Stuff About Today’s World

More Great Things About Being 65

Last week Cathy started talking about what is great about being 65 — think she was trying to make me feel better turning the big 65. But the more I was thinking about what I liked about 65, the happier I got.

1.) Many of the “big calls” (go/stay/choose/reject) have been made and when new choices come up as they inevitably do, I feel I can handle them with serenity and acceptance. Most importantly, I now know what is best for me. Making major life choices as a young woman was daunting. I knew that choices of faith, values, lifestyle, education, mates, commitments, career, and health would have a great impact on my life — essentially define it. But my trust in myself was weak. Often I second-guessed myself and RE second-guessed myself, unsure if I was worth trusting. It took a long time, much introspection, and ultimately recovery from insecurities to feel confident that my choices were and are the right ones for me. tumblr_m41r62T4ZM1rvcjd7o1_500 2.)  I am no longer horrified, shocked and incredulous about bad things happening. There are some surprises, but they are happy, mysterious or silly. It seems like anything “bad”, terrifying, or threatening that could have happened has and we know about it. I am not happy but resigned to evil in the world and won’t let any evil person or event prevent me, and those I love, from moving forward and inward toward peace. viet.911 3.)  Our daughter survived 9/11. My wonderful brother in law died in 2003. I have been assaulted, fired, dumped, lost family and friends, been in accidents, had some health scares, gotten lost, trusted bad people, worked for some bad bosses, chosen poor investments and some questionable friends/partners. I have been alone for long periods of time, hung in for ages to accomplish things I have really wanted and seen people I love terribly hurt (which to me has been the worst). Believing “This too shall pass” is the best advice ever.

4.)  There is a constant wonderful stream of scientific and technical discoveries, ideas, and insights into life, eternity and all its mystery that is endlessly fascinating. AND, I get to choose whether or not to “get on board” or work to adjust. In earlier decades, external changes had to be seriously considered and dealt with – new technology? Had to learn it. Changes in business approaches or new family members? Had to get on board. A wonderful new restaurant or style? Well it seemed important to at least try it. Now, what interests me I get engaged with, otherwise I can happily sit on the sidelines because with very few exceptions my engagement is unimportant if not irrelevant. shutterstock_research-e1381241294977 5.)  My friends and family — especially those my age or older have more time for me – and I, for them. I can talk to a friend midday, shop leisurely for my grandnieces or daughters, write a longer note or letter, or just think about people and life at a deeper level. Work is not the central driver of my life nor in many people’s lives I know. Everyone in my life still works at things (a criteria for being in my life – you have to DO something – even if that is being Zen). Some for needed or ‘luxury” money, some not. But the old hardcore drive and focus on work, career, making this or that financial goal is nearly gone — and with it an openness and relaxed pace more often than not makes life much more peaceful and calm.love-suite 6.)  I am not delighted about thoughts of inevitably dying mainly because I want to have drinks with my granddaughters when they are 40 something and that isn’t likely meant to be. The other biggies – perhaps having to live without Bill, or getting really old and frail and/or losing my mind have stopped being fears. Maybe meditation, prayer or reading 1,000,000 books and thinking about it has just calmed me down. While I am not ready or willing to share all my plans, let me just say I am at reasonable levels of peace and plan to continue to work on this part of my life — mainly, by living in the present moment. That just keeps coming up doesn’t it? If you have no idea what I am talking about google “being present”.

7.)  While millenials are a bigger cohort that is reshaping the world in their own image – as we did – I enjoy sharing aging with boomer stars, celebrities, my friends and other boomers I don’t know but who write, blog, or otherwise contribute — a motley and pretty funny cohort. I can see other boomers, even the stars we thought never would, are aging, or struggling with one or another similar issue, or reinventing themselves again in some way professionally or personally. There are lots of models – good and bad. We never have to feel alone on any issue — some boomer out there is already dealing with it and ready to share. Or some boomer is doing it so badly we can easily see what bad or stupid choices to avoid.

