“Freedom and personal autonomy are more important to people’s well-being than money…”
Yes, the adage is true: money can’t buy happiness. In fact, the findings of a number of studies show that choice and autonomy are greater predictors of happiness than money.
This is important at all stages of life but I think this presents a particularly important finding for people over fifty. At this stage, your web of relationships and responsibilities can leave you exhausted.
If you’re over 50, you are of the Boomer generation. You created the echo generation as you had children yourself. And, you’re part of the sandwich generation as you likely have one or more parents alive and requiring your attention. You probably have 2+ adult children and possibly a few grandchildren. You may have an ex-spouse and a new spouse to be concerned with and, by extension, step-children and step-grandchildren. In the complicated world of boomers, relationships are everywhere as are the demands on your schedule.
These relationship provide great satisfaction and meaning to life. However, they don’t always allow one to feel light and happy.
Find happiness, travel solo.
Here’s where I make my pitch about happiness and solo travel. If autonomy and choice are fundamental to happiness, it’s important to take a break from the demands of others and spend some time living on your own terms. Whether you’re single or have a partner, solo travel is an opportunity to make choices and…
- Feel free.
- Gain confidence from that independence.
- Discover who you are when you’re not meeting the demands of a spouse or children.
- Spend time developing your talents or discovering new ones.
- Build confidence after a divorce or loss.
- Return happy.
In addition, by traveling solo you will…
- Return to your job or relationship with new ideas, experiences and dreams to share.
- Demonstrate your youthfulness to co-workers; it’s difficult to see an adventurer as old.
- Reduce stress, a major contributor to health problems, by relaxing and traveling on your own schedule.
- Reboot your life that may otherwise be on autopilot.
- Do what you couldn’t afford or didn’t have time to do when younger.
- Fulfill lifelong dreams that may not be shared with a partner.
- Feel really useful when your nest is empty. Volunteer programs need the lifetime of skills you’ve developed.
Happiness can be elusive. The number of self-help books on the subject confirms this. Maybe we all need a little time to ourselves, to make decisions, discover our strengths, and experience more autonomy. Maybe we all need to travel solo.
Read more about choice and happiness: