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Why Downsizing Your Life May be a Key to Happiness After 60 – Dr. Dale Atkins Interview

By Margaret Manning December 04, 2018 Interviews

Let’s face it. Over the decades, we accumulate a lot of stuff. Then, as we get older, our priorities and interests change. After carrying clothes, books, travel souvenirs and school projects around for years, it all gets a little tiring. The memories are wonderful, but, in our 60s and 70s, for many of us, our focus shifts from things to experiences.

As a result, wanting to feel lighter, many older women choose to reduce their worldly possessions. To help provide some insight into this process, I turned to Dr. Dale Atkins. In our interview, we talk about what downsizing really means and why it is so important.

The key point that we agree on is that downsizing is not just about getting rid of stuff. It is about getting to the essence of who we are and what is most important in our lives.

Here is my interview with Dr. Dale Atkins on the topic of downsizing in retirement. I hope you enjoy the show!

Here are a few key points that I took from our conversation…

Simplifying Does Not Mean Giving Up Part of Who You Are

In the past, the “things” in our lives have given us status, power, and a sense of importance. Simplification allows us to get to our core and let go of items that are not aligned to our new core values.

In our interview, Dr. Dale discusses how letting go of things, people and places is an essential part of getting more from life after 60.

Downsizing Creates Space to Make Room for Other Things

While it is absolutely not necessary to live without possessions, the truth is that we really don’t need as much as we think. In many ways, the possessions we accumulated in a different time and place encourage us to fall into predictable behavior patterns. When this happens, they give us false sense of security and can even become a burden.

Ironically, a home filled with objects leaves no room for anything or anyone new to come into our life. Giving up things allows us more space to think – it lets us express ourselves, create new interests and find new friends. Unencumbered by the past, our new passions and interests have a space to grow.

Rituals Can Help with the Process of Downsizing

The process of downsizing can be fun and creative. Dr Dale says that it is important to have a ritual around letting things go. For example, you could get together with a new friend, who does not have the attachment to your past, and ask them to help you sort through the items in your house. Ask them to listen to the story behind each item and what it meant to you.

Dr. Dale says it is also ok to get permission from people who are attached to the items you are thinking about letting go. This is especially important when it comes to things associated with kids, family and pets.

Some of these items have huge significance because of the good memories associated with them. It’s important to remember to embrace the memory, not the thing. For example, converting your photos to digital format allows you to keep the memories without taking up too much physical space.

The Downsizing Journey Starts with a Single Step

Some possessions, people and places are hard to let go of. Dr. Dale suggests that we begin by putting ourselves first and thinking honestly about what we need now and in the future.

Simply asking ourselves where we want to be in 5-10 years can give us motivation to start letting things go. As we age, we realize that we have a finite time left to enjoy this amazing world. We want to make the most of it.

Letting go of the items, people and places that no longer make us happy is an essential step for finding happiness after 60. With our lives free of “stuff,” we can focus on explore our passions, spending time with our friends and family and seeing the world.

Have you downsized recently? What was your experience? Do you agree or disagree that having too much “stuff” in our lives can make it hard to try new things or meet new people? Why? Please join the conversation and “like” and share this article to keep the discussion going.

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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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