Friendship

Welcome “Just Turned 60” Fabulous Women!

Last night our charming waitress shared she was turning 60 “very soon”.  She had that panicked look I did when I was in that same rather terrifying situation 6 plus years ago.

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It struck me that many of you might be JUST turning 60 or have a friend who is and need some support as you tip over the line into being truly FabulousOver60.

Cathy and I have been writing our blog for quite a while – so we are VERY comfortable being FabulousOver60 and are almost (though not quite please GOD) thinking about coming up to SensationalOver70 – no plans on that for at least 3 or 4 years!

So you are turning 60. . . Happy birthday!

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  1. It takes getting used to so don’t expect a big bell to go off and you arrive in fabulous land. Your 50s went on a long time and were filled with much turmoil as is typical of the age.  Working remains front and center, shifting family relationships cause lots of planned and unplanned change, and fighting the menopause nightmare 30 lbs. keeps you up if the first two don’t.  Relax, you can finally lose the weight without cutting your head off and you get very used to personal and professional change and have it in greater perspective.  If you aren’t used to constant change by now you haven’t been paying attention.
  2. Don’t dwell too much on this being the beginning of the final third of your life. It is, but there is so much going on that preparing for the end is just a bit premature.  You are not in denial as much as just knowing that if you lasted this long, you likely have a way to go.  But do get a copy of Younger Next Year – taking care of yourself is definitely a major priority now.
  3. Remember that the way your Mom, Aunt, or cousin handled their 60s will likely not offer much relevant guidance. 60 is not the new anything except the new 60 – but options have increased, change is not only more rapid but more comfortable than ever. That is, unless you stopped growing as a person somewhere in your 40s. If that is the case, get thee to therapy – you are NOT ready to be FabulousOver60.
  4. Less is more is not only true, but as you go through your 60s you will find the urge to purge growing more intense. You will love throwing out things at the same level you used to be thrilled buying things, and you will have a simple phrase to use to make decisions. You don’t need MORE, but you do need higher quality everything.  Better shoes, a better handbag, better friends who are not just in your life due to the fact that they always have been, better manicures, better more thoughtful books, conversations, and value.  The sooner you get to this place the better.
  5. A new life – yes, a new life filled with new and fresh choices. It is time to travel, move, consider alternatives, start or stop dating, recommit to your marriage or get divorced, actively engage with your faith preference, renew your commitment to being a great citizen and overall being a better, finer person.  Like wine you go bad or you get awesome.  Choose wisely – we can tell you that all of these things make being 65 very sweet – or just another birthday.

Welcome to the club.  It is a wonderful place to be if you take personal responsibility for making it your best decade ever.  One thing is for sure – and we keep saying it here at FabulousOver60 – it’s all about your attitude and your effort – it always has been about that hasn’t it?  So somethings do NOT change, which is a good thing.

Patty

My Vagabond Summer (Of Love)?

Some of you may know our lifestyle changed in 2015 to owning just one house in Tucson, Arizona.  We have spent this summer of 2016 trying to get out of the Tucson heat – obviously that hasn’t worked too well.  The whole country seems to be sizzling or pouring rain – sometimes both.  We have driven or flown to various places renting apartments, houses and also staying in between rentals with family and friends.   We have been in Santa Fe, NM, Yardley, PA and Long Island, NY – still ahead are NYC, San Francisco, White Plains, NY, Asheville, NC and Atlanta – all before returning home to Tucson in October. Like most plans, much of what we were certain would happen did not happen (we did not mind being in the witness protection program as one of our dearest friends described this lifestyle), and new things came up that have turned into gems of experience.

Here’s a few highlights:

  1. We confirmed our love for Santa Fe. It is a magical, artistic, historically a very Hispanic town with charming architecture, warm people, nearly perfect weather and a real liberal vibe.  Spending time there is like taking a course in the country’s colonial past, art history, and kindness. We made new friends with an old friend of mine from college who I had forgotten lived in Santa Fe – she and her husband fit all the descriptions above.

