I picked up a book recently that actually changed my view of aging. I thought that French Women Don’t Get Facelifts by Mireille Guiliano, would be just another book to browse through while Darling Husband watched the History Channel. However, it brought my brain to a full stop on page 4. Page 4. “As one looks at the second half of one’s life, it’s good to have a plan.”
Why did that shake me when I’ve have a plan for most changes and stages in my life? Why? Because I didn’t have a plan for the next 30 years. I didn’t have a clue about what I could be doing or should be doing during the Autumn and Winter’s of my life. In fact my plan had been to just live without a plan. Somehow, deep inside my brain was the expectation that the years after 60 would mean to just float; travel, play bridge, work at McDonalds, volunteer at the library, hang out with the Grands, fish, golf – you know, do all that stuff that retired people do. Definately not an adventure, a cold endless stream
Let me tell you, I’ve been floating for a bit and it feels more like drowning. My boat is rudderless. Doing this for the next 30 years began to feel like a sentence rather than a privilege. But a privilege it is and on page 4 I realized that I was wasting it.
Page 5 described the plan as a “mental approach, an attitude”. So, like everything else about this age, planning might look differently. Not the kind of planning done that’s based on parent’s expectations, College programs, career trajectories, wedding planning, family planning, financial planning, planning planning, No this planning is about how we want to be, “a strategy based on knowing thyself, comment sense and a zest for life”(4) , something that most women don’t get a chance to have done before. Maybe all that pat planning and organizing is a reason that, according to the results of the United States General Social Survey, men’s general happiness increases as they age and women’s decreases. After all those years of planning and caring we end up gray and wrinkled and they end up distinguished. We are pooped
- Now is the time to do something wholly unique and make a plan just for ourselves.
- Now is the time to take stock. But how, the internet and book houses are filled with planning guides… but none of them quite fit the bill.
I created my own process of assessment based on what I call the 7 ‘Fs”:
- F1 -Faith/Spirituality: For me its the love of Jesus and the peace granted me as a result. However, for you it may be Buddha. The Torah; community, or just the realization that your are not the center of the universe and something other is. Rarely does faith come like a bolt. I don’t know anyone who has seen a burning bush. Like every other relationship it needs to be worked on and like every other success, I want an end game in mind, not just floating from Sunday to Sunday.
- F2 – Family/Relationships: I like to say that my family is the most important thing to me; but my relationship to them has changed. They don’t need me to wipe boo-boos, do their laundry, and give them wise counsel. They need me to – be happy. My husband needs a wife who is still juicy and vital.
- F3- Fun: What is it? Is it Facebook? Is it any of the myriad things I do to numb myself? No, now is the time to discover what nourishes my soul, :what makes me smile from the bottom of my feet. I created a game to discover what those things were. The game can be found in the post “A Scavenger Hunt for My Life”.
- F4 – Financial: Hasn’t my Broker, Financial Planner and accountant already done this? I discovered, despite money put aside, I hadn’t a clue what I really wanted to do with it or how to spend it. I had enough clothes although never enough shoes. How does one spend or save when the whole world can be at our finger tips.
- F5- Fitness/Health and Well being: According to the 2010 12-country survey by the British health care company Bupa Health Pulse, the third and fourth greatest fears women have about aging are Cancer and becoming dependent. The vision of aging can bring with it fear of gross infirmity and pain. Never before has it been so important to create a plan of attack. My weight and overall fitness affect everything, from how I feel about myself to how much longer I can live and how independent I can be.
- F6- Friends: I need the real deal.
- F7 – Feeling and Looking Fabulous: The number one fear is becoming invisible. During other chapters of our lives we spent hours pouring over fashion magazines, worked on our walks, perfected our flirts, and created business aura’s to smash the glass ceiling. Something happens as we begin to get more comfortable in our skin we forget all that. OR We begin to adopt a fashion that competes with younger women and end up looking older and a little nuts. Now is the time to resist both avenues and rise up to be visibly fabulous. This is also where I look at ways to stay relevant. So many of us are invisible because we lack enough current conversation to be relevant to those who are younger. Part of my feeling fabulous is being able to have conversations with a whole variety of fold without boring the pants off of them with my old stories.
I’ve taken these 7 F’s and created a plan that has me looking forward to the next decades and concurrently I’m happier and more peaceful than I’ve been in years.
Join me and discover your mountain and then create a plan to climb it.
Join me in making your Golden Years really Golden.