Clockwise: Debbie Allen, Richard Branson, Cybil Shepard, Ed Harris, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Phil

Clockwise: Debbie Allen, Richard Branson, Cybil Shepard, Ed Harris, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Phil

I like myself. No, more than that, I love myself. That just wasn’t the experience of most of my earlier life — I drove myself to impossible standards and I frequently suffered from feelings of inadequacy and doubt. While I look worse than ever, make less money by far and am certainly less hot and sexy, and to top it off – often “out of it” in one or another ways, I am OK with it all. Because somehow, with the help of the universal good, critical thinking, smart people and my fabulous women and men friends, I am finally convinced, I am more than enough just the way I am — yes, at 65. Patty

14 Reflections on 2014

1.) 2014 went faster than 2013 and it is clear this is an accelerating trend. Skip telling anyone under 60 this “fact” since they will not believe you and just think you are out of it and extremely annoying.

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2.) We recognized every person in the People magazine issue on deaths of famous people during 2014 and extremely few of those in the ‘most famous’ or ‘best looking’ editions. Ouch.

3.) We always heard and believed that it was much safer to fly than to drive — we flew for business and fun all the time before and after 9/11. This year’s loss of three planes – one due to a terrorist act, one extremely mysterious and one due to weather makes us wonder if we haven’t been overly confident and should be considering another means of transportation soon.

4.) The mid term elections gave new meaning to the terms ridiculous, insulting, boring, meaningless and just plain silly. Don’t know if the Republicans should be thrilled or depressed — same for the Democrats — in any case millenials do not seem impressed by any party or candidate. We may be the last generation of voters who even care a little bit about left, right and center.

5.) A lot of FabulousOver60 women are excited about Hillary running — but whether we’re excited or not, none of us understand how she cares that much or has the energy and determination to spend it running the country.

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6.) 60 is feeling younger every day as we near 65.

7.)We actually have had quite a few days in 2014 when we accomplished nothing particular. We hope to increase the number of those days without becoming certified underachievers, slackers and the curse worse than death: BORING.

8.) It is incredibly sad that we are still dealing with so much racial tension in our country. 2014 brought back the kind of strong feelings – on all sides of the issues – that we had in the 60’s. It was shocking to us. Did we think having a black president signaled an end to those problems? Not so.

9.) There were some real people whose names may not be ones everyone knows who made an incredible difference in people’s lives in 2014. Many were FabulousOver60 women: Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve, 68; Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, 67; Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Mondelez Int’l, 61; Helen Clark, Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme, 64; and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 60. For the total list see Forbes List of the 100 most powerful women.

10.) If it were possible to love people more deeply, cherish friendships more completely, forgive and forget more quickly, work with focus and let irritations go more easily — we did all of that in 2014 — and we hope to keep doing more and more of each of these in the future because nothing is more important to us.

11.) People we loved died, people we loved had people they loved die, some were shocking and “out of the blue” while others were “expected” — we wish for everyone more acceptance and peace about aging and dying. There are no other viable options but we continue to look for them.

12.) We have not lost our interest at all in looking good and dressing well, being fit, being strong and most of all mentally healthy and vibrant. Hence we are taking a long holiday vacation and won’t be up and running full strength for at least another week or two.

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13.) Yes, we are forgetting things even though we still do Lumosity or Fit Brains and are keeping current with the world — but the truth is more things we used to think were really important enough to remember simply aren’t.

14.) We are so happy that things are better for women and for people with various “differences”. We have increased our charitable giving and involvement in 2014. We are looking forward to a rainbow world of people filled with peace and joy — and a great plastic surgeon or at least a terrific makeup artist with reasonable rates for the years ahead — not in that order.

Happy New Year! Happy 2015! Continue to be fabulous — we plan to be!

Patty and Cathy

Speaking of Being Right

If you are new to FabulousOver60 or have been reading it for a long time, you need to know we do not believe that 60 is the new anything other than “the new 60″.

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But while this is something we have gotten “right” Cathy and I often feel we are missing the mark on various minor or even major cultural trends that we don’t “get” but obviously have made it to main stream behavior and thought to be absolutely fine. Think of these examples: changing plans with one’s parents at the last minute; NOT writing a proper thank you note; NOT working for a living and taking personal responsibility to support oneself even if that income is REALLY modest; NOT getting dressed up a bit to attend someone’s graduation, wedding or school event; NOT RSVP’ing to an invitation – or worse – accepting and not showing up — and the list goes on. Common conversation among us fabulousover60s which we just keep to ourselves since we know we are no longer the protagonist of life’s story.

Well, lo and behold (remember that one?) we have had a break — and now a GIFT to give that actually we agree with and can say (if we were obnoxious enough to do so and we are not) “told you so”.

Age 20, according to popular psychologist Meg Jay, is NOT the new 30. The 20s are actually The Defining Decade.

