How to find happiness

We value many things in this life, but among all of these various currencies, including beauty and money, the most precious by far is time. As women standing in our fifth, sixth and seventh (and beyond!) decades, this realization may feel stark. Lost time cannot be recovered.

Young women typically have very little time to call their own. Often, they are in demand 24/7 – 365 as daughters caring for younger siblings and family elders, as mothers of young children themselves, as employees, as entrepreneurs, as wives and partners. As the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short.

At mid-life and later life, if we’re lucky, we get a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and take stock. Demands made by family may change, allowing us to perhaps shift the focus of our energies to more actively serving our communities at large. Perhaps we take a more active role in our church. Perhaps we choose to mentor younger people. Perhaps we go back to school, or engage a tutor and learn to speak a second, third, fourth language. Perhaps we choose to delay our retirement, and keep working — especially if we are entrepreneurs. Some people (like someone whose name is Barbara) just refuse to quit. But whatever the mix, most women find new spaciousness in life by the fourth and fifth decade.

And this is a glorious thing. When we’re young, life rushes by. Everybody’s in a hurry, including us. Then one fine day, we wake up and we are no longer young. But we are very much alive, and the discovery of new spaces in life can make us feel more alive than ever before. We dedicate the LEISURE section of our pages to this discovery, and the call of adventure. Especially travel. We love the feeling of knowing that the world is waiting, and that the moment, this moment, finally belongs to us. Why you go somewhere is even more interesting than where you go, sometimes.

Middle-aged woman driving convertible

Travelling with a mate, spouse, partner can be divine. Ditto for travelling with extended family. Prowling with a Pride of fellow Lionesses can be a different kind of fun; generally, there is more shopping and giggling when it’s an all-girls outing. And maybe the biggest surprise of all is the revelation of solo travel. At first, the notion might sound a bit lonesome. There definitely is an element of contemplation to traveling alone. Gazing out on a landscape that isn’t from your own bedroom window will indeed invite reflection, one of the best reasons to do anything. But travelling alone has another aspect. Solo travelers are often more spontaneous than those who travel with a companion or a group. As a result, you may be invited as someone’s “Plus One” to an art opening or a poetry slam– that won’t happen when you’re with a flock. You may find yourself in a fascinating, unexpected conversation with a total stranger, and change your itinerary on the spot to follow her recommendation on the absolute best hammam in Paris, or where to glimpse the most spectacular view of the Atlas Mountains, or who knows? And, of course, remembering how Stella famously got her groove back, there is always a possibility of romance, if you’re available, and especially when you’re not looking. The great mystical poet Rumi wrote, “Love is a stranger.” How true.

Leisure at your home address can be equally inspiring. We want to hear what you do with the most precious thing of all, time. Perhaps your leisure time has brought out the DIY botanist in you, and you grow food-grade lavender for your cupcakes and bathtub. Or maybe you’ve developed a sudden hankering for power-tools and have rehabbed your garage to create the dance studio you’ve always wanted. The luxury of free time, even if you’re just stealing a few minutes every day, really is your secret garden. You can cultivate it any way you want to, and watch it bloom.

  1. Anita Lovely says:

    Free time at last! Me first! Yes! Besides reading in the comfort of my bed and tending to my countertop hydroponic garden, I enjoy a mug of therapeutic herbal tea while sitting in my sunroom. Out there I have a six foot waterfall, spa music, aromatherapy, beautiful live plants, and thick cushioned gliding chairs. I look outside, glide back and forth, and think of things for which I am grateful.

  2. Enaid says:

    While traveling solo in Vienna the owner of a sidewalk cafe answered my inquiry, asked where I lived and when I responded mexico he invited me to salsa on the street with him, sin música. his passion was salsa! Who knew?

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