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Getting Older and the Search for Meaning

By Margaret Manning November 19, 2015 Mindset

One of the biggest challenges that we all face as we get older is how to find new meaning in our lives. For better or for worse, our younger years are defined by the people around us. We are needed by our kids, partners, colleagues, bosses and friends. Then, in our 60s, things start to change. Our kids are doing their own thing. Our careers are slowing down – or ending all together.

During this transition time, it’s natural to ask “what’s next?”

What’s the Point of Getting Older?

Talking with the other women in our community, I’ve discovered that there are several common responses to this question. Please take a few minutes to watch this short video. Then, join the conversation.

Finding Meaning in Our Passions

Some of us put all of our energy into our passions. We still stay engaged with our family, but, we do our best to stay independent. The women that fall into this category see older adulthood almost like a second childhood. It is an opportunity to do all of the things that we didn’t do when we were looking after others. Does this sound like you?

Finding Meaning in Our Families

Other women in the community are “doubling down” on their family relationships, by choice or necessity. Some of us are looking after our grandkids full time. Others are relocating to be closer to our adult children and their families. These women see their “third act” primarily as a continuation of their earlier lives.

Finding Meaning in Our Spiritual Lives

Finally, there are women in the community who are putting a greater emphasis on the spiritual aspects of their lives. Some of these women are rediscovering their religion. Others are becoming more spiritual in less structured ways or embracing meditation. For these women, the search for Meaning (with a capital M) is as important, if not more important, than the search for individual meaning.

Of course, it’s not as black and white as I am painting it here. Each of us, to one degree or another, cares about these priorities. We all want to pursue our passions, support our families and connect with our spiritual side. At the same time, most of us end up with a primary focus.

As for myself, I care about all three of these priorities, but, I have to admit that I have been focusing more on my passions lately. Obviously, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer here. We’re all different – and that is wonderful! The only mistake is leaving our search for meaning untouched. As almost every spiritual leader has said at one point or another, enlightenment has to come from within.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this! Please take a few minutes to join the conversation below.

Now that you are getting older, how have you found meaning in your life? Do you find that your attention gravitates towards one of the 3 priorities listed here? Or, is there something else that takes priority in your life? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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