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Now everyone fabulousover60 knows a niece, nephew, grandchild, client offspring, colleague’s son or daughter that is not working, living at home or on their parent’s dime or otherwise not paying attention to what we used to think of as growing up. The most radical thing some of us did was not having children or becoming a lawyer or doctor when virtually no women were. Well perhaps that is a bit of revisionist self-serving history! Like previous generations we “forgot” our “transgressions” — like the reefer we smoked and inhaled along with that commune in 69 and Woodstock. But I digress.

From the Great Recession, to Gen Xers or young boomers and their children being “friends” rather than two different camps the way it was when we were 20 something, reasons abound for the less than fully employed and under committed.

To be fair, and, as a life coach, I certainly know making anyone feel really bad about not doing or achieving can risk their self-esteem — but we fabulous women would tend to agree most younger people have “too much” self-esteem by our standards.

Remember that our parents no matter their background, race or primary language never learned the words “what do YOU think you should do?” So we wanted to say that but NEVER did. Maybe Dr. Jay can say it for us — either by gifting 20-somethings, or their parents the physical book. Or, if they really never read paper books, send them an e-card with a talking animal saying something witty plus the link to Meg Jay’s TED Talk. Good advice seems to be coming back in style — and just in time for the holiday giving season. That’s at least one or two people you can gift with confidence.

Patty

OK With TV Getting Dumped; But Relationships?

When the Torrisi family got a color TV in the 60s my family of 4 couldn’t wait to get invited to see Bonanza with their family of 8. Most of us boomers remember when our families got their first TV and then a color TV.

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A TV in the center of the living room, then called the “den” and eventually the great room, is something that has been part of mainstream décor ever since.

This piece suggests that millenials and their smart toys have essentially put an end to TV viewing as we knew it — watching TV on a mobile device just makes more sense to them. Seems to me this is more a ho-hum than a tragic loss. The loss of a central TV as an organizing principle in people’s family lives has worn out its welcome. In many ways it was an old idea trying to keep people “together” while essentially they had often stopped being together a long time prior. It always disturbed me to go to someone’s home and find the hosts watching TV and thinking I might want to join in. Why would I go to their house to do that?

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Now, people gather by twitter or at the movies, or even in front a big screen TV when an event, movie, story, concert, or big game is actually of shared interest. Great stories — and games can be stories too — thrill us. And, my guess is they always will. Great content is a draw no matter the means to view it. I (and many boomers) loved The Roosevelts, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards.

Won’t spoil Interstellar for you but it makes my point that some things (values, really) are worth keeping and will never go out of style: love, commitment, honesty, boldness, persistence, hard work, risk. Things that were just “how it was” do and maybe “should” tend to melt away — like a TV as the center of life shared. Loved how a 124 year old re-invents life in this movie – it is such a boomer dream. While it isn’t going to happen for us — how it happens in this movie will likely reinforce our fabulous style of continuing to try and not holding on just to hold on. Curious what you think!

Another article made me cringe, and weep. Seems like many millenials are shying away from real life tangible relationships and supplanting them with virtual quasi relationships. One example was a man who “fell in love” (or something of that sort) based on multiple texts, sexts, and phone calls with a woman. Both decided to drop their current mates and connect in person. But the man changed his mind at the last minute realizing he couldn’t live up to his virtual, more perfect, self.   This article blows my mind, as we used to say. Am at a loss on this one.

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Makes you sort of miss casual sex back in the 60s or 70s which was always at least IRL (in real life). Of course whether you miss it or not, you can create your own history about it — who’s going to know without Facebook and smart phones?

Patty

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Being a Bit Naïve – Not Always Funny!

I am not a “been there/done that” sort of woman. Things have and still seem to surprise me. When young, naïve was an understatement to describe my lack of sophistication and savvy. My all time “who knew” story was being asked by a guy at 22 to meet him at the Harvard Club. Yes, I did manage to find it, and yes, I asked for “John Smith” who promptly appeared in the lobby area.

Unfortunately the idea of Harvard as a private club somehow eluded me — I commented to him and a few of his friends that it was interesting that the “Harvard Club” – a public place in my mind – looked and felt like everyone on the walls in those rather grim portraits, and right now standing in the lobby could have ACTUALLY GONE TO HARVARD. Looking at me now as a sophisticated woman of a certain age it seems impossible I could have uttered this HUGE faux pas — but yes sister fabulous women, I did.

