How Would You Rate Your Life?

We asked 1,200 women 60 and older to share what they've learned about love, work, parenthood and finding their true path. Prepare to be amazed, amused, surprised—and inspired about your own life's possibilities.

by Nanette Varian • Editor
illustration woman and owl
Photograph: Illustrations by Juliette Borda

“At age 20, I was young, beautiful and clueless.”

81% said their happiest decade came after age 40. But they stressed that all life stages have their pleasures.

They Found Their True Path at Age 40-Plus
More than half of all respondents said they had found what they considered to be their true path in life, and more than half of those did so at 40 or later, when they began to trust their instincts and see their potential. “I finally had the maturity and the wisdom to recognize it,” said a woman who’d found her path in her forties. Sometimes the trail was blazed by adversity (“Tragedy brought it to me”) and sometimes by serenity (“I had time to listen to myself instead of everyone else”). Or, as with this woman, by clarity: “It was when I realized and accepted that my true path was exactly the life that I lived.”

They Still Want to Accomplish

    --“Less based on what I do and more based on what I am.”

   --“Wanting what I already have.”

   --“A sense of peace that I can rely on for years to come.”

   --“Nothing: There is a calmness that comes when you no longer have to accomplish or overcome anything.”

   --“ ‘Accomplishment’ no longer defines me.”

“I am today where I am supposed to be . . . at 20 I said that, but at 60 I believe it.

Statistical assitance provided by Elliott Krause, Samantha Lear and Jamie Miles.

Wait—there’s more!

60+ and Learning How To . . .

The 10 Best & Worst Things More Readers Have Done

What Made More Readers Happiest

A Nonagenarian Looks Back—and Forward—at Life

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Originally published in the November 2012 issue

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