Uh-oh! The big 6-0.

This coming Saturday I enter my sixth decade of life. I’ve survived other milestone birthdays, but this one is somehow different. While in my 50s, I could convince myself that I was still young After all, 50 is the new 30. But 60? Yes, I know age is a state of mind, it’s only a number, blah, blah, blah.

But the undeniable fact is this: my coming birthday officially starts the third and final act of my life. There is a weightier feeling to this birthday, a need to prioritize, to tie up loose ends, to make my time, and my life, count.

Baby boomers, including me, are finding it difficult to admit we are aging. We were the generation whose motto was “Never trust anyone over 30.” Now, we are, or are rapidly approaching, twice that age.

As a retirement readiness expert, coach, and author I use my experiences to guide other baby boomers through the non-financial aspects of retirement. I encourage clients to develop tools to manage the changes they will experience as they transition from working to not working.

What I continue to find through my work is that the most important preparation for retirement is mental preparation. Learning how to weather, manage, and adapt to change is the most crucial aspect of non-financial retirement planning. However, when change is overwhelming, it’s easy to forget to use the tools you have available.

For me, there are so many changes happening in my life, some planned, some unplanned, I feel off-balance. I know I have tools that I can use to see me through these situations, but there are times I forget I have them or mustering the will to use them is more than I can do.

It may be impossible to avoid the tsunami of emotions and experiences you are facing. You just have to endure and regroup. It’s easy to think “Isn’t this the phase of life where I’m supposed to have it all together?” No, it’s not.

While organizing files in my 93-year-old father’s office the other day, I came across a saying that helped him through a very difficult time in his life. The saying is this: “To see a rainbow you have to look through the rain.” Finding this saying was fortuitous because there are definitely storm clouds on the horizon for all baby boomers.

Today, I may not feel that I have the strength I need to get through my life’s challenges. But I will get through them. Remembering I have tools I developed throughout my life that I can access whenever I am ready gives me great comfort.

I hope knowing you have tools that work and are perfect for you and your situation will provide comfort and see you through whatever challenges you may face.

Kathryn Avery

About Kathryn Avery

When Kathryn Severns Avery’s husband, Chris, began contemplating retirement in 2014, she knew they had to quickly come up with a multi-faceted plan. They spent the next year discussing, sometimes heatedly, what they would do once he stopped working. On paper their plan looked exciting. They would head from Colorado to the 1891 sea captain’s house they bought and renovated in Rockland on Maine’s midcoast. But the reality of planning and implementing retirement was much different than expected. Kathryn has worked in radio, television, marketing, and public relations. She is the author of five books and has written articles on interior design and crafts for national and regional publications including Romantic Homes, Log Homes Illustrated, The Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Homes and Lifestyles.