What I am most interested in is getting women to think about, plan, and design their life so that their ThirdThird (ages 60-90) is the BEST Third of their lives.
I want to inspire and encourage and yes, even challenge us all to wake up and create a life that will give us satisfaction. With intention. Let’s live on purpose!
It’s a message that most women I talk with “get.” We all want to stay active and alert and healthy.
Here are five suggestions for staying on the path of a fulfilling life.
Convince Yourself That Perfection Is Not the Goal
No matter what the goal is for having a fulfilling life after age 60, doing something is better than nothing.
About a year before my 65th birthday, I decided I would train for a marathon to celebrate getting my Medicare Card. My husband had done a big race (50 miles) for his, so the bar had been set. I didn’t want to train for a 50-miler, so a marathon would do.
After a month of running, I decided a half-marathon would be okay. In a few more weeks… well, maybe a 5K would feel celebratory enough for me?
In the end, I realized I really didn’t like running at all. A long walk? Okay. Running? Nah. Don’t like it.
I went to Cuba instead of running a marathon. That was a bit edgy, since we went on our own, but it satisfied my need for doing something special. I didn’t have to stick with my big plan of running a marathon.
Find Something You Can Learn from Scratch
Find something that you’ve never done before and give it a go. A friend of mine is taking the tap-dancing lessons she has “always wanted to try.” She is nearing 80. I hear of a number of women who are trying yoga for the first time in their ThirdThird.
We just got 10 chicks and are going to see if fresh eggs are worth the time and effort.
Diving into something that is entirely new can give good energy. And, you might meet new people, find new friends. Just remember that perfection is not the goal!
Do Something That Will Help Others
It took me a few tries to find a good fit for my volunteer desire. I stuck with several positions in a few organizations until it was obvious that my skills weren’t a good fit for the group’s needs. Eventually, I attended an informational luncheon at the invitation of a friend (Board member) to find a great fit.
I am an organizer, and I have nutrition as a bit of a hobby, so running a local community healthcare facility’s “Food as Medicine” program is scratching my itch to be involved.
It has become my favorite day of the month when we give food to truly needy families. And I love that I can control the quality of the food and was able to figure out a way to provide fresh produce.
A friend who has become my fellow-volunteer says she loves the Pantry days, too. We have formed friendships with some of the guests and have heard their stories. We have also gotten to know some of the women who run the free books program at the same healthcare clinic.
It does our souls good to invest our lives in meeting the needs of others. Finding a good fit for your skills and interests is possible, even if it takes some trial and error.
Give Up One Bad Habit
We all have bad habits! I did not grow up in a family that gave up something for Lent, but I find that it is a good exercise, even outside of a particular faith practice.
This year, I gave up Microsoft solitaire games. I can easily decide to play a game of spider solitaire or FreeCell as a break from writing or emailing. “Only a quick game…” I wondered how much time I actually spent on my “quick diversion.” So, I stopped for Lent.
I’m not sure I can quantify how much time I have redeemed to productive activity as a result, but I do know that after a few weeks, I was less tempted to go there.
Recently, a new widow in her 70s told me she got rid of all alcohol in her home so she wouldn’t allow herself a “pity party.” She will enjoy a glass of wine when out with friends, but none at home. She avoided what could have become a detrimental habit.
There is a 99-year-old gym attendee who comes daily to spend 20 minutes on a recumbent bicycle. Another habit of his? At home, every 30 minutes, he gets up and walks for 5 minutes, up and down his hallway.
He says he has decided he wants to live forever and is doing what he can… after never exercising in his “earning years.” He gave up being sedentary and is moving well past 90!
Make Gratefulness a Habit
Believe me, I could find things to complain about! But it is really just a waste of energy and air. Why complain when there are so, so – so many things to be grateful for!? (And who will listen to my complaints, anyway?)
My husband suffered from depression for years. When he was around 60 or so, we figured out a direct link to spring tree pollen and his most down times.
He would get slow and slodgy when the first maple trees put out their little blooms. Add oak and elm in, and he would have a hard time feeling enthused about anything.
When he was 65, he started taking allergy shots. This spring, he has had a few days of feeling flu-ish and “down” but nothing like years past.
He would add that, on top of allergy shots, he has learned to take each day as a gift and to enjoy where he is in the world… happy and fulfilled as he chooses his projects, runs a travel business, and stays active. Staying grateful while treating his tree pollen issues has truly changed his life.
The faces of our Food Pantry guests, whey they see fresh produce, makes me grateful that I can afford apples and bananas and avocados on my shopping trips. A walk around the block reminds me to be grateful that I live in a place where I am not afraid to be outside.
A phone call from a grandchild to share some excitement makes me grateful for easy communication. Clean water to drink, a home that is warm in winter, birds that visit my feeder, a car that starts and runs, sunshine (today). There is so much to be grateful for!
Being intentional about how we live our later years is a way to stay fulfilled and active.
How are you being purposeful in your life? What have you done to keep active? What can you share about living fully in your ThirdThird? Please use the comment box below.