10 Ways Baby Boomers Can Be Happier in 2018

How can you live your best life and be happier in 2018? I’m sharing 10  tips from Baby Boomer Bliss’ most popular articles in 2017 to help you do just that!

woman lighted umbrellaChange Careers

Studies show that up to 80 percent of baby boomers plan to do some sort of paid work until age 70 to stay mentally sharp, keep engaged socially, and achieve financial security in retirement. That leaves a couple of decades after 50 to work.

Perhaps that’s why more and more boomers are contemplating an “encore career” to pursue their passions and create a fulfilling life they can enjoy.

Which job should you choose if this is your dream? To read my list of the happiest and unhappiest careers to narrow down your choices, check out the full article here.

Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures

In 2017, International Happiness Day and the first day of spring coincided. How often does that happen? But do we really need a special day to find some bliss? I say that any ordinary day will do.

In 2018, let’s pause and enjoy all of life’s simple treasures and treats we look forward to throughout the day. Yes, we all have them! You know, the moment you open up your drapes and sunlight fills your home. The aroma of coffee in the morning. Those delightful blueberries on your cereal. The hot shower in the morning that awakens and refreshes you.

If you’re a baby boomer still working, instead of grumbling about it, enjoy your favorite song on the radio as you drive to your job. Don’t just sit there, sing along! If you’re lucky enough to be retired, enjoy some creative leisure time.

Experience happiness from the simple act of giving. Take a moment and write, text, or call a friend. Give someone a big smile to brighten their day and perk up yours as well. Make it a point to do something nice for a stranger or give someone a sincere compliment today. When you get home, give a loved one a big hug. Make your dog’s day with a walk around the neighborhood, a treat, and an extra pat on its head. Relish each bite of dinner. Watch the sunset. Enjoy your favorite comedy and laugh loudly. At the end of the day, remember each blessing and thank God in prayer.

If a gloomy thought dares to enter your head this day, usher it right out and replace it with a happy, positive thought. No groans or gripes allowed. Mentally shout “next” in your head and move right along. Relish every day of simply being alive.

Break Through Barriers

Oh, the wonderful things that can happen when we break through our self-imposed barriers!

When I wanted to become a writer, I put a lot of barriers on myself. I was afraid that people would laugh at me because I didn’t have a college degree. That my submissions would sit in a huge pile and be ignored by literary agents and editors since I didn’t know anyone in the publishing business. That friends and family would roll their eyeballs if I dared to express my dreams of becoming a writer out loud. That I would become so discouraged by the countless rejections sure to come my way, I would give up and watch my precious dreams slowly fade away. Doesn’t everyone want to be a writer, but how many actually make it?

Instead of taking action, I was comfortable just dreaming about becoming an author one day. It was fun envisioning my novel on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and my first book signing. Until a woman at a writer’s conference asked me a simple but profound question. What are you waiting for?

With the woman’s words echoing in my head, I took the first step and began submitting my short story to magazines. Of course, I received the standard rejection letter which stung, but I continued on my journey, taking writing classes and submitting my work. The road wasn’t easy. Many of my fears came true during that time. I gathered enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room. Many times, I became discouraged and swore off writing. But I tenaciously pressed forward. Six long years passed before my first short story was published. Am I happy that I persevered and finally faced down all those nagging self-doubts and fears?

You bet! I’ve been writing professionally for over 25 years now. Over the years, I’ve been published in national magazines, authored three books (one of which was published by big time publisher McGraw Hill), landed an agent, won three journalism awards, and even had my dream come true with a book signing at Barnes and Noble.

What helped me accomplish my goals? I was honored to share my story in Marquita A. Herald’s  book, Women Breaking Barriers. How did 13 other courageous women overcome their fears, persevere, and find the power to become the driver of their own lives and personal journeys? You’ll have to check out the book to find out! Each tale will give you hope and encourage you to reflect on who you are and what matters most to you in life. You can get your free copy by clicking here and subscribing to my blog.

Become Happy-Go-Lucky

The Urban Dictionary defines happy-go-lucky as a person who is cheerful about most things, has a positive view on life, and annoys the you-know-what out of their friends. Haha! Seriously, think of all the benefits of lightening up. You’ll be less stressed, have more fun, take more risks, step out of your comfort zone and because of your positive attitude have more friends and better relationships.

If you can become more of a happy-go-lucky person, I’d lay bets that you’ll find life more enjoyable and even more fulfilling. This popular article lists five ways to get you started on the path of that devil-may-care attitude.

Take a Trip

It’s no secret that I love to travel, so a new survey from AARP last year that listed baby boomers choices for top bucket list travel destinations caught my eye.

Of the 12,000 boomer participants, a whopping 99 percent said they planned to take one leisure trip last year. About half planned to travel domestically on multi-generational trips, weekend getaways, and holiday travel. Bucket lists inspired 43 percent of boomers to say they hoped to travel internationally as well.

Which places topped boomers’ bucket lists for travel? Hawaii topped the list for a dream domestic destination followed by Alaska, California, Arizona, and Nevada. The top international destinations were Australia, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom/Ireland, France, and the Caribbean. Are any of these places on your bucket list? No time like the present!