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  1. We rented a house in Yardley, PA without a washer or dryer. I referred to this in an earlier blog.  The surprising event was becoming friends with the manager of the store and her niece who helped us figure out how to get back in the groove of Laundromats – we discussed work, getting raises, school, politics, and life and got along famously.  I found the connection with these great people that we have little externally in common with, super interesting and amazingly comforting for the future of our country.
  1. Episcopal churches are everywhere and yet extremely consistent. The churches are beautifully traditional and, of course, old (many were built when towns were founded), situated in the heart of downtowns, and only occasionally more than half full.  One is always greeted by people who recall the 1950s style we grew up with – charmingly formal in the sense of respecting boundaries and not assuming “being your new best friend” – softly open and welcoming, low key and anxious to make you feel you belong. It is the America some of us grew up in frozen in time.  I love these church visits and the sensitive sermons and people – like Stacy, the manager of the laundromat, comforting in these loud mouthed, obnoxious times.

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  1. I read serious books that touched my soul. Among them were Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me; Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb.  I feel I actually learned something real, intimate and important about being/growing up African-American, Chinese-American, and Norwegian.  The bravery of these books, their glimpse into realities of people I could never really know expanded my sense of what it means to be a human being.
  1. Finally, I fell in love. With John (not his real name of course), a late 50ish beyond handsome physician (sort of a mature JFK Jr) who is neighbor and friend to friends of ours.  Like the old time falling in love of 1960s it was both intensely sexy (in my dreams) and totally innocent with absolutely no basis in reality of any kind.  I saw him playing fetch with his black lab on the beach looking happy and carefree.  He then was introduced to me and I knew “he was the one”.  Though of course he is totally someone else’s.  Like our fabulous teen/young adult love for Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, and Rock Hudson it was both unrequited and impossible. A reminder that the pure joy of hearing “see you in September” is coming up next.

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Being a vagabond is working for us.  I could share so many more stories about how being loose and moving frequently is making us stay in the present moment and give up judging others.  But to be honest, I admit some nights I am looking forward to being HOME.  We fabulous women love change, our treasured summer memories, and yet miss our comforts too don’t we?

Patty

Grandmother Blues

Saw my granddaughters Reagan (10) and Morgan (7) this weekend.  The weather was horrible, we are in a rental a few hours away and it seemed we did more driving than visiting.  Although we did have time for a great dinner at home, watching the movie Zootopia, and playing a game that involved headbands and guessing about the card you could not see placed in your headband.  When we left (in less than 24 hours) I felt that I just didn’t get to share as much as I had hoped.  But, we had long standing dinner plans, so that made us feel we needed to stay with our plans and leave.

The truth is, the lifestyle we have now is not making it easy to be a fabulous grandmother.  We used to have a house in the northeast, which though a couple of hours away from our daughter and her family, allowed them to come visit for a weekend multiple times in the late spring and summer months. Having sold that house and having our home base now in Tucson while we spend the late spring and summer in various rentals around the country, we do not have a convenient home base to host our children/grandchildren.  Of course we can visit them, which we are doing, but we can’t have them “come to our house” except for their trip/s to Tucson – which is far away from their base in the New York suburbs.

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There are several reasons we made the choice to switch up our lifestyle that include age, health, and preferences of how we want to spend our older years.  We do believe we have made the best choice for us.  But I am beginning to own that it was not the best choice for our granddaughters.  They just don’t have the casual time in our house they used to and really do not get as much quality time with us as they did.  And that is making me blue.

It seems this is like much of life – making a choice for one thing, means something else, or someone else gets less.  And certainly this is the case here.  And now, I am trying to get my balance about that.  Trying to reconcile being fabulous while being a bit less so in the grandmother role.  What I am slowly discovering is that I need to get more creative – and lose the guilt. Guilt doesn’t help and truly I do not need to feel guilty for choosing an option that essentially is best for my husband and myself.

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Believing that my responsibilities include being a good, if not great, grandmother, dictates that I consider the consequences of some of my choices and adjust.  So I am now committing to more of iPhone’s FaceTime, and virtual connection and more visits and special trips planned in advance that build quality time.  I am going to stop being blue and start being more organized about having my granddaughters always know I care about them and see them as a priority.  Which means, that my total flexibility to see lots of different friends when we are in rentals near our children has to get cut back – I cannot see all the people we want to and meet my top goals.  I now realize that I have to be willing to do that even though it means some friendships will have to fall by the wayside to make room for being more available and flexible for our granddaughters.

This blog has been hard to write.  I keep waiting for things in my life to get easier.  But life keeps reminding me that as Dr. Scott Peck said: “life is difficult” and takes persistence and work and moving parts around the table and changing and readjusting.

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No, I don’t have to stop making the best choices for Bill and myself, but I have to admit and rearrange my life to make sure what is second, third and fourth in my life can all get done.  While the lure of whining is great – the truth endures.  Watch what happens when choices start to bring consequences (every one of them does) – and make the adjustments you need to.  Life really is a continuous round of learning – and learning always has been at the heart of being fabulous.  I can go back to being a fabulous grandmother if I make the right adjustments.

Yes, dear fabulous sisters, it always comes down to this sometimes very uncomfortable truth – WE have to do the changing.  Fabulous doesn’t work any other way.

Patty

If In Doubt…. Don’t Press Send!

Emails have been in the news a lot these past few months… and not in a good way. Just this week, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was found to have sent emails that shouldn’t have been sent and which she does regret sending.

It reminded me of a blog I wrote in late 2013 about the importance of being careful using emails in emotionally charged situations. Although they appear to be a great way to have quick communication, they also have an incredible power to disrupt both friendships and careers. Here is my original post.


I was reminded this past week about the potentially destructive power of email. Two couples … friends of ours and of each other … are no longer speaking. The rupture is so bad that it’s difficult to imagine how it can be repaired.

The issue isn’t as important as how it was handled. The first couple – who now admit that their first email was a mistake – sent it anyway. The response from the second couple was highly emotional – “scathing” is a word I’ve heard used to describe it. In fact, the clear message was that the friendship was over. The first couple sent another email apologizing and explaining. There has been no response.

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I haven’t actually seen any of the emails and I’ve only talked to the first couple about them. However, I think I understand the situation well enough to say that the emails … all of them … should never have been written or, more importantly, sent. In fact, I suspect that they were difficult to write and that both parties wrote at least a couple of versions of them. I also suspect that if everyone was being totally honest with themselves and others, they would say that they wish they could take them back.

Not too long ago, I was angry with an out of state friend. Again, the reason isn’t important. I immediately sat down and wrote an email. Then I wrote another version. I didn’t think I had the right tone, so I wrote it again. This one was better, but I still had a nagging suspicion that it didn’t capture the issue well enough. I decided to wait and try later. The issue weighed on me the rest of the day. I composed different versions of the note in my head. And then I began to think about receiving it as if I were my friend.

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That’s when it hit me. This issue was not an email issue. It required a phone call… a real discussion. So the rest of that day and the next I thought about the conversation rather than the words I’d use in an email. It was difficult to pick up the phone to call… but it was absolutely the right thing to do. I learned that my friend felt conflicted by the issue too. We had a great discussion and resolved it easily. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders and we were better friends than ever.

I can’t say that I’ve never sent an email I regret. But I think I’m even less likely to do it in the future given the recent sad story of my two friends.

When I talked to Ray about it, he said that Billy C. Owen, his Master Chief in the Navy, used to say: “Once you pull the trigger, you can’t get the bullet back in the gun.”

The wrong email is like a bullet you can’t get back.

So, I have a new rule for myself: If an issue is potentially emotional, if it’s difficult to write, or if it could be misinterpreted, I’m going to pick up the phone or … even better, if possible … have a face-to-face discussion.

I wish one of our sets of friends would do that now. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not too late?

Cathy Green

Why My 45th College Reunion Became My Best Ever

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I have always been a reunion-goer – but selectively.  My extroverted personality style and history as class president/organizer for various events in high school and college both, made me the typical and expected attendee, and naturally, contributor to both schools.  It’s been weeks since I am back from my 45th reunion at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN and I am, at last, satisfied with my reaction to this reunion, that which being my most gratifying.

