours?

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What has brought you joy in your 60s and beyond? What would you have said to the woman who thought her future was behind her?

Notify of

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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Love my 60s! I’m 68 still working n also love my work! I don’t really have a date as to when I’ll retire. In the mean time in preparation that when I do retire, I joined a women’s neighborhood club that offers so many activities and sub clubs from cooking to books to movies to hiking and more. I also volunteer at church, initiate outings with friends to musicals or movies or just out for a drink. I also travel which is my passion. I’m off to Patagonia in Oct. importantly I make time to workout. Oh and how can I forget having my grandson occasionally to babysit him. We are crazy about him!


This brought tears to my eyes and I was very encouraged to hear that there is still life after 60! I always believed it but as I turn 65 this year without my long standing husband of 41 years, I am feeling a little sad BUT I KNOW there is much more adventures to be had! I became a grandma and I have work that gives me JOY every day and I am not retiring but re-inventing and re-creating and revolving as I turn 65! Don’t let age define you nor allow retirement to change you unless it’s good change! Life is just beginning!


So I’m hurtling toward 60 (less than a month) and truthfully – I love being my age… or maybe I just love being comfortable in my knowledge, my ability to continue to learn, my ability to reach out to others, to love, to play, to work, to BE.
I still waver a bit when I think I’ll be “…60 (!)…” [notice my eyes widening in wonder and a little fear] in a few weeks.
I have an 18 year old son, with all the joy and terror that a can bring. Sometimes I find myself measuring “when Maximilian is 20, I’ll be 62… when he is 30, I’ll be 72…”, and that brings the half joking response to “how are you?”, “I’m one day closer to death – but that beats the alternative!!”
Generally, do I love this age? Absolutely! Though I’d take my non-arthritic hands, pain free neck and back, and metabolism of my 30s any day! (Notice, I didn’t say 20s).


Good one! Im in a similar situation: 60 with an18yo son. Hes living away and studying at university now. I’ve actually goneback to uni myself! Started an MBA (alongside my job). It’s enjoyable to be around a bunch of 30-50yr old smart, ambitious and motivated people and doing groupwork with them. As for the future? I’m not sure where it will lead but once I can exit my business, I’d liketo thinkthe combination of my business experience plus MBA means I can help others on their journey. Plus I was getting tired of my worldviewand wanted my eyes opened to new knowledge! I could retireand travel around in a campervan, but working hard for the next few years feels like a moreenriching path! Plus still get to “smell the roses”!


Good for you to go back to school! i always believed in life long learning! Go Girl!!


Thank you! :)


I retired 2 years ago and while we have been busy I haven’t found my purpose for this stage of life. But I am enjoying the fact that I don’t have to work anymore :)


I can relate. I retired 2-1/2 yrs ago and still searching for my purpose and how to navigate this new phase of life. I work per diem remotely so I still have my foot in the door but there’s more to life.


I just turned 60 and LOVE IT! It’s my time now to travel and do everything I’ve wanted to do. I feel blessed!


Enjoy! I did many years of travelling in my youth: Australia (12 years), Japan (18 mths teaching English) Southeast Asia(4months backpacking), Africa(12 weeks over3 trips) Europe (6mths touring in a VW campervan). Then parenting startedwhen I was 42yo. So now at 60, I dont mind working really hard(business owner plus studyingfora Masters).Itsamazinghow women’s lives can be so different. All the best and I hope you enjoy this nextstage – and the pleasures of travel!! <3

The Author

Ann Richardson’s most popular book, The Granny Who Stands on Her Head, offers a series of reflections on growing older. Subscribe to her free Substack newsletter, where she writes fortnightly on any subject that captures her imagination. Ann lives in London, England with her husband of sixty years. Please visit her website for information on all her books:

You Might Also Like