6 Surprising Habits for a Happier Life After 60

by Margaret Manning

What was the happiest time of your life? If you’re like many women over 60, the answer is “right now.” After 60 years of looking after other people, many of us are exploring our independence and building new lives, full of possibility and adventure.

Unfortunately, positivity is not equally distributed after 60. While some of us are having the time of our lives, others are still looking for direction, dealing with loneliness or looking to the past.

I passionately believe that every woman has the power to build her dream life after 60. One of the first steps on this journey is to learn to see the world with a sense of optimism, regardless of what is going on around you. Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of women in the Sixty and Me community. In doing so, I have noticed some interesting commonalities between the most positive members of our group.

If you are not a natural optimist, I hope that you will find these traits inspiring. Make a conscious choice to build these habits into your daily life. They have the power to put you on the path to happiness and positivity.

Here are the traits that the happiest women I know have cultivated to get the most from life after 60.


The happiest women in our community do not hold grudges. They know how to forgive others, and, more importantly, they know how to forgive themselves. This allows them to live fully in the present.

Do you find yourself feeling flustered by minor annoyances? Are you still feeling bad about a past relationship or a conflict long ago with family, friends or colleagues? Learn to let it go. The past is gone; all we have is the present moment. Forgiving others is one of the best ways to free up your mental space for a more abundant life.

One technique that I use on a regular basis is to write forgiveness notes to myself and others. I don’t actually send them. I just write them and keep them tucked away in a special box. It doesn’t matter whether you keep the letters or destroy them. The simple act of bringing your forgiveness into the world will give you a big positivity boost.


Perfection is an illusion. The happiest among us realize this and accept who they are, inside and out. You are not perfect despite your flaws. You are perfect because of your flaws.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop striving to be better. Many of the happiest women in our community see self-improvement as a worthy goal. But, perfection is not their aim.

Learn to laugh at your imperfections and the inadequacies of others. Set aside time every day to be grateful for the opportunities in your life. Life after 60 is full of small imperfections. Don’t let them get in the way of building the life you want.


Some of the happiest women in the Sixty and Me community nurture a sense of lifelong learning and curiosity. They love to explore, stand in awe of nature and relish the little puzzles and contradictions of everyday life. One of the best ways to be happier is to keep asking questions and keep discovering the beauty of the world around you – in ways great and small. Be curious about people. Ask friends and strangers unexpected questions and be genuinely interested in their answers.

What are you curious about? Is there a hobby that you always wanted to try? Or, maybe you want to see more of the world. Be curious. Explore the world with the same daring that you felt during the 1960s. Our generation has always been a curious bunch and we’re just getting started.


If you want to be happier, bring joy into the lives of others. Your gifts don’t have to cost money for them to have value. Sometimes, kind words or a compliment are all that is needed to make someone else’s day. There is always one thing about someone that you can comment on. Even if to simply say, you have beautiful eyes or that color is perfect for you.

The happiest women in our community are generous with their time and attention. When you’re in their presence, you feel appreciated and loved.

What simple act of generosity could you perform today? Is there a person that you have been meaning to thank for their help? Do you have something sitting around your house, collecting dust, which someone else would find useful? Give generously and the world will pay you back in happiness.


Many of the happiest women that I have met since starting Sixty and Me have big hearts and gentle souls. They are comfortable in their skins. They know how to accept compliments and they take pride in their accomplishments.

These women are not necessarily quiet or passive. As you know, I’m not a big fan of the concept of “aging gracefully.” But, they approach the world with a softness that makes others around them feel comfortable. They are their own biggest cheerleaders, without cheering. They are self-aware, without being self-promoting.

Learn to be gentle – with yourself and others. The world is harsh enough on its own.

Being Proactive

Many of the happiest women I know understand the power of small rituals. They don’t leave positivity and happiness to chance. They find small ways, every day, to be grateful, joyous and free. Some have a religious or spiritual practice that they enjoy. Others meditate, write in a happiness journal or set aside thinking time in the park.

These women have one thing in common – they are proactive. Rather than waiting for happiness to come to them, they look for happiness in their own hearts.

Have you tried to change your habits to create more happiness in your life? What characteristics do the happiest women that you know share? Please leave a comment and let us know.


Watch my interview with Gretchen Rubin for some more ideas on how to be happier in your 60s and beyond:

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