While in California in the fall of 2013 I saw and fell in love with a one of a kind shoe store. The store was small, with unique handmade boots (and shoes) with bold designs and a personal touch.
I got a pair of pumps and Cathy, though not with me, heard all about Artemis Boots and gained the pair of kick-ass boots you see above. Funny how what we just thought was fun – not ridiculously expensive but needed a bit of fashion updating – turned into a metaphor for our mid-60s.
When Cathy and I started FabulousOver60, we wanted to share what was different about “suddenly” being in our 60s. As typical overachieving forever-young boomers, how could this assault to our dignity have happened? We were a bit distraught over “aging” and also pretty exhausted from the long climb to what at the time seemed like the top of our professional mountains.
But sometime between 61 and now, the sting of turning 60 lessened and we stopped thinking every other minute about how we are aging and how we would soon look atrocious and frail and well… really, really OLD. We earnestly began our efforts at treating ourselves more kindly and softly, learning new skills – be it meditation, social media for industry pros or golf. All the while learning to breathe more often (all the time anyone?) and have a more balanced life. We also kept our businesses moving, albeit with a much softer hand and more outside help.
Our internal struggles – of wondering “where to next” and how to stop feeling guilty about whatever work we were, or were not doing – turned into our new and different lives. We started and stopped some new things, and over time honed a deeper understanding of where our hearts (and minds) are (versus ‘were’). We began to sense that our lives would be lived at a different pace — alternating leaps, bounds, and longer rest periods (unlike our previous style of going full speed ahead until we dropped, then partied, and then started the cycle all over again).
One thing we didn’t think when we turned 60 was that we would willingly get back on any kind of work treadmill — back in the saddle so to speak. We had traveled so frequently on business trips that hearing the words “fasten your seat belts” made us queasy. We didn’t think climbing mattered anymore. And it doesn’t. But working on what lights up our hearts/minds is not climbing — it is new focus on narrower objectives that are deeply personal, chosen with care, and meant to accomplish just what we want and need and no more.
We may find that our new boots are getting us more exhausted than we planned. But unlike the last time when we were pooped in our late 50s, we aren’t going to say “never again”. Rather, we are going to say “how can I create a new approach to getting what I want, and what the world needs — right now in the present, and for as long as it is meant to last, and not a minute longer?
And of course, we’ll never stop looking for the next great boot!