Monthly Archives: November 2013

Why Women Over 60 Are Not Just “Over 50”

When I turned 50, I got an invitation to join AARP. I was officially “old”, I thought. From then on, I would be a “woman over 50” – a category that would define me for the rest of my life.
 
My 50’s started out well. I was healthy, active in business and traveling between homes in Florida and Maine. I was kayaking, scuba diving and working out three times a week with a trainer. Life was good – even though AARP magazines began showing up regularly, more and more young people were calling me “ma’am”, and I found myself avoiding the bathroom scale.

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Around my mid-50’s, I realized there was more to come. I began to have what my mom called “women’s troubles”. Menopause was hell. I dealt with brittle hair, weight gain, iron deficiency and high cholesterol. I lost my mom, an aunt, two uncles and a friend. I found myself pulling back from my Type-A business lifestyle. I spent more time reading and writing and learned to play golf.
 
Then it happened. I turned 60. I was surprised to find that I felt very different than when I turned 50. Now, three years into this decade of my life, I have decided that being over 60 is NOT the same as being over 50. In fact, we deserve our own category. (That’s why my friend Patty and I started this blog site!)
 
What’s so different? Everyone’s experience is unique, of course. But here are some things that are true for me and probably true for many other women in my age group:

  • Business isn’t at the top of my list… family and friends are
  • Aches and pains are much scarier… is my body telling me something?
  • I’m increasingly concerned about contributing something positive to the world… do I still have time?
  • Illness and death are front and center… enough said
  • Politics and world events irritate me but don’t make me want to march or protest… or even talk about them much
  • Days are slower paced, but the weeks and months go by quickly… really quickly
  • It surprises me to look in the mirror and realize that plastic surgery could help… but not enough
  • Keeping my body flexible and toned is more important than keeping it thin… assuming I even could
  • Looking “good” is what I want to achieve every day… Looking “hot and sexy”? I wish!

I might have begun to think and feel some of these things in my 50’s, but they are now solidly in my life and here to stay.

TIME OUT: I was just editing this blog and received a phone call with a recorded message: “Hello, Catherine, this is John. You have been selected to receive a free senior citizen medical alert system ……” I hung up quickly. Am I being overly sensitive or did they know I was over 60? Would a 50’s-something woman have received this call? I doubt it.

Magazines and websites like to gear their articles and advice to women over 50. It may be convenient for them, but it’s not my reality. At 63, I think, feel and behave differently than when I was 53.
 
Will I advocate a category of over 70 women in eight or nine years? I don’t know, but I’ll keep you “posted”.
 
Cathy Green

Working Out At the Gym: Can You Guess What I Hate the Most?

Twice a week, I have breakfast, make my bed, get dressed in my exercise clothes and drive 10 minutes to a gym to work out with my personal trainer, Chuck. I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t exercise if I didn’t have someone waiting for me who had been paid to be there.

I work out with weights, ropes, bands, balls, a baseball bat (don’t ask) and, occasionally, boxing gloves. I groan (lots) and sweat (some) for about an hour… then Chuck makes me stretch my aching body so that I can walk to my car.

Do I work out to get thin? That would be nice, but there’s little chance of that happening at this point. No, I work out to stay as flexible as possible, to deal with impending over-60 balance issues, and to keep the flab under my arms from drooping so much that I can’t wear anything that doesn’t have long sleeves.

I definitely don’t work out for pleasure and I probably wouldn’t do it if there was a pharmaceutical alternative. However, I have to admit that I feel better about myself and have more energy when I work out than when I find excuses not to.

There are many things I don’t like about the experience, but what do I like the least?

  • Is it the drive to and from the gym?
  • Is it the aches and pains of calf raises?
  • Is it the 200th squat of the session?
  • Is it the tiresome trainer saying “just 3 more”?

No. All of these are on my top 10 list, but the thing that really bothers me the most are the mirrors.

All gyms have mirrors. They cover most walls. They are big and unavoidable.

Trainers will tell you that it’s important to have correct “form” to achieve maximum benefit from your exercises and that mirrors are the way to check your posture. I don’t believe it. Mirrors are for the trainers, body builders and 20 and 30 year old exercise fanatics to admire their sexy bodies in their body-hugging “fitness attire”.

Mirrors are definitely NOT for 60-something women who show up at the gym with baggy black t-shirts and wild hair pulled back in a scraggly ponytail. (While working out with Chuck, I am often shocked when I inadvertently glance in one of the mirrors – where did that old lady come from?)

I know what I’m talking about. I was a gym regular in my 20’s and 30’s (and even into my 40’s) and wore the latest, most fashionable and colorful gear I could find. Remember stretchy wrist bracelets, scrunch socks and head bands? Here’s Cher in the 80’s in case you don’t:

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In my younger years, I often checked out my exercise “form” … which really meant checking out my thin and toned body in my great new clothes. Mirrors were my friends.

