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How to Unpack Your Emotional Baggage After 60

By Joanie Marx July 25, 2022 Mindset

When was the last time you looked at the contents stored in your emotional baggage?

Although the term ‘emotional baggage’ is quite recognizable, the process of opening the metaphorical suitcase where your limiting beliefs are stuffed into is not something a lot of people want to do.

For women over 60, this can seem like a task better suited to an earlier part of your life. In fact, you may have spent time at different stages of life unpacking and letting go of contents in your emotional baggage.

If you have engaged in this practice, it is natural to feel the contents you removed, along with the emotions that were healed, were enough.

But what about now? How do you know if there is anything left to unpack from your emotional baggage?

I will answer that question and more in this article.

This is the first of a four-part series on how to release the burden of your emotional baggage after 60.

Reading the Signs

If you have found yourself recently struggling with a life crisis, that is a sign contents in your emotional baggage are ready to be looked at and removed.

Perhaps you are not facing a life crisis but have found people in your life unsupportive of the things you want to do and experience. Or maybe you have a lot of support from people, but don’t believe it is possible to have what you desire after 60.

Both are signs it is time to flip the locks on your emotional baggage and start unpacking.

Another telling sign contents in your emotional baggage are ready to be released is if you are facing reoccurring emotional difficulties with finances, relationships, and feeling distraught and overwhelmed with the state of the world.

Of all the potential signs, there is one that is more important than any other.

Something New and Better Is on the Way

Signs that it is time for you to unpack your emotional baggage does not mean you have done something wrong. Nor is it a reflection that your life is not working out the way you want, and you’re stuck with what you have.

When you are guided to unpack your emotional baggage, it is a sign you are doing something right. Your requests and prayers for something better have been heard and received.

Therefore, the most important sign that it is time to unpack your emotional baggage is that something new and better is ready to emerge in your life and you are being called on to make room for it.

So, what exactly are these contents you want to review and release?

Frozen in Time

Emotional baggage is an accumulation of experiences, beliefs, emotions, and memories that have become frozen in time. Most of them are intertwined with limiting beliefs and unhealed emotional wounds.

The reason I say they are ‘frozen in time’ is that the contents are attached to the past. Specifically past events, people, and experiences, many of which were unpleasant.

Some contents in your emotional baggage are attached to wonderful experiences. What makes these ideal candidates to let go of is they are wrapped in limiting beliefs.

For example, if you are fixated on something wonderful in the past, you can find yourself longing for a time in your life that is over. What this longing does is it detaches you from the present moment, and disconnects you from your true, authentic self.

There is a myriad of limiting beliefs that can create this. Examples range from the myth of aging and the myth of physical beauty to the myth of scarcity, each of which I have covered extensively in previous articles and videos.

This eclectic mix of contents from the past combines all elements’ energy to create various levels of present-day fear, anger, anxiety, unworthiness, resentment, despair, and guilt. This is why the sooner you unpack what needs to be released, the easier and more harmonious your life will become.

Now, let’s flip the lid on the emotional baggage and see what is inside.

What You Will See Inside

One of the first things you will see when you look inside your emotional baggage is that a lot of the contents don’t belong to you. They are made up of ideas, beliefs, myths, and rules that were imprinted on you at earlier stages of your life.

While a lot of this baggage stems from outside conditioning, most of which you didn’t ask for, you must own it as yours in order to let it all go.

To put this into perspective, consider a famous quote from Albert Schweitzer, who once said, “If you own something you cannot give away, then you don’t own it, it owns you.”

Whether or not you asked for the contents of your emotional baggage, taking ownership and responsibility for their presence is necessary if you are going to drive through life after 60 on your terms.

In the companion video for this article, I share additional insights on this timely topic and guide you through six empowering journal prompts.

Do you have emotional baggage you haven’t let go of? Do you know how to let go of it or is there something stopping you to live your life fully? Have you tried actively looking for your emotional baggage?

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Joanie Marx

Hi Cindie. You are definitely right about having a good therapist. It is crucial part of the process in letting go of emotional baggage. Glad you are on the right track to finding the ideal one for you. Thank you for sharing and I am sending you many blessings on your journey.


Hi Leslie. I am so glad you found the article timely and also helpful. Thank you for sharing your experience. Being aware of the source of “feelings” that come up is so important. So too is feeling aligned with the right guidance for you to process through it, which for you is “the light of the Bible”. You’re in good hands.


Hi Andrew. Thank you for your reflections, they are much appreciated. I am grateful you enjoyed the article. Yes, I agree that many of the wonderful articles on Sixty and Me are equally applicable and relatable to men. This is especially true with the topic of emotional baggage and embracing one’s true, authentic self after sixty.


Hi Defiant Joy. Well said. I agree with you that an excellent therapist is one who addresses the real issues and is able to think for themselves. In my experience that is a professional who is open-minded, heart-centered and serves the unique needs of their patient, as opposed to being anchored to a rigid set of techniques, some of which, are manipulative. Thank you for your insights.


Hi Toni. Congratulations on your journey to become a licensed clinician. You are certainly helping to bridge the gap between black female clinicians and those of other ethnicities. Sending you well wishes for a successful and fulfilling career.

The Author

Joanie Marx is a three-time bestselling author and the creator of the new, groundbreaking Refocus & Renew Your Life® online course series on Udemy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Psychology, and a leading authority on refocusing and renewing your life.

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