Turning 60 is a major milestone for many women. When we turn 50, most of us are in good health. We are usually at the top of our careers and have rich social lives, filled with family, friends and colleagues. Yes, some of us might be worried about the future or “where the time has gone.” But, for the most part, turning 50 is somewhat of a non-event. Turning 60 feels different.
As we approach our 60th birthday, many of us feel like the world around us is changing. Some of us are dealing with a divorce, the death of a spouse, losing a job or health issues. Others may simply be worried about what the future will bring, after our careers end and we enter “retirement.” Will our wisdom still be valued? Will our friends and family still need us? Will we have enough money to pursue our dreams?
Balancing our fears are our hopes for the future. After decades of looking after other people, there is a sense that, in our 60s, we will finally be free. Without the limitations that others place on us, we can pursue our dreams, travel, enjoy our grandchildren, start second act careers and express ourselves in every aspect of our lives.
Fortunately, we have 50,000 women over 60 in the Sixty and Me community to turn to for advice. These women have asked themselves the question “what do I really want my life to be about?” They have struggled with loss, pursued their passions and become masters of reinvention.
If you, or someone you know, is turning 60 this year, here is some advice from your sisters in the Sixty and Me community.
Many women over 60 are more focused than ever on taking care of their health. In the past, we may have taken our bodies for granted. Now, as we enter our 60s, many of us realize that this is no longer wise.
So, the women in our community are embracing regular exercise, eating better and, generally speaking, taking better care of themselves. Here is some specific advice from a few of our members.
“Just take care of yourself better. Take supplements, drink more water and exercise. With a little effort you can turn back the clock.”
“Take care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. Enjoy every minute!”
“Eat a sensible diet and take your time in all things. Relax and do all the things you didn’t have time for when you were working. Be proud of who you are, laugh a lot, and set aside regular ‘me’ time!”
Many women feel apprehensive about turning 60. There is a vague sense that we will be somehow “changed” by the event. The women in the Sixty and Me community remind us that “age is just a number.” Whether you are 50, 60, 70 or older, the important thing is being comfortable with yourself and embracing life. Here’s what a few women in our community said.
“It’s all in your state of mind.”
“To me, age is just a number, but, I still love the fact that my level of wisdom has grown. I’m 61 and am finally comfortable in my own skin and mind. What matters to me now is not what I dwelled on years ago. Now happiness, peacefulness, joy and the smallest of things thrill me. I love the way that things that robbed me of my sleep years ago don’t seem so awful now.”
“It’s just like when you turned 50… it’s no biggie really!”
One of the joys of growing older, according to many women in our community, is that we just don’t care anymore about the insignificant things that bothered us when we were younger. We don’t “sweat the small stuff.” Maybe you have been held back in the past by your body image. Or perhaps your fears of what others would think held you back from pursuing your passions. Now is the time to let go and learn to embrace life. Here is some advice from your Sixty and Me sisters.
“Embrace turning 60. There is so much more peace as you age. Just make sure to take care of yourself – mentally and physically.”
“You can be old at forty or young at sixty. It’s up to you and your attitude toward life!”
As I talk to the women in our community, I am constantly amazed and impressed by the level of wisdom and confidence that they display. It seems that, as we age, we learn to appreciate ourselves more and fear rejection less. So, as you turn 60, remember to be confident and be yourself. Here’s what a few of our members said.
“Just be yourself. Self-confidence is so important. You can do everything you want!”
“There is absolutely nothing you cannot do in your 60s! Just be confident and try not to be afraid of failure.”
I put “retirement” in quotes for a reason. In the past, retirement was thought of as a time of “aging gracefully.” Women in their 60s were expected to remove themselves from the public eye and content themselves with quiet tasks and the raising of grandchildren.
Many women over 60 are looking at retirement in an entirely new way. Far from being a time of quiet reflection and physical decline, these women are pursuing their passions, starting companies, traveling, volunteering and embracing new experiences.
