fabulousover60

Create Your Right Goals – And Leave Others To Pick Theirs!

One of my compulsive habits I am attempting to modify is list and goal writing. I always have goals for any day, week or month. This habit works well for me. I have spent quite a bit of time over the holidays evaluating the year just passed and setting up goals for the next year. If you read the two blog posts I wrote about changing the concept of what it means to be FabulousOver60, you won’t be surprised I did not spend nearly as much time reviewing 2017 and carefully crafting goals for 2018. Yes to goals, no to too much analysis and perfecting the way goals are phrased.

Here are my 2018 resolutions.

  • Worry less.
  • Get the most important 2 or 3 things done everyday.
  • Confirm those important things to do early each day – then meditate.
  • Have lots of fun whenever possible.

The last few years had me worrying excessively. Some recall that I had moments when perhaps I was not an actual lunatic, but I was damn close. Results of my excess worry were clear: I felt depressed, unable to get my own priorities met – while nothing of what I was worrying about changed. I couldn’t meditate as well or sometimes at all. I definitively had less fun – how can you have fun when you are nervous and worrying?

As a life coach I know one really simple way to judge our own actions. It is to evaluate exactly what happened as a result of our actions. What happened? How did others, if relevant, respond? What improved or did not? The answers indicate our effectiveness. Tough as it sometimes is, accepting that data with ease knowing I am not perfect and then adjusting seriously improves action. When I evaluated my worrying it was clear the results were bad – it had to go. And having dozens of goals next wasn’t going to work either.

For FabulousOver60 women, anytime before the Ides of March (and I am betting over 60 fabulous women are among the few that recall what the Ides of March is) is a great time to create your own FEW goals. This makes sense to me. By the end of March it is useful to have a focus on what is going to make you feel right, be happy, and do good this year. If it’s April, and you haven’t yet got a focus and some new goals, don’t worry.

Just decide that your new and likely temporary focus is “just being and doing what you are” – knowing if something critical arises and needs your pressing attention – you’ll be on it and know exactly the goals you need to achieve. I guess setting goals for FabulousOver60 women is a bit like riding a bike or a horse – the “how to” comes back to you if and when you need it to. Certainly we now know things WILL arise needing our intense focus and yes, goals to be set. For us that may be a surprising new work or volunteer opportunity or an unexpected death of a friend or spouse that requires lots of new ways of operating in the world.

On the other hand, I think the #metoo movement is one that definitely needs goals both personally and organizationally. We did lead the way professionally making sure people “got” that women really CAN do and excel at jobs they were previously thought not to be able too –  that didn’t leave us enough time to set goals aimed at ending harassment too. Glad women with a lot more energy and recent experience are doing a terrific job finally dealing with a pattern as old as dirt. And while it just seems ridiculous to most of us to share our me too stories – since we think what happened in 1972 or 1985 typically should remain there; we are all behind young women leaders who are setting their goals to end or at the least drastically slow down harassment and discrimination. There are always things to accomplish. We are fabulous enough now to know which ones have our names on it and which don’t.

Patty

Part 2: More About Changing Our Definition of Fabulous

Last week we published part one of a blog post about the changing nature of being fabulous – this week we complete it by focusing on more about the meaning of fabulous now.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  And fabulous is all about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Being Fabulous, Part 2:

Random shopping has stopped being fun.  But we seem to have found just those few boutiques or online spots that have sales on just exactly what we feel is perfect and fabulous.  Few, if anyone, seem to care about looking good anyplace or at special events. So our black pants and nice top could take us to the opera or the hottest restaurant in any town and to someone’s graduation party.  True, BUT, we evolved here too. We created our new definition of fabulous as dressing as well and as we want, still choosing to look extra special more than once a year, and if we are the only one in a restaurant or at the party with a dress or heels or pulled-together look (don’t we all agree that many people of any age appear to use their laundry basket as a closet?) we don’t care.  We dress for ourselves and any audience we care about, we dress up when and if we want to and define our feeling appropriate as being fabulous.