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Harvard Club

Needless to say John sneered and sent me packing. I tell the story to remind myself and others in my life that I was not born at Saks Fifth Avenue nor raised on the main line of Philadelphia. But interestingly, though much more “seasoned” and exposed to all sorts of people, places and things, I remain more or less a trifle naïve. Not necessarily about which fork to use, or knowing Peter Michael is a great chardonnay not just a guy’s name, I mean naïve in the sense of wondering what in the world is going on here — how could this be happening?

Here are some recent shocks to my system. Am curious if you share my shock or just want to shout to me Patty, snap out of it – don’t be so naïve! More pointedly: when is it OK to be naïve and when does it literally become dangerous?

Shock One: Ben Bernanke was turned down for a mortgage. Yes, it seems the bank he applied to used an algorithm to block new loans to those just changing jobs — even if he is in the one percent and the former head of the Federal Reserve Bank.

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This article makes the point that common sense needs to come back into the mortgage system. Can you blame me for having missed the fact that human factors are no longer used in giving people mortgages? That amazed me — sure you can get a line of credit or a mortgage online, but when did your ability to demonstrate your reliability and financial responsibility lose out to a formula that excludes any personal judgment? This knowledge allows for a great deal more empathy to those who are still being told they can’t have a mortgage. Just laughing at the stupidity of the bankers who rejected Bernanke is not the point.

Shock Two: A long ago corporate client called me out of the blue this weekend. The call came 10 years or so after he had a personal crisis and retired from corporate life to get his life back in order. He indicated his wife was scheduled for surgery this week that is extremely serious — and he wanted me to know that even though we hadn’t seen each other in forever he was using the “wisdom” (his word) I had imparted to him years ago about corporate change and transformation and was using it to help he and his family deal with this stunning negative turn of events in their lives.

I was hugely flattered but amazed. I certainly never thought my corporate consulting work would help someone deal with the possible death of a spouse. Or, maybe I did or at least hoped whatever good I was doing went beyond just good things for the institution. And, it reminded me that what we say – and what we have said – really does matter always.

I was wrong to underestimate the impact I had on people I worked with and naïve to think that my words and actions at work did not have enormous impact.

Shock three: The Canadian capital of Ottawa is the scene of violence today and the story continues to unfold. Terrorism seems to be at issue here. Watching the historic Ottawa Parliament building in lockdown is unnerving. While ISIS did seem far away it is getting unnervingly close. The whole idea of people being “radicalized” and traveling to join various terror spots makes me uneasy. How could the story of freedom and democracy we grew up with fail to connect with a troubling number of people here, in Canada and Europe? What part have we all played in alienating some people so much that they want to join in a crusade against what we see as decency?

While being naïve can be very funny, it can also be dangerous. It can leave us unconcerned with issues that we seriously need to reflect upon and take action upon. As fabulous women we have to know when to laugh, but also when to stop laughing at women wanting to marry ISIS soldiers – and rather contribute to creating bridges of understanding in our own communities so even the thought of this is impossible. Fabulous women know when to be serious and take responsibility for modeling important interest and passion. Or we should.

Patty

50th Reunions: To Go or Not to Go? That is the Question!

Two weeks ago, I attended a 50th grade school reunion. Our Lady of Lourdes was part of a Catholic parish in a small Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood. About 100 of us – boys and girls – spent Grades 1 through 8 together and about half of us attended the reunion.

The last time I saw most of these classmates was at a 20th reunion when we were in our early 30’s. Now, thirty years later, we were all 64 years old.

Despite the fact that I told everyone I was “coerced” into attending by a girlfriend on the planning committee who I’ve stayed close to over the years, I was actually looking forward to it … and ended up having a good time.

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Here are a few snapshots: The party was held in the school cafeteria where it felt weird to be drinking wine and beer; familiar late 50’s and early 60’s music played in the background; I told one of the guys that I had had a crush on him in 8th grade (it made his night, he said); another guy told me I was “hot” back then (who knew?); a girl I sang with in a quartet reminded me about a road trip with our choir director and his wife to a boy’s college when we were in the 8th grade; another one told me a funny story about my dad; one of the twin brothers who drove the teachers crazy with their pranks told us about a nun “clocking” him while he was running in the hallway; a life-size poster of the pastor of our church at the time – a much-disliked curmudgeon – was dressed up in hats and boas throughout the evening; and our favorite nun, Sister Mary Myra, now nearly 80 years old, shocked us by admitting that the nuns didn’t like him either! We also walked up two flights of marble steps (slowly, to accommodate arthritic knees) and toured a tiny 1st grade classroom, marveling at how we could have been so young and small.