Interestingly, boomers enjoy dreaming about their trip almost as much as experiencing the trip itself. Part of the fun is planning!

Stay Positive Despite Adversities

is it possible to be happy when persistent, scary, and frustrating problems keep rising to the surface and smacking us in the face?

Adversity can make us feel stressed, upset, disappointed, powerless, angry, and depressed. Even when some or even most other aspects of our lives are going well, we tend to focus on things that are going wrong.

What can we do to change that? This popular article listed three simple ways.

Get Rid of Clutter

Whether we’ve become empty nesters or are following the latest trend of decluttering, many of us baby boomers are downsizing.

Two years ago, we moved. As I was filling up trash bags and putting aside things to donate and sell, I felt incredibly FREE. Why hadn’t I done this sooner?

Conquering clutter can clear the way for a more productive life.  Without physical obstructions like piles of unopened mail, old clothes, and Tupperware without lids in the way, you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish in your life.

Want some tips on how to get started? You can read my full article here.

Aim for Long-Term Happiness instead of Instant Gratification

Instant self-gratification rules the world today. Think about ATM machines that provide instant cash, fast food supplying instant meals, the Internet with its access to instant information and entertainment – all of which has turned us into impatient beings that can’t tolerate waiting for anything.

According to a CNN article, there are two types of well-being. One relies on self-involved instant pleasure and requires continuous action to constantly feed positive emotions. This type of satisfaction typically leaves as fast as it comes. For example, buying an expensive pair of shoes creates a temporary high but to keep that euphoric feeling we must keep shopping for the next quick fix. If something threatens our ability to seek out this kind of personal happiness – for example, all our credit cards are maxed out – our entire source of well-being is threatened.

The second type of well-being is a kind of happiness that comes, not from consuming products, but from working toward something larger than ourselves that gives true meaning to life.This type of well-being can bring long-term happiness.

That’s not to say that we should never reward ourselves with a bowl of ice cream or a great pair of shoes as a special treat every once in a while. We don’t have to wait to enjoy the present or our lives.

However, we’ll all be happier if we develop some self-control and avoid the habit of wanting everything right this second. Constantly giving into momentary desires can actually make us feel depressed in the long run. Advertisers have become experts at convincing us that instant gratification is the key to happiness. Don’t buy it. Shoot for long-term satisfaction and fulfillment instead.

Embrace Hygge like the Norwegians 

Despite frigid arctic temperatures and months of darkness, the happiest people on the planet apparently live in Nordic countries, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report

Norway jumped up three spots to claim the title of “world’s happiest country” for the first time. Denmark, the previous winner for three years in a row dropped to second. These countries were followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. In case you’re wondering, the U.S. came in 14th place, dropping down one spot from last year.

Could the reason Norwegians are so darn happy have to do with the Danish term hygge? If you want to learn what this word means and how we can adapt some into our lives to feel more joyful, check out my blog.

Retire in a Happy State

My childhood friend was visiting me last year when she asked, “Where do you want to retire?”

Interestingly, we both reside in places known to be popular for retirees. My friend is from Asheville, North Carolina. She enjoys mountain biking in the scenic Great Smoky Mountains, the robust arts community, and the live music scene that ranges from bluegrass to classical. Asheville consistently receives great rankings as a great place to retire for those reasons as well as its typically mild weather (with the exception of this winter!). In fact, recently US News & World Report named Asheville one of “10 Best Places to Retire.” My friend is currently retired and active in her volunteer work. Although she likes living in Asheville, she is considering whether that’s the spot she wants to settle in for good.

Me – I’m from the Palm Springs, California area, which has long been one of the most famous retirement communities. Snowbirds love this place with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Golfing, casinos, hiking, and cycling are popular activities. Places to shop and dine abound. In addition, a fairly strong economy and low unemployment rate make the Palm Springs area a popular destination for baby boomers and retirees.

But do I want to retire here? Not especially. Some people love the heat, but I’m not a fan of the long, hot summers with temperatures that exceed 115 degrees. However, I have time to consider my options. Like many boomers, retirement is nowhere in sight for me at the time being. But of course, a girl can dream, right?

So, what are the the best and worst states to retire? The results from a Bankrate.com’s survey last year were interesting. Traditional retirement spots like Florida and California didn’t make the top 10 while other states, not usually considered as premier places to retire, like South Dakota and Wyoming, made the top five.

Click here if you’d like to check out the ten best and worst places to retire according to the survey and why.

There you go! Hope these 10 tips help you find your bliss in 2018! How do you plan to live your happiest life in 2018? I’d love to hear! Please share in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article and would like to join my tribe of baby boomers to be the first to receive my latest blogs, be sure and subscribe.

Wishing you all the VERY best in 2018!