Life after 60 presents an opportunity to step away from everyday stresses at work and to do what YOU want to do. Here’s what a few women said.
Julie reminded us that:
“Retirement is really fun! You get to do most of the things you wanted to do but never could. Eat well, exercise, travel, and plant a garden, full of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Have real fun with your family and friends.”
While many women over 60 are looking forward to spending less time in the office, others want to continue working. There are many benefits to working after 60. Beyond the obvious financial rewards, working gives us the opportunity to be around other people on a daily basis. It also gives us a sense of purpose.
At the same time, even if you decide to continue working after 60, you don’t have to stay in the same job, or even industry. Many women in the community are returning to school, starting their own business or switching fields. Here’s what one woman in our community say about finding a job that you love.
Mary reminded us to:
“Remain active and engaged in life. I don’t believe in retiring. Find a job you love. It doesn’t have to be for money, but, it should be something that you’re passionate about. Being interested in the world around you keeps you interesting.”
There are so many ways to stay active after 60. Many women in the community said that staying active and looking at life as an adventure were keys to getting the most from life after 60. So ask yourself these questions. What places do you want to explore? What adventures have always been on the back burner in your life? What skills do you want to learn? Who do you want to explore the world with? Here’s how a few of our women described the importance of making life an adventure.
“If you take each day as an adventure and stop worrying about how old you are, you’ll have so much fun that you won’t have time to bother about your age!”
“Be ready to take a leap…do what you only dreamed of before.”
Turning 60 is an opportunity to “let it go.” On an emotional level, now is the time to let go of old regrets and painful memories. On a more practical level, many women tell me that downsizing their house was the best decision that they ever made in their 60s. They say that starting over in a smaller, cleaner space gave them the freedom to enjoy life more.
Have you ever wanted to get out from under the weight of years’ worth of accumulated “stuff?” According to your sisters, now is the time!
“Don’t worry about things you can’t change – concentrate on the things you can. Declutter!”
“When you reach 60, you realize just how precious life is. Time is too short to sweat the small stuff. Above all, just be thankful.”
Many of us worry about how much time we have left, now that we are entering our 60s. Some women worry about death in a literal sense. Others simply wonder whether they will have time to accomplish everything that they want to do. Life in unpredictable, so, get out there and make every minute count!
“Enjoy every minute. (When you turn 60,) you will be at a time in life when you know yourself well. You will know what you will and will not tolerate. You will understand what things you want to pursue – or not. Trust your judgment and follow your heart. Value every second. Keep positive and let joy run your day. Take care of yourself. It’s the best time of your life.”
“Count your blessings and enjoy life – so many of my friends did not make it to 60 – so make the most of what you have.”
Perhaps the most surprising feeling, given our fears, that comes from being 60 is freedom. Now that you are in your 60s, your kids are grown and your career is probably winding down. If you are lucky enough to be in good health, life after 60 can be the best time of your life. Take advantage of your new found freedom. Get out into the world and enjoy life in all its multicolored facets.
“I looked at my 60th as a big door to freedom. Now I keep on doing the things I love – like volunteering and connecting with friends. There is still so much to do. Life is precious with family and friends.”
“Turning 60 offers the opportunity to retire. If you are a fun and curious person, you will love every minute.”
Reading through these comments fills me with a sense of optimism and purpose. If you believe what you see on TV shows, turning 60 is something to be feared. At best, we are expected to “age gracefully.” At worst, we are encouraged to prepare ourselves for a period of physical decline and social isolation. As the women in our community said, life after 60 can be anything that you want it to be. Let’s embrace our passions. Let’s focus on staying healthy. Let’s get out there and show the world what being 60 is really all about.
If you are turning 60, happy birthday! You are surrounded by friends. If you know someone who is turning 60 soon, please share this article with them.
Are you turning 60 this year? What fears or concerns do you have? Are you already over 60? What advice would you give to your younger sisters who may be turning 60 this year? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.