In retrospect, there are several things I decided about 50th reunions:

  1. A 50th reunion is different. If you’re going to go to any reunion, this is probably the one to attend. By this time of our lives, posturing about jobs, financial success and our wonderful children is pretty much over. Instead, we’ve all made it this far in life, we know what we’ve become, it is what it is, we feel OK about it, and we’re at the reunion for reasons other than showing off or bragging. (Well, except for the grandkids.)
  2. We are at a more reflective and nostalgic time of our lives. Those of us who attend a 50th reunion either have stories to share or want to revisit some of the stories we’ve forgotten. Most of us have lost our parents – some many, many years ago – and no longer have the connection to the past that they provided. We’re curious about what went on in our lives in those early days and have an interest – unlike in our younger years – in remembering what we did and how we felt back then.
  3. We share a connection with these classmates that is different from the one we share with later-life friends. We are all the same age (how weird is that?), we spent many years together in a small space, we dealt with the same authority figures, we all learned to get under our desks in case of a nuclear war, we shared the same childhood insecurities … and in the case of our class, we ate the same delicious jellyrolls from the bakery across the street. (The bakery is long gone, but someone found a source and brought jellyrolls to the reunion. How great is that?)
  4. Everyone thinks they look 10 years younger than everyone else. 50th reunion attendees are grateful to be healthy enough to attend an evening reunion, although most of us want to be in bed by 11:30pm. And, we feel that we’ve done OK in the aging department. In fact, better than most, if we have to say so ourselves! Actually, we don’t see 64 year olds anyway when we look at other attendees — we see the kids we used to be!
  5. It’s all about the good memories. Yes, we had things happen to us in school that we’d rather forget. But, those things aren’t what anyone wants to talk about at this age. 50th reunion attendees are more interested in remembering fun stuff and sharing a laugh or two or three.

So, go ahead and attend your 50th reunion – grade school or high school. And, if you do, here are some suggestions based on my recent experience:

  • Look at the eyes! You’ll be more likely to “see” the kid you knew.
  • Don’t say “Do you know who I am?” while hiding your name tag. Introduce yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised if people remember you before your self-introduction, but if not, at least you won’t get blank stares. (Ladies … Use your maiden name. It’s the only one your classmates will know or care about!)

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  • Spend some time in advance of the reunion coming up with a story you can share. If you have photos or school albums, they’ll jog your memory.
  • Use the time you spend with classmates asking them to share stories and memories. You could find a few gems among them.
  • Don’t talk about your health problems. We all have them and we don’t want to talk about them. (And … if someone isn’t there, don’t speculate about whether they died. Assume they had another commitment or, better yet, that they are on a luxury cruise to Tahiti!)
  • Tell everyone they look great … why the hell not!
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Cathy (center) with two grade school friends at our 50th reunion

My 50th reunion didn’t change my life – and it probably won’t change yours either. But with the right attitude and approach, it can be a pleasant way to take a little stroll back in time and uncover some of the things that made you the person you are today.

And … you might even get to savor some jellyrolls or other goodies from the past!

Cathy

Women in the Workplace Still Need Role Models and Mentors

When Deeanne Colwell wrote to us about her experience in the aviation industry where she worked as a pilot for 30 years, Patty and I thought it could be a good time to suggest to fabulous women over 60 that we might be in a great position – even if we are retired or about to retire – to encourage, support and advise younger women as they face continuing career challenges.

Many of us have built expertise in a career or other endeavor while learning important (and often difficult) lessons along the way. We’ve faced glass ceilings, lack of respect, gender assumptions and more. Sharing ways we’ve dealt with these issues – whether successfully or not – could be very valuable to those who are coming up behind us. Maybe we should even think about this as an obligation – something we owe to other women as Deeanne suggests in this inspirational story.

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Welcome to Reality!

By Deeanne Colwell

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Deeanne Colwell.  I have just retired from an incredible job.  Yes, for 30 years I was a pilot at a major United States airline.  My dream shot that came true after giving up a career in medicine to pursue my life’s passion.  Although we are a minority in the aviation community, I never felt as though I was a role model, a trail blazer or any other feel good term.  I was a woman airline captain just doing what I loved.

Due to federal mandates I had to retire at age 65, give all this up.  It wasn’t the money or any prestige, it was my passion.  After the retirement process I thought to myself, time for a new adventure, a new challenge, a new life. But every time I thought of returning to graduate school or becoming a bartender my love of aviation would keep creeping into my thoughts.

I am saying, OK girl, if you cannot fly go teach, you just might have something to offer to the aviation community.  What the heck, you might even inspire another woman to take on this challenge. OK, let’s not push it yet.

As luck would have it, I found an international flight training company that trained corporate pilots from all over the world to fly.  I applied and was given an interview.  My first thought was I have nothing to wear to an interview – I went out to an upscale women’s shop, bought a nice suit and now I am ready.

I go to the interview, was greeted very professionally by the staff, this was so comforting to me since I had not been to an interview since the mid-80’s.  All was well until the interview room started filling with men. Men asking me very mundane questions, actually they were very easy to answer. Then the subtle attacks and flanking maneuvers began.  I began to see where this was going. I was asked very condescending questions, questions that a student pilot could answer.  It was almost like they were saying to me, “OK sweetie why are you really here?”  But what they didn’t realize is I love a challenge, I love a confrontation. I held my ground.  Finally one man asked me, what do you really have to bring to this organization?  I looked at him square and said, EXPERIENCE.

The interview ended very cordially, with the standard “we have many other candidates to go, we’ll be in touch”.

After leaving, on my drive home, many thoughts were going through me. Thoughts like where did I go wrong, could it have gone better.  Then I said to myself, woman you did great, if they don’t hire you it’s their loss.

The reality of all this hit me after 30 years, the reality of the “glass ceiling”.  The reality of this still “macho” business.  I’ve been sheltered all these years and the “glass ceiling” was just a term for me.  What this interview has awakened me to do is to become active in being a role model, a motivator for some young girl who wants what I had, to even become a fighter pilot or maybe an astronaut.

I suppose we all owe something to someone, some time.   Dee.

 

YES, Dee, we do. It is what makes us fabulous at any age!

Cathy

P.S. Patty recently found an organization called Take the Lead whose mission is to do what it takes to achieve leadership parity for women across all sectors by 2025. Thought you might like to check it out.

This piece was submitted by a guest blogger. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.

Fighting People, Boredom and Burnout

Went to a cocktail/dinner party about a month ago – we knew the hosts but no one else. Twenty or so people were in attendance – ages varying from 40-70ish. The house, food, setting was superb — but on the way home we found ourselves, while not exactly complaining, at least wondering why we found the people nice but boring – except for our host friends whom we adore.

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My husband and several of our/his friends have a group called the “I hate people club” because at this point they are exhausted by “@ss#oles“ they keep meeting. The women in the couples cringe when we hear this – but at some level we get it.

When younger, much of what we found interesting and really fun was sharing and learning about what we were interested in at those points in time:

  • How to meet that great looking woman/man to date, become friends with or have a potential business exchange with.
  • What can I learn from others also juggling family, work, and working at XYZ?
  • Am I keeping up professionally, personally, in any way and every way with “what’s happening now”?
  • Can I get some tips on makeup, hair, traveling, new restaurants — even politics — because we really did used to have conversations about candidates without anyone getting crazy.

Two big changes have happened. Nowadays, the “answer” or information about anything is available online. You don’t need as many other people’s advice because you can get tons of advice on any and all subjects whenever you want it. And secondly, perhaps more importantly, we don’t care as much about others’ views, or feel quite the pressure to be better, different, or more open.

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Actually, I think the problem is in the questions — or the lack of questions we want to ask, think to ask, or know how to ask. Maybe we are really curious why Jim is still with Mary after all these years, or how Tom is coping with his illness or Carol with the loss of her mate. With new folks we wonder how to break the ice without stumbling in the killer conversations about Washington DC, money, fears or inability to retire and so forth.

Maybe we just need to stop analyzing and just get back in the habit of being interested in others, and interested in things that are new, different and maybe pushing us a bit out of our comfort zone. That and maybe accept that some forms of socializing don’t work anymore – and do more of what does work: more time with friends who challenge us but love us unconditionally. Being fabulous is turning out to be more about depth and insight. Because, really, who cares that boots are in or that Spirit is the hottest restaurant in town?