Not anymore.

So, Chuck, please don’t tell me what the mirrors are for. I know what they are for and I don’t want to have anything to do with them. Point me toward a wall and earn your money by making sure I have the right “form”, OK?

Gyms are never going to take down the mirrors or provide curtains that can be pulled shut over them, so I guess I will just have to continue to “suck it up” (in more ways than one).

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Cathy Green

Chiara de Blasio with a Trend Over-60s Can Love

Love the garland trend—WOW—now that is a terrific and pretty idea for young women!  This photo of Chiara de Blasio, daughter of the new mayor of New York City shows how great it looks on stylish young women.

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Actually, as we well know this “new” trend of using garlands in one’s hair is as old as time.  “Flowers in one’s hair” are hardly original.  Although when we did it back in the 60s we likely thought we invented it.  Flowers are just beautiful — and flowers on a young woman bring two sure-to-please visuals together.

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Left: Henry Peach Robinson – The Garland of Flowers, 1857/58

Now, speaking of trends, let’s consider tattoos – which most of us try to understand and accept with generosity but seriously do not get.  Most of us have been at recent social events and noticed our/someone else’s granddaughter or daughter covered in tattoos. And these are not bikers or trailer trash — they are as easily doctors or business women or teachers as anything else.  It is simply something young people find attractive and likely sexy that we think is YUCK.  A covered up tattoo we understand — we were a generation who did lots of covering up — from foundation to dysfunction, we know how to pretend things are not what they seem.  But, I digress – another over-60 trend for sure.
 
Back to tattoos for a moment. Please if you are an over-60 fabulous woman and love the all over tattoo look, contact me and tell me why and how I can be as open to this obvious popular trend as you are.  As for the photo below on the right with the “label” I just could not resist a take on the phrase we grew up with – “does she or doesn’t she” — if you don’t remember this I don’t believe you are over 60 or fabulous.

On the right: does she or doesn’t she? Only her tattoo artist knows for sure.

On the right: does she or doesn’t she? Only her tattoo artist knows for sure.

So here we are faced with an “age old problem”: how to go with the flow while keeping our fashion cores?  How do we admire some trends, and act generously about those we do not.  While not earthshaking or even seriously relevant in these challenging times, I do think about this and want to be at peace over it!
 

Let me suggest we try, as we need to do with bigger issues in our lives, seek to find the middle ground that eludes us in politics, religion and other hot topics.

 

Can’t we all agree, that no matter what the age of these folks below, these are just trends EVERYONE can do without?

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Fashion photos courtesy oddstuffmagazine.com

Thank You Notes: Write Them and Write Them Promptly

I mailed a thank you note to Cathy yesterday. It was for the wonderful hospitality she and Ray had shown Bill and I when we visited their home in Asheville in October.

Cathy casually said to me a day or so after we left, knowing that I was traveling till November 1: “Patty, don’t bother with a thank you note (she knew of course there was NO possibility I would not write a thank you note for the visit) till you get settled in Tucson.”

Taking that sweet and thoughtful “pass” and running with it, clarified to me AGAIN, the value of an old fashioned rule worth following: write a thank you note for any gift, service, or generous act that you want to show appreciation for within a few days of receiving it.

 

The note I wrote was more than adequate—it made mention of several special things our hosts did for us while also mentioning the BIG THINGS – like our thanks for their friendship. But it was not a spontaneous reaction to a freshly shared experience. Between the time I left Cathy’s and when I wrote the note I had been in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego before arriving in Tucson. In each place we were involved with friends, business colleagues, family and experiences each of which was unique. Yes, before you say it, I will: we are abundantly blessed – though even for us this is busier than most of our months.

The point is I had to sit and think about the Asheville trip—a good thing yes and a very pleasant thing to do, but not as fresh as the day or two post our departure. It was more challenging to find the exact spirit and shape of that trip that made it completely unique—as each experience is. It may seem crazy or even ludicrous in our current culture—but thoughtful promptness (versus an instant inane reply) makes a difference. And being as much in the moment and the present increasingly seems like one of the true “answers” to having a wonderful and successful life.

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If you haven’t heard, type in “death of cursive” or “penmanship” into your preferred search approach. Teaching little ones to write is going the way of the dodo bird—keyboarding is how most people communicate in today’s world.

I am now more convinced than ever that we all need to keep writing personal notes ON TIME and in cursive or print. They are more personal, soulful and focused. They provide people something our culture makes very hard to get: someone’s total attention, and time spent writing something meaningful about how thankful they are FOR YOU. Sorry about the late note Cathy – no more passes for me.

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