The Four Lifestyles We Slide Into After Retirement... and How They Impact Our Happiness

By Susan "Honey" Good

More women than not, in their 60s and beyond, wholeheartedly embrace life.

Because of my lifestyle, I have met hundreds of women in their 60s, 70s and beyond who I notice are enjoying life, even those living under unpleasant circumstances.

Some are married, some single, some widowed or divorced. Some have aches and pains, some are lonely, some have suffered illnesses, some are ill. Some have successful careers; others are searching for a purpose. And there are many who have had to learn to conserve their retirement funds.

I noticed these women took courses, played cards, needlepointed, attended group therapy, did crossword puzzles, had careers or started new ones after the age of 60. They traveled solo or with spouses, gabbed with girlfriends for fun and support, moved on to retirement communities and spent loving time with their family.

They were self-motivated – even those with problems – to live a vibrant lifestyle. I have my personal feelings on what motivated this group of women over 60 because I was one of them.

My answer: happiness takes work. Here are four categories many woman slide into after retirement.

A Quiet Lifestyle of Contentment

Many of you have come to terms with your age and lifestyle. You are content. Good for you. I expect you appreciate yourselves. You are the women no longer looking for acceptance and affirmation.

Being part of the so-called “in crowd” isn’t as important as having meaningful relationships. You enjoy the quiet of your day and you are content and confident in your life choices. You possess a quiet power and feel your relevancy and visibility. I am that woman now.

A Career and Busy Lifestyle

The woman who loves her career is fortunate. She blooms. She awakens each morning feeling productive. Productivity means output. Output produces positivity. There is a richness to her lifestyle.

She smiles on the inside and out. The wheels of her mind are constantly turning. She is anything but bored. She is emotionally and physically healthy because she is living a relevant lifestyle. She is a connected woman, a visible woman. I am that woman now.

A Survivor

There are many women living with clouds over their shoulders. I feel your pain because I was there. I was widowed in my 40s and had cancer in my 50s. In my 60s my second husband’s son committed suicide and on and on.

Dear readers, you must try and help yourself. Seek help through private or professional group therapy on all matters from finance to widowhood, to loneliness or illness. Do consider joining or putting together a focus group of women friends to discuss your issues. This really works. I have a monthly focus group at my home and we talk about our issues. Everyone leaves feeling they will try and make sweet lemonade out of lemons because we give one another intelligent and hopeful answers to situations. Each of us realize happiness takes work.

A New Purpose

These women are passionate about staying vital and visible and are seeking answers. They are frustrated and feeling hampered by their daily lifestyle. Here is an idea for you. It worked for me and I would love to share.

Here is the story. Over four years ago, I can best describe myself as restless and searching. I was very busy all day doing things I no longer enjoyed. I was frustrated, having no idea what path to pursue.

One day by happenstance, I shared my feelings with another woman. We had just met. I told her I was looking for a new purpose. To this day, I remember her words. She said, “Keep a journal for three months and you will find your voice, your purpose.” I asked her how she knew. She said to me, “I am a writer.” I remember my answer, “I can’t keep a journal. I am not a writer.”

But I did and you know why? Because she told me I would find my voice. Those five words pushed me into the impossible in my 60s and today I am a writer and I own Honeygood.com. You see dear readers, anything is possible.

The first thing you must do is – start! You must understand that happiness takes work!

So, I am passing on that writer’s suggestion – keep a daily journal for three months, never miss a day and reread every entry three months later. I truly believe you, too, will find your voice.

I going to pass on my mantra. “I will not stop pursuing my new purpose because I want to be fulfilled and I know happiness takes work.”

For those of you seeking a new purpose, I am hopeful I might be pushing you into finding your voice. For those of you facing personal hardships, why not start your own focus group? Nothing good will happen unless you realize that happiness takes work. This is true at any age, but it is especially true after retirement.

And for those of you who have found contentment or who are involved in careers, help your sisters in need. I am certain they will be as grateful as I was and am to the writer who pushed me to start.