Living Vibrantly in the Second Half of Life
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the following:
Experience Life Article about "Fearless Aging"

April, 2016 issue of AARP Bulletin

New York Times article
about retirement coaching

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April, 2013
Volume 4, Issue 2
Tears spilling from her eyes and struggling to speak, a participant in one of my transitions workshops confessed that since moving to Florida she didn’t really know who she was anymore. She felt lost and missed her friends and former life. Although hers was the most emotional response to my question about transitions the participants were experiencing, all of the women expressed relationship changes as the biggest transition they were experiencing. Even though I knew the participants were new to the area and seeking to start new careers and new lives, I was surprised to hear that they all shared such similar transition situations.

Thinking about this after the workshop, I realized I should have expected this response. I am still establishing a new home in a new state, and their comments and emotion resonated with me. Not only were the participants’ experiences similar to mine, I know from study and research that healthy relationships are a key component of happiness and good mental health.


The authors of Live Smart After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Life Planning for Uncertain Times state in the introduction of "The Relationship Dividend" chapter, "Having healthy relationships and a supportive community is one of the most important predictors of health and happiness as we age." Numerous research studies have demonstrated the positive and extensive benefits of having healthy relationships. See the July, 2012 issue of Fiddlehead for more information about the benefits of healthy relationships.

For various reasons, relationships in the second half of life often change. Many of us choose or need to move, and living in a new community requires meeting new people and creating new relationships. Midlife is often a time to revisit values and think about what is truly important. As we think about what really matters to us now, we may realize that we seek something different from our relationships. As we transition out of full-time work and child rearing, we have more time to invest in relationships. Finally, when we no longer meet many of our friends at school or work, we can and need to be more intentional about where we meet new friends.

Midlife is an opportune time to evaluate relationships and take action to have healthy relationships that nurture and support us. The Live Smart After 50 authors put together the following list of ten specific characteristics that they believe are common to all supportive, healthy relationships. Not all relationships will have all characteristics, but they can be helpful in assessing relationships.
  1. We enjoy mutual trust, understanding and respect for each other.
  2. We both feel heard, appreciated and supported.
  3. We are able to raise difficult issues with one another.
  4. We each take responsibility for our actions and do not blame one another.
  5. We both enjoy the time we spend together.
  6. We actively resolve our difference or agree to disagree.
  7. We share similar interests.
  8. We both put energy into maintaining the relationship.
  9. We both feel physically and emotionally safe in the relationship
  10. We have many values in common.

Conduct a "relationship check-up"
  1. List your most important relationships.
  2. What is satisfying about each of these relationships?
  3. What is not satisfying about each of these relationships?
  4. What do you contribute to each of these relationships?
  5. What would you like more of in your relationships (quality or quantity)?
  6. What are three actions you can take to improve the quality or quantity of your relationships?
  7. What is one action you can take today?
©2010 Ageinista L.L.C