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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20 Responses

  1. Enjoyed your post today Julie. It was also fun revisiting your past posts.
    Great tips.

  2. Janis says:

    I think I’ll stick here in San Diego. When I read other bloggers rants about the bitter cold this winter, all I need to do is look outside at my sunny patio and thank my good luck that I’m here. As far as your other tips (other than paid work – no thanks): check, check, and check 🙂

    • juliegorges says:

      Sounds like you’ve got everything figured out and 2018 is going to be awesome for you! Hey, if I was living in San Diego I’d stick to it too. Love it there. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Cat MIchaels says:

    Julie, what timing! Hub and I just decided to rightsize to first-floor living and are skinnying down our stuff for a move this summer. I thought it would be tough to part with things, but it feels freeing instad. We also decided to stay in cental NC, where we have lots of friends and are 3 hours to the mountains and 2 hours to the ocean. I could never return to my childhood home in Connecticut, where I have a ton of family, b/c of its cold winters and high cost of living. It was great to read your post and feel our decisions being validated.

    • juliegorges says:

      I’ve been in my new house for two years and already feel like I’m accumulating stuff again. Time to declutter some more, I say! Someday I want to visit North Carolina – one place I’ve never been – I hear so many good things. I too live two hours from the beach and an hour from the mountains which helps immensely when you live in a desert. One of the reasons I could never live in Arizona. I need my escape hatch! Wishing you all the best with your move this summer!

  4. What a great list! I’m not about to change jobs (that’s all behind me), but thanks for reminding me to focus on the simple pleasures in life! I loved the idea of Hygge, also, and will happily read up on it today, thanks to you!

  5. James Milson says:

    Wonderful points and suggestions! Shared to my Aging Gracefully board on Pinterest for others to find, and will come back to add some of the other posts spread out over time, as well.

  6. K. Lamb says:

    Your comments on writing, doubts, waiting, all resonated. I had to overcome similar obstacles until challenged to follow my own dream when my husband and I became empty nesters. It was one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made.

    May you always find your bliss…and congratulations on your success and following your dream!

    (P.S. As far as retirement…as a resident of California I can understand why it didn’t make the top 10 states.)

    • juliegorges says:

      I’m sure every writer can relate – it is a difficult but rewarding road to travel! So glad you pursued your dreams as well. I am also a resident of California and I think the primary reason it isn’t the ideal place to retire is it is so darn expensive to live here! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  7. Can’t agree more Julie, it is the simple things in life that are the best, it’s summer here, an opportunity to sit on our back deck after dinner, with a glass of wine or cup of tea and watch the stunning sunsets over the valley and mountains beyond. I never tire of watching the kangaroos hop across my paddocks either, there is something so typically Australian about the scene I still can’t believe how lucky I am to live in the country on acres instead of being stuck in suburbia. I was delighted to see Australia made it to the top of the destination bucket list for Americans, there is so much to see and do over here, you should come over one day. As for retirement, born in 1963 I’m on the tail end of the baby boomers, we won’t be downsizing any time soon, we have finally moved into our new house with plenty of room for all the grandkids in years to come. Our personal bliss is right here. 🙂

    • juliegorges says:

      I actually visited Australia years ago and fell in love. What a wonderful country and the people were so hospitable and kind. I would encourage everyone to visit down under. I love the vision of kangaroos hopping across your paddocks! We are also in a new home that is large and our grandkids live with us part-time – one day I think we’ll downsize, but not quite yet. (I am a bit older than you, born in 1960.) As you said, for the time being, our bliss is right here. Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your life in Australia with us!

  8. Tracy Bryan says:

    Thanks for sharing these simple, yet easy to forget ways of going happiness in every day life. So nice to hear about all your accomplishments-you have many, so yay you for persevering! South Dakota and Wyoming best places to retire? Interesting! I’m a Florida gal myself, but ya, I too would like a more balanced climate year round- just eighties all year long would be perfect please-lol!

    • juliegorges says:

      Glad you enjoyed the blog. Florida – heh? I’m in the California desert where we have only two seasons – perfect and hot! I really miss the fall colors and tulips in the spring. Oh well, can’t have everything, I guess. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  9. First time to your blog, Julie, and thoroughly enjoyed reading. “The second type of well-being is a kind of happiness that comes, not from consuming products, but from working toward something larger than ourselves that gives true meaning to life.This type of well-being can bring long-term happiness.” Profound. Look forward to reading more. Thank you!

    • juliegorges says:

      So glad you stopped by, Yvonne. The paragraph you quoted resonated with me as well. So very true. It is my hope to share useful information that inspires and motivates people – so your comment made my day!

  10. As a fellow boomer, I appreciate your suggestions on how we can become happier, even at this stage in our lives. One of the things I am more called to do now than I ever was, is to find ways I can be of service…to the planet and to animals. I find I am passionate about raising awareness and writing about these topics in hopes of making a difference in some way.

    Having lived in my house since 1983, I relate to ‘getting rid of clutter’. That seems to be an ongoing task here in my home. As far as retiring, if I wanted to leave Canada and move somewhere in the U.S., I think Sedona, Arizona would have my vote.

    p.s. I also contributed to Marquita’s compilation book and loved all the stories others shared too!

    • juliegorges says:

      I enjoyed reading your wonderful story as part of Marquita’s book on breaking barriers. So inspiring! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’ve been to Sedona, Arizona and it is truly a beautiful and magical place. I’ve also been to the western part of Canada including the spectacular Banff, and you are fortunate to live in such gorgeous country as well!

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