Patty Gill Webber

Photo credit here, here

Meet Debbie Wemyss

Note: We receive no compensation or commission from any women we introduce to you through Fabulous. These posts are based on one to one interviews with the individual woman, shaped into a blog post by Patty and/or Cathy, and fact checked by the woman being interviewed.

Cathy and I keep meeting fabulousover60 women. We have decided to start a new blog topic — meeting peers, friends, new contacts, family members, school mates — anyone who strikes us as having things to say to our readers and ourselves. We are hopeful this new feature will inspire and inform you. Contact us if you or someone you know would be a great candidate for a “meet blog”. Click here to contact us about suggested person.

Describe your passion and share why it is so important to you right now in your life?

Debbie’s current successful and growing business is just over 3 years old. Her focus? Helping people use LinkedIn successfully. She sees her business as a continuation of who she was and still is — a person who loves to help others. Raised by non-profit executives, and a non-profit executive herself, Debbie’s business sprung from necessity and has flourished because she has found a need in the changing world, and is filling it. With the force of her strong, straight forward personality, her tight, strategic focus on a genuine need people will pay for, and with professionalism honed from years of working and striving, Debbie is Fabulous.

Finding herself “downsized” at 57 — at the height of the great recession–for the first time ever from her highly successful non-profit career with two children to put through college, Debbie’s first steps were to keep trying to re-enter her own field. With glowing work reviews, wonderful references and a “contact list” the envy of many non-profit executives, and over 300 resumes to every possible connection/option, Debbie realized the workplace had dramatically changed and she had to change with it to survive.

Debbie decided to use her great learning skills and dive into understanding social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube – the big four – became her passion. Carefully studying, self educating herself and keeping her positive focus she soon realized that although all four were intriguing and important, she chose the number one business site in the world – LinkedIn – and began to focus.

Always a proficient networker Debbie went back to her involvement with Career Source where she was part of an ongoing monthly support group of senior executives trying to find work. While she couldn’t get permission to conduct a workshop on LinkedIn, she started, with the encouragement of others, to help people with their LinkedIn job search efforts. She soon began to see many had a real interest in the skills she had acquired. Her business began there — with job seekers and helping them use LinkedIn effectively to land interviews.

In the 3 years since founding DW Consulting Solutions she has serviced over 450 people in 7 countries — and is busier than ever. As a startup coaching job seekers, Debbie now works with corporations and thriving enterprises as well as individuals. She has recently added some people to help support her growing business. Seeing LinkedIn as the “yellow pages of the times”, she has an excitement, passion and desire to help others use the site to their advantage professionally. With over 5.3 billion searches done on LinkedIn in 2013, she sees no stopping the juggernaut that now has over 300 million users.

What lessons have you learned and want to share with other fabuloussover60 women?

Organized as I have come to expect, Debbie had her sharp answer ready.

She ticked them off:

1. Decide. While it might seem it would get easier to make decisions as we age, for many of us it is harder than ever. But deciding is the factor that starts the whole process moving forward. Deciding to do something — anything, is critically important to moving forward in your 60s. Debbie decided to skip listening to any naysayers, to not worry about being over 60 and just keep moving forward.

2. Be focused. You have to take risks that matter — and do it with caution but faith. Stay the course you have selected for yourself and don’t allow distractions to get you off track.

3. Be persistent. Believe in yourself and the path you have chosen. Whatever that path is, stick with it.

What has been your biggest/best or worse surprise since turning 60?

Turning philosophical Debbie shared her “ah ha” moments of looking at photos of herself and her friends and thinking: “yes, we are aging” and “yes, life is short”. And, having the realization we all seem to be having of learning about one or another friend with one or another illnesses or sudden passing drives home the fact that we’re not getting any younger.

Taking these “newly sensed” insights, she began to feel that there was “no time to waste” and if she wanted to do, to see, or to be something the time was and is now.

What makes you feel fabulousover60?

Loving my life right now. Living in the present and moving forward knowing time is short so I better be enjoying it. Debbie also cited the freedom of doing what she wants, when she wants taking full accountability for the results but knowing corrections can be made swiftly because she is at the helm.

Favorite movie, book or other suggestions to share?

Debbie sees her new work and passion bringing all sorts of personal as well as professional opportunities to her life. She hasn’t seen it but looks forward to getting a laugh from “new/old” love with the Diane Keaton/Michael Douglas romance ‘And So It Goes’ in theaters this summer.