First, let me mention a few other “facts” of my school and reunion history:

  1. I have attended most reunions at my Catholic, all female high school and college every 5 years since graduation in 1967 and 1971 even though I kept going to various graduate schools, and had left the Catholic Church.
  2. Though I earned an MA from NYU, MBA from Fordham and Ed.D from Columbia – a New York trifecta that I am enormously proud of, no reunion except one at Columbia, once, have gotten me to revisit the old school buildings/connections where I labored and learned for decades.

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High school and then its extension: college – were part of my foundation, my grounding. Those, the core values I developed: values of caring about others, working hard to achieve, being self-disciplined and clear about my responsibility to myself, family and others were Catholic in the broadest sense of the word.  They were also places that friendship and connections played a deep part.  There was learning not just about history and math, but also what it means to be a good person, a citizen, a friend and a leader. Going to reunions at these institutions just made sense to me because I wanted to reconnect and see how my classmates had fared, and get some support for the life choices I was making.  That just seemed like the graduation “contract” I made with these classmates and schools.

Conversely, I expected all of my graduate school education to make me a better professional and hone my knowledge and know-how in my field.  I didn’t see them as places that molded my core values. Of course now, in retrospect, they enormously affected my values — reinforcing them from a humanistic perspective and did serve as places of wonderful relationships and connections.  Because I didn’t see the experiences in this light, reunions did not seem as necessary.  I am beginning to rethink that.

It struck me driving into South Bend, IN a few weeks ago, that it really did not make sense that I attended college in the middle of a cow field.  Not that that is necessarily a bad thing – and SMC was/is a very good solid liberal arts college and such a peaceful setting could launch solid self-reflection and deep thinking.  But still – really?  The truth is, I always felt that the SMC decision was not the best for me – it was good, just not great.

Lake Marion at St. Mary's College

Lake Marion at St. Mary’s College

By the end of high school, my emerging self wanted to go to Wellesley (something bigger, brighter and shinier) – Hillary would have been there as a junior when I started.  She is busy, I hear, so likely she doesn’t miss that huge lost opportunity to be my good friend.  But I did – at least in my fantasies.  And there is the nub of it all – expectations not met causing me to miss the good that came instead.  I realized on this reunion trip, I had always held a little “grudge” against SMC for not being Wellesley.  Which is like resenting Bob your devoted husband because you “should have” married John – your fabulous perfect first love (yeah, right) that dumped you “causing” you to settle and marry OK Bob.

Me with classmates Kerry and Maureen at the reunion

Me with classmates Kerry and Maureen at the reunion

Making a very long story very short, it now appears to me that I never really got comfortable with all the good that I got from St. Mary’s…until this last reunion. While not my dream school, it was an institution filled with strong women leaders (mainly nuns at that time) struggling like all institutions then with dramatically confusing and changing times. SMC was trying to educate us for a world no one really understood – but convinced that with core values of service, giving of ourselves, discipline, hard work and just finishing, we would have what we needed to survive and hopefully thrive no matter what we did.

I realized, facilitating a session on “loss and moving forward” and sharing that platform with a wonderful former classmate, newly widowed, successful executive turned master healer was this: whatever it was or wasn’t, SMC helped support our budding adulthood.  And, the women who went there were smart and thoughtful despite the sexism of the time.  They, like SMC, did the best they could at the time and have continued to grow.

Patty and Cathy

Patty and Cathy

In the decades since, we took our freedom as it became more available, and became women likely SMC and our parents never expected.  I know for sure SMC is trying to make sure they keep doing a great job of supporting women who matter.  Wish I could tell them exactly what the formula is.  Clearly, they were mostly on the right track, even when some of us didn’t know it, couldn’t get it, or hadn’t figured out yet that college, like the rest of life, is mainly what you make of it.  No college, job, love, or unique experience creates us, we create ourselves – and right now I think what we are creating is pretty fabulous.

