Finding Your Place in the Second Half of Life
The concept of place, however, does not just encompass our physical house or home; In other words, our vision of place dictates both where and how we live.
It’s also a mindset, as finding contentment and satisfaction in our chosen place is a matter of perspective. For example, one can live in a mansion with a beautiful family, and still be deeply unfulfilled. And the opposite can be true. Someone with few material possessions and modest social status can lead a joyful and contented existence. In fact, that’s exactly what research Robert Waldinger found. He reviewed the results of his 75-year study on adult development and happiness.
“We’ve learned three big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are closer to family, to friends, to community, are happier, and healthier,” said Waldinger. “And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And the sad fact is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they’re lonely.”
Thus, the environmental factors included in our “place” play a crucial function in how we perceive our lives, especially when it comes to safety, comfort, and stress. Think back to when you were a child; isn’t it incredible how well you can remember certain parts of your childhood home, and the powerful feelings those memories re-awaken? As we move through the different stages of life, where you are becomes a buoy in a sea of constant change. If we are not comfortable with our physical place or the environment in which that place exists, we lose an important life anchor point.
Finding our place in the second half of life is perhaps even more critical than in early adulthood. Regardless of how we choose to spend our second half, whether it’s retirement in the traditional sense or a whole new adventure, we will invariably spend more time in our homes, in our communities and with our close friends later in life. As a result, the place we choose to live and the relationships we choose to build and maintain become paramount.
Leave a comment below