Last week a woman said to me, “You use your time well.” It surprised me because I don’t think I do. I love to putter. You don’t hear that word very much anymore. Have people stopped puttering? Well, I love to putter, and can spend an entire morning puttering if I let myself.

The woman who made the comment and I had been talking about Prime Spark and how it began. She thought a lot had happened in three years. So, I started thinking about that, and I thought what that comment really meant for me was that I use my LIFE well. And then I wondered, “Am I using my life well?” (I don’t even know if it makes sense to think about “using” one’s life, but that’s what I thought.)

I wondered what it would be like to take into account all the things I AM doing that are meaningful to me rather than dwelling on the amount of time I putter around, seemingly not making progress on anything. And that gave me an entirely different, much more positive perspective.

It’s important at any time in life to occasionally take stock of how we’re doing. It’s particularly important for women over fifty because even though we can assume we have another thirty or forty years to live if we stay healthy, we know we’ve probably lived longer than the number of years ahead of us.

So, let’s take stock, but as compared with how we often do this, let’s look at all the positives—all the ways we are using our lives that make us feel happy and fulfilled, how we’re contributing to others in big and small ways, how we’re taking care of the planet or whatever is important to us. Women Over 50: How Are You Using Your Life?

Your Joy

For each of the following categories, list five things you are doing that bring you satisfaction or joy, and just skip any category that isn’t relevant to you or add any others you want:




Spiritual or religious:

Health (including food, drink, sleep, exercise, etc.):


Creative activities:



How does it feel to focus on positives rather than on negatives or things that are missing? When I did it, I had a deep sense of satisfaction that I didn’t feel when I thought about everything I could have been doing instead of puttering.

Women Over 50: How Are You Using Your Life?

In my work with women over fifty, I often hear them say, “I don’t know what’s next. I’m not satisfied with my life, and I’m not done. What do I do?” I sometimes suggest they look at all the positives AND THEN look at what’s missing. Why do I do this? We think better when we’re feeling positive than when we’re feeling negative. We feel more creative and have more energy and we simply won’t feel this way if we’re dwelling on what’s missing in our lives.

So, look at all the categories where you have at least four things listed. And really feel how that feels.

Now look at one category that is relevant to you and has nothing listed, or just one or two things. What’s one more thing you might add? Just think of one. You will only be able to make one or two changes at a time.

Let’s all make good use of our lives in ways that are important and meaningful to us. As Mary Oliver wrote in “The Summer Day”:

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Let me know how you do with the exercise. I would love to know! Women Over 50: How Are You Using Your Life?

Learn More…

The Prime Spark Membership Community is designed for women 55 (or close) and older to support one anotherWe learn and grow together while furthering the mission of Prime Spark. Membership currently is closed. If you’re interested in joining, please send an email to [email protected] and ask to be placed on the waitlist.

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