Bottom line? Consider going back to reunions and focus on being grateful for what good you got from the experience. Forget the rest and any remaining drama – thankfully we are great at forgetting things so we have a head start.  Now to just being grateful – like everything fabulous, that’s hard.

Patty

 

I’m Not Sleeping and My Cat Knows Why

Last year, I wrote that Ms. Blue, my elderly Maine Coon cat, was keeping me up at night by meowing loudly in my face. I also shared my husband’s thoughts on the subject as he moved to another bedroom!

I asked for help from readers and got some good ideas.

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Here’s an update: For her sake and mine, I decided to lock Ms. Blue in another room at night with her treats, her food and her litter box. It took several weeks for her to understand that howling at the door was not going to get her out of that room and into my face.  

She is doing much better now, I’m sleeping again and my husband is back in our bed.  A happy ending!

Here’s the link to my original blog about my dilemma.

Making New Friends Is Very Fabulous – Don’t Stop Doing It!

In October of 2012 I wrote a piece about making friends (link below).  It was a look back at how we USED to make friends in our youth – they were in our neighborhood, school, parent’s friendship circle – or we hit the bars or other typical youthful endeavor then filled with smoke.

Older now, we sometimes find ourselves pooped out by friendship.  Some “socializing” with old friends has gotten exhausting – some boring, some just a replay not a deepening of sharing.  Time for a friend shake up and shake out – we no longer have time for obligation friends – only friends of the heart, the soul, the common thread.  We need friends to stay grounded, to stay true to ourselves, but also to grow and experience new perspectives. So get the list out, cut the obvious by simply not reaching out to them – people are forgetting so much most won’t even miss you or care.  And start doing things you cherish with those that are left and you know are great ones.  Sprinkle your life with new friends too – the best ones meant to be will be fresh sources of love – doesn’t that sound exciting?

Here is the link to the older post: Making New Friends

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Patty

Who Says Fabulous Isn’t Jealous?

OMG, what more can I say?  I often feel this frightening thought each time I realize it is MY turn and not Cathy’s to write a new fabulous blog post.  It is especially hard when I write the week after one of her blogs hits another high point for our blog readership.  Yes, dear fabulousover60 readers, our most read blogs are written by Cathy Green, not Patty Gill Webber: just the facts.  Her last terrific success was Right On! Teenagers in the 1960’s had the Best Slang, which I loved as much as all the other readers so you don’t need to explain to me why it was so “hot”.

Please do not write to us saying that mine are just as good – while your kindness is appreciated, if readership is a judge, mine are not as universally welcomed.  However, I would suggest each of you that love MY blogs just get 100-1000 of your nearest and dearest women friends to read one of my blogs in the future. Maybe one that looks to have a better shot at fame since it is titled something like: “Why Trump’s Election didn’t shock fabulousover60 creators”; or, “Why women over 60—and not just fabulous ones have the nation’s best sex lives”.  The problem is, I never want to write things like that.  But that implies Cathy does write low life blogs like that which OF COURSE she DOES NOT. Being jealous makes you look and actually become a bit of an ass.

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OK, I admit it, I want what she has: the power to pick GREAT topics people care to read about.  I who consider myself rarely if EVER jealous of any other woman am feeling a tiny tiny bit of green when those numbers are reviewed.  So why not write about how it feels to be jealous of one of your dearest friends?  That is interesting – and, as I reflect upon it, potentially powerful, original, or even mysterious.  Millions of you have been waiting for a jealously blog.

Jealousy is a part of life – like taxes and insane politicians. So if I can share about my bout with jealousy, then maybe that will help you with your next bout with jealousy.

Here goes.  Well, speaking of petty, I feel plenty petty about resenting anything good that comes to another (especially Cathy).  I am a believer that life is very much an individual journey and that each of us has some good, bad and ugly – if not wildly great points, and sad as hell downers.  I also know life isn’t fair, life’s a game, transformation is possible and desirable and we all pretty much get what we give – just to name a few of my favorite clichés.  But being jealous?  That is just too base for me.  And if there is anything that is part and the heart of being fabulous it is this: do not be base and in the gutter about anything, don’t stoop to the lowest denominator—reach for the highest and best in yourself and others!

