Ever heard the phrase 60 is the new 40? While that maybe an exaggeration, it’s meant to highlight the very real phenomenon of our ever increasing health and longer lifespans. And with that comes the possibility of starting over in life at the age of 60. For the average person who turned 60 in 1970, they could expect to retire at age 64 and live to age 70.8. For someone who turned 60 in 2010, they can very easily work throughout their entire 60’s and expect to live to at least 78.7 years old. With the advances in modern medicine, lower rates of smoking, and generally healthier lifestyles, our active and productive years can expand well into our 70’s and beyond.
But how can one make the most of their “extra” time and start over in life at the age of 60? For some, their 60’s are a time to kick back and relax after having worked for 30+ years, lived below their means, and saved diligently for retirement. For others, the prospect of retirement isn’t even a thought due to financial reality or simply the psychological need to be productive. A continuing presence in the workforce is a reality for more and more of the 60+ crowd.
Regardless of one’s situation, it is possible to find meaning in life at 60 years old and to feel proud of oneself. It’s important to shift attention away from things that took up the most part of one’s life like work and children and move towards themselves and how they can impact the world. Finding meaning in life at 60 years old means re-evaluating life and priorities. Goals can range from wanting to live longer, to lose weight, and be healthy, to spending time with family and friends or like-minded people. Each goal is equally as important, and finding meaning in life at 60 years old is something most people do.
It’s never too late to change your life, and the 60s and 70s are key years in an individual’s life. Everything around a person at that age is changing, and there is no one stopping them from changing as well. There are many reasons why someone might want to start over in life, including retirement, family planning, unexpected medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or simply the desire to do the things they have always wanted to do. Age is just a number, and it shouldn’t impact one’s determination and mindset when it comes to taking control of their life.
Priorities change as we get older, and by the time we hit our 60’s, a lot of us are looking to slow down. Health issues, either our own, our spouses, or parents, often come into play at this time in our life. This combined with having (hopefully) grown children, a paid off or nearly paid off home, and a bit of savings in the bank means that we can start to trade long hours and stressful work situations for a more flexible schedule and more leisure time. The key to making a successful life change in our 60s is being prepared for both the mental and financial challenges we are likely to face.
Any major life change comes with its own set of psychological challenges. When that change takes place in our 60’s, there are some very specific psychological issues to be aware of. While everyone experiences everyday or “normal” bouts of anxiety and depression, it becomes a problem when these episodes become severe or last for long periods of time.
Anxiety is a natural response to any major life-changing event. Symptoms and severity will vary from person to person, but you should always expect your anxiety levels to increase with any major life change in your 60’s. One can establish a new routine to replace the old one; hobbies such as gardening, golf, tennis, or volunteer work can help to get back into a comfortable routine. Pick a hobby that has both a physical and social component to it. Both physical and social activity will help to lower anxiety levels.
Even the most happy-go-lucky of us become susceptible to depression during a major life event. In fact, when retiring, changing careers, or even striking out on a new business adventure, both anxiety and depression can go hand in hand. You may find yourself with a lot of excess “nervous” energy that you would have used at your job to meet deadlines and get things done. On the other hand, you may find that you have no energy at all and it’s tough to even get out of bed.
It’s important to understand the psychological challenges that come with starting over in life at 60. But with determination, resilience, and self-care, one can successfully navigate these challenges and embrace their newfound freedom and opportunities.
In conclusion, life at 60 is not the end but the beginning of a new journey. With longer lifespans and better health, it’s never too late to start over and find new meaning in life. A shift in priorities, understanding the psychological challenges, and having the determination to take control of one’s life are key to making a successful life change in our 60’s. Aging is just a change in the body, it shouldn’t impact our determination and mind. As C. Joybel once said, “We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea.”