SPECIAL FROM Next Avenue
By Sue Campbell
Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a blog series on life skills and knowledge that are good to have at age 50, 60 and 70. The other pieces: What to Know About Caregiving By 50, 60, 70; What to Know About Health By 50, 60, 70 and What to Know About Money and Work By 50, 60, 70.
By age 50 you know a lot about living well, how to keep growing and enjoy your time alone and with others. By age 60 and 70, many people feel happier and more fulfilled than ever.
At each decade, it's wise to check in to see what you can do, based on your own and others' experience, to get the most out of life. Whatever your personal goals for these years, here is a checklist of things to consider.
What You Should Know About Living By:
For many, this decade is a time of big transitions: young adult children are leaving the house, but may boomerang; aging parents might need your help; marriages may fray. In the face of these stresses, you may long for positive change in your life.
1. Deepen relationships. Often, learning what not to say to your grown kids and parents is what keeps the conversation going. Focus on connecting more deeply with your significant other, knowing what not to say and the secrets to a long marriage.
2. Strengthen body and mind. Diet and exercise are important and so is a focus on meaning and purpose. A huge advantage of this decade is knowing yourself and sharing your gifts.
3. Stay current. A key to vitality is keeping up with technology, fashion and education. Don’t be the fifty-something who becomes irrelevant. Committing to self-improvement now improves energy and coping skills later.
For most people around this age, thoughts eventually turn to slowing down and stopping (or reducing) work. Physical living arrangements often change, with moves to warmer climates or smaller spaces. Many experience profound losses in this life phase and close relationships become more dear.
1. Simplify. It’s never too soon to clear out unneeded stuff, and doing so seems to also help reduce mental clutter. Curating your possessions lets you keep what you love most and frees space for the new.
2. Take to the road. This is a good decade to travel, whether alone, with your spouse and family or with a group. New experiences lend fresh perspective and keep an adventurous spirit strong.
3. Let it go. Losses that begin in the 50s can accelerate in our 60s, and coping with grief is an important skill. So is letting go, forgiving and moving fulling into the present moment. It may be time to reinvent yourself as you shed parts of your past.
With more time for yourself, how come it seems there still aren’t enough hours in the day? Giving back and helping others, including children and grandchildren, is a theme of this decade, as is letting go of what no longer serves you. Many people at 70 ponder what their legacy will be.
1. Enjoy the extra time. Hopefully, a natural slowing-down will occur at this phase, with time to pursue passions from arts to activism.
2. Keep growing. A key focus is on continued self-discovery, giving back and expressing gratitude. Many people are able to let go of the small stuff and focus more on spirituality.
3. Build your legacy. As family ties deepen and become more important, so does your legacy. This goes beyond money and possessions to values. Remember: you never stop being a role model for your children and grandchildren.