Blah blah blah –this “advise” about my being jealous is not helping you deal with yours is it?

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OK, here’s another way of looking at it.  Maybe if you have never been jealous, even a tiny bit, you aren’t being honest with yourself.   There are so many fabulous women  to be jealous of that being jealous actually makes sense: their hair, their accomplishments, their mega brains, their ability to rise above things, their bodies, their perpetual Zen state, their genius, their fame and/or fortune, their children, their car, their amazing partner, their saintliness, their honesty, their integrity, their clothes, their vacations, their health, their optimism, their plastic surgeon, or even their courage and willingness to give all they have to a meaningful and truly important cause. Come to think of it, it is amazing we aren’t all a great deal more jealous than we are.  And so that’s my gift to you – realize that if the biggest thing you do badly is feel slightly envious of someone you loves’ luck, energy, success or break in life, good for you – it is a minor thing really.

While I admit this piece is highly unlikely to win any awards, it was fun to write it and funnier still to realize how easy it is to stop being fabulous in any given moment.   I guess what I learned from this blog post is profoundly simple: it is harder to be good all the time – to be truly fabulous – than it looks. Especially when you do so many other things as perfectly as I do.  Cathy – it’s your turn!

Patty

Reconfirming what’s important in my 60’s: Sedona Reflections

I’m at the center of world – energy wise – I am literally in Sedona Arizona.  Sedona is home to the bright red and orange sandstone formations and many spiritual paths to inner (and outer) health, wellness, peace and balance.  For many years people have come here for inner renewal.

Of course I am having a privileged time (like most things in life, gaining peace and serenity and an awesome massage continues to get more expensive every year) with Bill and a couple of our special friends who with us are thrilled to be surrounded by the intense beauty and calm of this place.

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Sedona is fabulous.  There is no doubt about it.  Over 4 million people visit Sedona each year: 60% indicate it is for a spiritual experience.  That is all I need to know to make it fabulous.  If millions come here to find deeper calmness and roots, it is more than doing its role in helping humankind everywhere.  The newly calmed and centered people make the world a better place.  Many of you likely would like to reserve some calm and centered people for your church, club, synagogue, or canasta group.  You can’t help but leave Sedona with improved intentions about all that is good.  My guess is most of us slip quickly off the wagon of resolve – but we are, despite ourselves, still better than we were before our chance to grab this energy.

Yes, it belongs on your/my new Fabulousover60 List! (See below).  This is my name for a subset of the Bucket List (see movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) that focuses on those experiences, ideas, people and places that seem musts for any fabulous woman over 60 who wants to keep the journey and being fabulous going.

This resolve to create a new FabulousOver60 List is increasing.  It is striking me weekly if not daily, that aging gracefully and being an internally/externally beautiful, good, centered, living in the present moment person is 100% harder than it sounds – and harder than ever to achieve as you age.  Here’s my solution: by creating a new list of places to go, books to read, reflections to have, joys to share, ideas and experiences that are just better as we age, it seems I will automatically feel better about all the work that continuing to be fabulous entails.

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Once I leave Sedona (tomorrow) my resolve to get the list going may fade.  But I don’t think so.  I have this crazy feeling, confirmed by a strong tingling vortex vibe I felt this morning on a hike, that we all owe each other a hand to keep feeling and being fabulous.  As the world spins, we need each other’s good energy and good ideas. We also need to work together to make sure as many of us who want to continue to be that beautiful centered caring and daring woman we continually dream and strive to be can be a wider reality for more women – not just those very privileged.

New List for staying FabulousOver60:

Entry one: Don’t quit caring about yourself in the special way we all deserve.

Entry two: Do quit all the things you know you need to quit – just stop it.

Entry three: Come to peace with losing things that inevitably come with age – but keep looking for new gems of wisdom and ways to have fun to support the continuing journey.

Entry four: Go to Sedona sometime – or at least look it up and think about it.

The list continues . . . just like we do.

