As we reach our 60th birthday, it’s natural to look back and ask where all the time has gone.
Of course, we know “logically,” exactly what we have done with our lives. For the last 6 decades, we built our careers, raised our families and supported our spouses. In our “spare time,” (don’t laugh!) we tried to keep up with our passions and read the occasional book.
For most of our lives, we didn’t need to worry about “reinventing ourselves.” We were too busy living our lives to think about how they could be different. Then, in our 60s, things start to change. As our time starts to free up a bit, the nagging question of what we want to do with our lives resurfaces.
Fortunately, we are not alone on this journey! As members of the Sixty and Me community, we have each other to turn to. We can learn from our collective failures and share in each other’s successes.
Through my conversations with the other women in our community, I have realized that there are several questions that can help you to reinvent yourself after 60. Here are a few of the most important.
What People, Places and Things Are Cluttering Up Your Life?
By the time we reach our 60s, most of us have acquired a lot of “stuff.” On a physical level, this includes all of the furniture, pictures, dishes, electronics, clothes, jewelry and makeup that clutters up our homes. On a slightly higher level, this might include friends who no longer make us happy.
The problem is that our mental world is a reflection of our physical world. When our environments are cluttered, we don’t have room for the possessions or people that could make us truly happy.
I can’t tell you how many women have told me that downsizing in retirement changed their lives. In most cases, what started as a decluttering process, focused on their physical possessions, turned into a complete reinvention of their lives. As their physical environments opened up, they were able to see their friends and acquaintances in a new light. Some of their true friends were people that they spent very little time with. Other people added very little to their lives and asked for a lot of their time.
The shift that these women went through wasn’t dramatic. They didn’t throw anyone out of their lives. They simply started to shift their time and attention towards the people that made them happy.
What Activities Do You Love to Take Part in?
As mothers and wives, we have a tendency to put our passions on the back-burner. After all, there are plenty of everyday tasks to take care of. Who has time for writing, bowling, running or hiking? I’m not saying that we abandon these activities altogether – but, we certainly don’t have as much time to enjoy them as we would like.
Are there any activities that you used to love as a child, or young adult, that you want to pick up again? What have you always wanted to try?
Take a few minutes today and write down one activity from your past that you want to bring back into your life. Then write down one more activity that you have always been curious about. You don’t have to jump in “feet first” and start buying equipment. But, you should at least take one tangible step to explore these potential passions in the next 7 days. Don’t leave this process up to chance. Find an activity (even if it’s just to watch) and mark your calendar. If not now, then when?
Is Your Lack of Physical Fitness Stopping You from Following Your Dreams?
This may seem like a strange question to include in this list. It’s not “touchy-feely.” In fact, it’s downright practical… if not boring. That said, if there is one thing that ties together all of the women in our community who have reinvented themselves it’s that they took steps to improve their health.
Getting in good shape is the only way I know to improve every aspect of your life after 60. Exercise helps to keep your brain in good shape as you get a little older. It also gives you more energy to explore your passions. Exercise also helps to improve our physical appearance and gives us the confidence we need to join groups of like-minded people.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. If you enjoy exercising with others, there are so many activities that you can consider – from tennis to hiking. If you prefer to work out alone, simply setting aside a few minutes every morning to stretch can make all the difference in the world.
Where Do You Want to Be 10 or 20 Years from Now?
Most women in their 60s underestimate just how long they have to live. If you are turning 60 today, you probably have 20-30 more years on this planet. This is a LONG time. The investments that you make in your health, wealth and happiness now will have a significant impact in the future – and it all starts with having a picture in your head of where you want to be.
Take a few minutes to close your eyes and imagine where you want to be 10 years from now. Where are you living? What kind of people are in your life? What does your daily routine look like? What passions are you exploring?
Keep this picture in your mind as you plan out the next decade. There is almost nothing that you can’t achieve in this amount of time. The trick is to focus on small habits that can be repeated every day. Focusing on your dream life will help you to stay motivated along the way.
Are you in the process of reinventing yourself after 60? Which of the questions in this article can you relate to the most? Are there any other questions that you think we should ask as we reinvent ourselves? Which ones?