Debbie didn’t hesitate for a moment when making a book recommendation: Reid Hoffman’s (co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn) The Start-up of YOU.  She has read it multiple times. It’s now on my list.

Final thoughts.

I met Debbie through an online seminar she gave for a business partner of mine. Blown away by her enormous drive, precise information and on-target help with LinkedIn I hired her shortly after to help with my own LinkedIn presence. Impressive, warm, sharp and determined, I am thrilled to have met Debbie Wemyss and to have added her to my professional and personal contacts. Not many people can start a successful business near 60 — but Debbie shows it can be done — by being true to herself and working like crazy.

Contact info:
Debbie Wemyss (weemz)
Independent LinkedIn Specialist
DW Consulting Solutions
debbie@dwconsultingsolutions.com

 

 

The 70’s Rock Concert That Didn’t Rock

By Cathy Green (With contributions from guest blogger and concert attendee, Ginny Callaway)

Here’s the scene:

Two couples. All four of us in our 60’s. Feeling good. Going to a Three Dog Night concert under the stars at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. Reserved seats, only 6 rows from the stage.

Here’s what we expected:

We’ll have dinner at a nearby restaurant at 5:30pm, park close to the concert venue, get a glass of wine and find our great up-front and personal seats.

The concert will start at 8:00pm sharp.  We’ll hear our favorite TDN songs from the 70’s … Celebrate, Joy to the World, Easy to be Hard and many, many more. We’ll feel like young 20-something’s again. We’ll stand up, we’ll clap and, with other members of our peace, love and rock and roll generation, cheer until we bring the guys back for an encore. We’ll have smiles on our faces as we exit the concert, we’ll catch the bus to the parking lot talking about the great music we just heard, and we’ll all be home no later than 11:00pm.  A perfect night!

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Here’s what really happened:

Dinner was great, but we made the mistake of telling our young waitress that we were on our way to a Three Dog Night concert.  “Oh, I’ve never heard of them” she said sweetly. Our first feeling old moment.

Although we were “sure” that we had timed our entrance to the concert perfectly, we were directed to the furthest lot where we parked and got on a bus to take us to the stage area. During the 20 minute ride, we began to discuss skipping the encore so that we could get out of there more quickly. Our second feeling old moment.

Walking to the concert from the bus, we all had to go to the bathroom even though we had recently used the facilities at the restaurant. Of course, the restrooms were about a mile away in the opposite direction from our seats. Nothing closer, we asked?  Our third feeling old moment.

The weather forecast called for a chilly night. Although the temperature never dropped below 75, we were prepared with long pants, jackets, scarves and gloves packed in shoulder bags. All around us, younger women wore cute sleeveless tops and long flowing skirts and young guys wore shorts. Our fourth feeling old moment.

Although there were many people in long lines buying drinks, we had had our drink at the restaurant so it was bottled water for us. Yes, bottled water at a rock concert. Our fifth feeling old moment.

And… then it happened.  There was an opening act, a southern rock and roll band. They began playing. Actually, they began screaming. In the sixth row, the sound was overpowering.  Three of us quickly stuffed plugs in our ears (Ray refused to look quite that old). The music was still loud, and now totally distorted.

We lasted in our seats about 30 minutes and then walked to the back of the venue, behind all of the reserved seats, to stand with people who had paid less than half what we paid for our tickets and who seemed to be there primarily to drink beer and talk.

We knew only one of the songs these opening act guys sang … but they sang for a full hour and a half. We impatiently waited for them to stop (three encores) and when they did the roadies began a 30 minute stage re-set.  We realized that the earliest that Three Dog Night would begin to play was 10:45. We quickly calculated that we wouldn’t be home until well after midnight. And, we all had to go to the bathroom again.

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That’s when we looked at each other and had our final, ultimate feeling old moment. Want to leave?

That’s right, we left BEFORE THREE DOG NIGHT PERFORMED!

We were the only ones on the bus riding back to the parking lot, which was a good thing since our ears were ringing. Once in the car, we found a fast route to the exit and were home by 10:45 … about the time Three Dog Night was beginning its set.

We learned some lessons that night:

1.) Two rock bands means a very long concert night for older music fans.

2.) Sitting up front at a rock concert is for younger people.

3.) Mentioning a 70’s band to a young waitress is not something you should do if you want to feel good about yourself.

And….

4.) Getting a good night’s sleep is at least some consolation for missing a concert.

 

Cathy Green

 

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