Patty

Carol Turns 60

One of my oldest and dearest friends turns 60 this week. She is fabulous – working creatively full-time, still a size 6, married about 6 years, and at all times both glamorous and loving.  I want to welcome her into her sixties with open arms and share with her advice I have pulled together by reflecting on these last 6 years of growing into my sixties.

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If you have a friend just turning 60, let me suggest you consider this list, or create your own list with your 6 points. Yes, there are losses – see Judith Viorst – but some of those losses are wonderful. It is slightly scary turning 60 – but it actually does seem to get more comfortable and suitable as the fifties become more ancient history.

So Carol . . . welcome to the fabulous sixties!

  • You will get sick of many aspects of working and may decide enough is enough and “retire” partially or fully from work. But you will find that there are some aspects of working (money, freedom, creativity, challenge) that you miss and perhaps are not ready to give up. This is a complex issue not easily solved. It is not easy to be part-time at anything. But with effort and determination there are ways to make part-time or different work, work FOR you. Allocate time to this effort, approach it in a relaxed but straight- forward way and take it seriously. Giving up working in my view works best when done gradually and with careful thought. After 6 years my part-time career is finally working like I want it to. You really cannot rush this process.
  • You will finally give up some long standing battle with yourself. You will accept yourself as you are more fully and just decide to play to your strengths and stop trying so hard to fix that nagging fault – that fault that in the overall picture is no big deal. My nagging fault as you well know is vanity – I accept it, make fun of myself for being the vainest woman in America, but don’t dwell on it anymore – there are MUCH worse flaws.

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  • Some people who never did matter or don’t matter anymore will simply exit your life. While we often through our fifties wonder about what happened to so and so, or why this or that relationship just didn’t work out, you realize in your sixties that it doesn’t matter anymore. The people who have come and stayed in your life, or are new friends who just arrived and are pulling you in are just the right people for you to be with now. You will miss no one and enjoy who is now present in your life if you just let friendships (and other things) unfold as they are meant to.

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  • Whether you decide to go to religious services more often or just start practicing yoga or reading more about spirituality, you will become more philosophical and spiritual – looking at and contemplating the big questions. Yes, I now definitely spend more time thinking about life after death, my legacy, or just how to be happy every single day and live in the moment. Gone are the pestering questions about this or that job situation or the horrible client. Since personal gossip never was my thing, it being totally absent is great. Nonsense (the little things: see many books on (don’t sweat the small stuff) really doesn’t seem worth worrying about. You finally lose this – the need to “figure out” why this or that personal thing is happening. You just deal with it.

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  • You will finally realize that love doesn’t conquer all, but it helps to love deeply and fully and have a tight inner circle. Having a great partner, as Cathy and I both do, is awesome, but its ups and downs is not the central story line anymore. Our partners called us back, we married them, and it is all good. No complex “love stories” will ever fill our minds with worry ever again – even if/when we are single again – the drama is just not the same. It is a loss – love dramas are so much a part of one’s earlier life, but I have found it is one of the greatest positive losses of being in my sixties not to think about that stuff anymore. You will wonder but be kind to yourself about all those hours of anxiety spent in “love drama”.

 

  • High standards become more important than ever. You realize that many of those tough boring disciplined approaches to life actually do matter. The fact you took your makeup off every night and put on cream matters now. The fact that you went to the gym at dawn really matters now. Having written thank you notes, called after a dinner party, followed up with a friend’s request have given you the habits and spine to keep at these now central means of staying whole, sane, purposeful and happy. What were hard to fit in disciplines, now are center stage as the real activities most important to do each day – thank God you know how to do them. I see in my sixties those that never had that discipline floundering as they age. Those who are disciplined thrive.

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Carol, it is a bit scary turning 60. And you will find it more unlike your 50s with each passing year. I was slightly traumatized by it – the loss of my youth.  The result of my fear turned into writing FabulousOver60 with Cathy. What you will do is not yet clear, but it will be unique, much like you. Know this: buckle your seat belt – it is going to be quite a ride.

Patty

 

 

 

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