Pushing 60? Then push back
One moment, you had your head down, working hard, paying the bills, aiming for the better ‘somewhere’. The next, you wake up hungover (after only one glass of merlot) to realise you’re pushing 60.
How did it happen? You sank in a mire of mundane tasks. Car repairs, water bills, council tax, washing up, tidying socks, sitting down, tea and emails. As fast as you pushed it away – it found you. A thief didn’t steal your life – life maintenance did. And if you ever add up the hours stolen it would be enough to have you weeping into the whole murky bottle.
Meanwhile the bigger drama of your extraordinary life unfolds relentlessly - the morphing of careers – into jobs, post sex breakfasts into rounds of morning golf, and babies into empty rooms. Alchemy in reverse. And you mop up a puddle of dreams. Was my life a soap – not an opera?
But don’t get down – get tetchy.
I’m not suggesting too much obstreperousness (that’s due to you at 70), but a certain modicum of tetchiness and bloodymindedness is preferable to feeling overwhelmed, lost, and hopeless. After all, this was supposed to be your wonderful life.
And it still can be. Talking to a trained counsellor or life coach could help you engage in a serious evaluation of where your time is going. As time passes, our values and purpose in life can change. Therefore, a re-examination of what your priorities actually are – what you really value in life, can help you set new goals. Once you know what it is you really want, then it can become easier to utilise your time effectively. So you put the big stuff first. Then find quicker and smarter ways to do the ‘other stuff’ – even if that means delegating it, or simply not doing it.
Ask yourself, why is it that we have more ‘leisure time’, yet the time is eaten by inconsequentialities. Emails that demand your attention – insist you need a newer TV or a bouncier mattress. Passwords, usernames, log-ins. Everybody demands your time and attention. And if you are not careful, they will take it from you. Try these simple tips occasionally.
Tip 1 – It's your time, not somebody elses. For one day, turn your devices off. Do not answer a single text, email or phone call (and do not get out of the bath to answer an automated PPI call).
Tip 2 – For one day, don’t tidy up, wash up, or pick up any item that should be upstairs to downstairs and vice versa.
60 is so young. There’s a lot of life still in front to live. You are wiser now, use that wisdom to work insightfully. You may find yourself working less – but working smarter.
Some things people have achieved after 60 include:
- running their first marathon
- sailing around the world
- meeting their soulmate
- moving house
- buying chickens
- becoming prime minister
- raising a puppy
- starting a business
- finishing a business
- writing a novel
- breeding ferrets.
And as Quentin Crisp discovered, the dust doesn’t get any thicker after the first inch.
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