As life
goes on over time, we change; everyone does. Sometimes we drift off course,
caught up in a tide of circumstances that turn our world into something
different than we anticipated. It happens, often, and the women I know are
experiencing it with greater frequency in their 60s and 70s.

Life as We Know It

effects of aging, career change, retirement, financial insecurity, empty
nesting, illness, and a shift in attitude and expectations can alter one’s
perspective, leaving us off kilter, until one morning, we wake up to a world that
looks unfamiliar, surrounded by those who don’t seem to be who they were, and
neither are we.

We realize
we’ve been going along unaware of how our life was shifting while we were busy
serving and supporting all those around us. There just wasn’t enough time or
energy to focus on our own needs and fulfillment.

external conditions change – and we
become free from working full time, caring for a family, or playing whatever
role we were cast – we find ourselves rather lost. We may
also find ourselves somewhat alone.

Our long-term
relationships are less engaging, foundered by the rough seas of other obligations.
We may not even share the emotions we once did and find ourselves left in the
empty shell of what used to be a happy life together.

We may be
tempted to leave, set out to find ourselves and establish a whole new life. But
dismantling a shared life is not as simple as it was decades ago when we were
young, just starting out, with less responsibility and no hard-earned assets to

At this
stage in our mature lives, starting over may be far less attractive, or simply
not an option for very real reasons. It’s not always feasible to pack up and
move on.

So, what’s
a woman to do? One answer is to bloom where you’re planted, like a dandelion
sprouting up between two slabs of concrete, growing happily in the warm sun,
despite its circumstance.

We’re far more
complex than misplaced flowers, of course, but it’s possible for us to find
happiness and contentment where we are. Here are a few steps to help you get

Find Your Inner Peace

peace may be a cliche, but it’s an important one. Whether this means
meditation, yoga, prayer, or a solitary walk in the woods, however you find
peace, letting go of frustrations and angst will clear a space for other
emotions to inhabit your mind and heart. Dedicate time and practice to being
calm and serene.

Let It Out

Talk to
your friends, get into therapy, write in a journal, engage in whatever form of
communication works best for you. You need to express your feelings. Keeping
them bottled up will impede growth and transformation.

Be Physical

physical exercise defuses cortisol, the stress hormone, and working out lifts
the spirit. I chose hiking and found it brought me the release and sense of
freedom I craved.

Get Clarity

Spend time
sorting out where you are and what’s at the source of your discontent. If it’s
something you can discuss and perhaps rectify with honesty, then set the stage
for that to happen.

If those
efforts fail, look to yourself and determine what you can do, for you to be
satisfied and fulfilled. Do what you can to improve your situation so you can
be happy where you are.

Look for New Outlets

I took up writing. I wrote
as a way to sort through my circumstance. Amazingly, it grew into a passion and
then into a professional endeavor.

Find what
is right for you, be it art, music, volunteering, gardening, travel – whatever gives you pleasure and is possible within your
circumstance. Start off small if you need to and see where it goes from there.
Be open and say yes to opportunities whenever possible.

Shift Your Focus

yourself as you would someone you love. Be kind and gentle. Pamper yourself and
treat yourself to whatever brings you joy. This might feel awkward at first,
but it is essential. Allow yourself time and space to realize your potential,
follow your passion where it leads and be open.

Watch for
opportunities that will further your journey. Set goals and encourage yourself
as you would a friend. Step out beyond your comfort zone and ask for help from
those who support you. And always celebrate your success.

Be Aware and Introspective

your situation regularly, be honest with yourself and dig deep into what it is
you truly desire, then set a course toward it.

Most of
all, be true to yourself. You deserve happiness, and you don’t always have to
make wholesale changes to find what makes you happy. Devoting time and energy
to creating a fulfilled life can deliver huge rewards. Take your first step

Do you find yourself at a crossroads, wondering what to do with your life beyond 60? Have you considered blooming where you’re planted? What steps do you think you can take to give yourself a happy mature life? Please share your thoughts with our community!