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How to Accept Life Changes You Didn’t Expect to Happen Over 60

By Terry Arzt January 17, 2023 Mindset

Nine years ago, my husband and I relocated from our home in Maryland to California. Our plan was to live near our children and family who had relocated to the area. We downsized and got rid of most of our furniture and belongings. We let go of things that had accumulated over the years.

Saying goodbye to our friends and all that was familiar to us, we sold our home and moved. I thought everything would be amazing. It was going to be a new adventure. Then reality set in, as it always does.

The move took much more out of me than I ever expected. Nothing, and I mean nothing, went according to plan. Within months I was discouraged and exhausted. Within in a year I was completely disheartened.

We all go through setbacks and disappointments. Life changes affect us in ways we never would have wanted or expected. However, this experience taught me that we make things more difficult when we have preconceived notions. Having fixed ideas of how things should be can often end in disappointment.

Many women in the Sixty and Me community are going through a major life transition. You may be trying to recreate and reinvent your life. If so, here are some hard learned lessons that I would like to share with you.

Accept Wholeheartedly What Is Happening, Even if You Don’t Like It

Step into new experiences without judgment and resistance. Accept that life is unpredictable and that we don’t have control over everything that happens. The moment I let it go of my expectations, I felt a relief. I felt less burdened and more open to what was there. Only then was I able to notice people, events and opportunities that were showing up in my life.

Don’t Hang On to What Isn’t Working

Learn to let go of old ideas, beliefs and ways of doing things. If it isn’t working, try a different approach. We often hang on to what is familiar because it makes us feel comfortable. Sometimes, we don’t know what else to do. When life is not going as we want, we often persist and keep trying harder to do the same things in the same way. When we stay open and try something else, we end up in a different place. A better place.

Change Exact Expectations

You may have the intention to create something new in your life. For example, the goal might be to be surrounded by a community of love and support. However, you can’t decide how that will come to you. Focus on the end results but in a general way. Leave room for possibilities, be ready to accept the unknown. Be open to what life is offering and to what is unfolding. I think that you will find yourself in a better more fulfilling place.

Get Very Clear About What Is Important

Not everything that we focus on is as important as we think it is. Remove what’s not essential. Stop doing those things that no longer bring you happiness or that you want to be a part of your life. By doing this, you create a vacuum than can pull what is meaningful into your life. Live and create your life with intention.

Appreciate What You Have in Your Life That Is Working

Be thankful for your loving relationships, job, home or whatever is working in your life. When you appreciate the love you have in your life, you will felt better in the present moment. The future will seem more optimistic. You will be able to create something new with confidence.

As long as you are living, something wonderful could happen at any moment. Life changes may produce highs and lows that you never anticipated. But what lies ahead will be a life filled with joy, new adventures and new ways of thinking.

I didn’t get what I thought I would, but what I got was a life that is gratifying and expansive.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Would you say that your life has turned out as you expected? How have you dealt with life changes that taught you important lessons about yourself? Are you open to change and the unexpected in your life?

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As the young mother of two by the age of 17, I decided at an early age to “make a a decision and then make it the right one”. This kept me from living a life of regrets and trusting that, at any point in time, I am right where I’m supposed to be. Now, at age 66 and happily married to my second husband for 31 years, I am grateful for all my decisions that have brought me to this point in life. Faith and optimism have served me well in life!


You moved house and were disappointed. Wow. How about losing your spouse, how’s that for an unexpected and unwelcome change?


How true! How clear! I wish I had acquired this wisdom years ago. Thank you.


Life so much didn’t turn out the way I planned. I have struggled to accept that my choices so long ago (at 18) would change the direction of my entire life. I’ve struggled to let go of my regrets. It’s only been the last few years that I finally learned that it’s ok to be where I am now. I’ve learned a lot about myself through the process. Unfortunately now I’m 64 years old.


I could have written what you wrote above. I’m 66 and find I still struggle with past choices and regrets, although I’m working on it. It’s somewhat comforting to know my feeling are not alone.
Thanks for this article.


Never mind. Your precious life is for you now sister.
I too, made major wrong choices when I chose the man I married at a young age, but at that time I was escaping a lonely, abusive, isolated, rural childhood in a dysfunctional toxic family – believing that my life could only get better. My innocence at time astounds me today!
Hindsight reveals many valuable lessons for us but for some,
sadly, far too much later in life especially if we are females that grew up in a patriarchal society.
Best wishes to you.


You said a mouthful, Claudette! The patriarchal and pronatalist expectations were (are, I hear from younger women) overwhelming.


Your reply reminded me of some wisdom I recently read: don’t judge another’s choices until you see what they had to choose from! It sounds like you were able to apply this compassion to your own life. Blessings.


Any advice on how you finally got to this place of acceptance, would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks for this.

We too, downsized, moved away from friends, big house, etc. in order to be close to aged relative in nursing home, then hospice. We like the area, but Covid happened just after the move, and hubby and I were less able to meet and make friends, and the new neighborhood is less like our old small-town ambience, more difficult to navigate socially.

All our time was taken up with the horror of trying to be near our relative who was in lock-down, unreachable… Covid again. A LOT of pain and disappointment. And we are aging too. A LOT to accept and digest.

Our dear relative has passed, -a year ago-, and I am just now beginning to recognize the things in my life here that can make me comfortable and happy. Your article is reassuring, affirming. I’ve found my feet again, though for the past two years, it felt as though it could never happen again.


I have younger children who haven’t gotten married yet but I think about how it will be in the future for me to live far away or near them. My husband wants to retire with peace and quiet but I’m not sure that is for me. On the other hand I’m nervous giving up “my space” to live near one of them will bring some of the feelings you have described. On the other hand, being far away from my future grandchildren seems sad. Any thoughts?

The Author

Terry Arzt is a tax professional and consultant. She is an enrolled agent which means she is admitted to practice before the IRS. She is dedicated to helping her clients by providing the highest quality of service. She works with people who need advice and support with tax and financial issues. Her website is

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