I’m in my ThirdThird now (ages 60-90) and I find there are things I used to care a lot more about than I do now. Priorities, experience, wisdom, adapting… whatever the reason, I am much more flexible in my thinking.
The result? Less stress and more joy. A greater appreciation for each day, each opportunity, and each interaction.
Here are five ways that I can be much more relaxed now that I have lived long enough to recognize what is truly important to me:
Rules that try to dictate details like you have to wear brown with navy or that you can’t wear white after Labor Day (or before Easter) or that after a certain age you “shouldn’t” wear leggings or high heels. While I care about my appearance and want to be (relatively) stylish, I am much more inclined to be motivated by comfort and common sense now that I am older. Put myself together in a way that I feel confident and off I go.
Grocery store attire.
Continuing on with a clothing theme, I care much less what I wear to the grocery store, even though I have lived in our town for a long time and there is a good chance I might run into someone I know. If I know them, they should not be distracted by my casual attire and we should be able to enjoy an exchange of pleasantries in the aisles, with or without makeup.
Other people’s opinions about my family.
Once, my husband and I made a decision that (evidently) seemed rash to outsiders without much information. We both quit our jobs and headed in separate directions, temporarily, to take opportunities we were excited about. Pretty soon, there were all sorts of rumors. One of us was dying. We were splitting up. There was trouble brewing. None of it was true. We were just taking advantage of the trust we had built over many years that allowed us to each seek our own for a period. Since then, I don’t try to explain.
Keeping up with the latest.
Technology, slang, exercise, diet. Trying new stuff that is going to disappear or be replaced before I fully understand it is an exercise in futility that I no longer am tempted by. I am dependent on technology, but try to make what works for me last as long as possible. Slang, I just try to avoid so I don’t misuse, much to my grandkids’ amusement. Exercise and diet, I know what works so being consistent is the best approach at this point.
Ha! In the current political climate in the US, there is obviously little hope of everyone agreeing. But even in a family or social or work environments, I am much more willing to adapt to someone else’s idea than I used to be. For years, I have been considering a family vacation that involved passports and planes and trains and mountains and beaches. Our kids, however, asked if I would consider, instead, a week at a Florida beach. 17 people. No passports. No train. Just sand and sun and relaxing. They all agreed, so exchanging my plans was simple. That they all want to be together AND they want their parents there, too….that was a fine adjustment for my thinking to make.
Life is simpler now that I can let go of a lot of the rules and expectations and assumptions I had when I was rushing around and holding things together in my FirstThird (ages 0-30, mainly focused on learning) and in my SecondThird (ages 30-60, mainly focused on earning).
This is one key to me making my ThirdThird my very BEST Third.
* first published at Sixtyandme.com