Heavy meals started hurting our stomachs.  Nature wasn’t pretty if we ate, drank or didn’t sleep enough, so we sleep more if we can and just stopped ordering the cheese plate — but kept going out. We don’t go on and on about our food issues — fabulous now looks at the menu, makes the calculation of what works and doesn’t and orders without announcement.

Friendships have become challenging in tangible ways: friends, family and those close to them have serious health problems, not hangovers, and people close to us die.  We’ve learned how to mourn more deeply without falling apart or making the loss about ourselves.  We pray or sit silently more often, sending prayers or caring vibrations to others. And share our sympathy with more confidence not because we are getting great at demonstrating sympathy, but because we now know with absolute certainty that the most important thing is demonstrating we care, not doing some “appropriate” thing. We’ve really gotten the boundaries message and keep them even when faced with heart-wrenching personal loss times for us, or our friends. We handle ourselves keeping the focus on those who hurt at the time.  And we work to avoid dragging ourselves into a tailspin of upset over anything we can’t control (yes, most things).

One thing we haven’t given ourselves enough credit for was how we as a generation became, and are still, continuous learners. 

And that is now the core of being fabulous: we keep learning and experimenting. When we fail we try plan B to Z if we have to. We are not Queen Elizabeth in The Crown (a fabulousover60 favorite), perpetually unamused if not insulted by the relentless changes in the culture. We have come to peace with our parents and are using a different approach to aging and being fabulous.  We are NOT denying we are aging, that time is passing and we are going to die.  I remember death and dying, as well as well as less permanent changes – like moving or writing a will and getting specific about near-death wishes as taboo subjects for our parents.  They kept doing much of the same things they always did and didn’t want to talk much about age-related realities.  We do not blame them or feel anger at them. But we have clearly chosen a different fabulous path that includes facing realities of all sorts – from divorce to death or from being fired to starting a whole new business in our sixties.

Fabulous now is about accepting what is, and building and living in our own able-to-be-penetrated bubble. 

We choose what comes in and out with open eyes and heart and ears. We focus on fewer things, but our important things. We continue to be kind and have come to realize, as have other mature people, that kindness counts more than nearly anything else.  We are back marching and resisting or maybe only paying attention in a limited way — we know ourselves, do what we must and don’t judge others.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us – and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  It’s about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Turning 60 seems eons ago.  I chuckle for not realizing that everything changes – including our definitions of being fabulous.  We’re still smart, savvy and sophisticated, but our hearts are set on being our best individual self, connecting and being a part of a group when it is the right time and place. It’s also enjoying that group time, giving ourselves and everyone else a break. It is letting our light and our scent, our essence – which is individual and precious – be felt in the world.

A friend from the early 70s once told me that I was like great perfume, leaving a lovely scent behind when I left — I was touched and a bit overwhelmed.  And I remembered it, always trying in my own way to live up to the challenge of leaving “a lovely scent” behind.  Cathy and I have chosen to let FabulousOver60 now be associated with multiple beautiful perfume bottles (in our new cover photo on Facebook) — each representing one and all of us FabulousOver60 women.  We’re each unique, and we’re shining our lights and leaving a warmth and scent behind us everywhere we go.  Think that says it all.

Patty

The Meaning of Being FabulousOver60 Has Changed!!

Fabulous now is about accepting what is, and building and living in our own able-to-be-penetrated bubble.  We choose what comes in and out with open eyes and heart and ears, we focus on fewer things, but our important things, we continue to be kind and have come to realize as have other mature people that kindness counts more than nearly anything else.  We are back marching and resisting or maybe only paying attention in a limited way — we know ourselves, do what we must and don’t judge others.  

We are posting this blog in two parts. Part one focuses on “then” which is the time we started FabulousOver60.com around 2010 at the beginning of our sixties.

Next week we will post part two – which shares all the experiences that led to our changing conception of being fabulous and how we went from the visual on our Facebook page being a lily to our visual now being a group of special perfume bottles. Love to have your thoughts and reactions.

Part One:

I turned 68 on January 20th.  In the years that Cathy and I have been writing FabulousOver60 we have shared our evolving challenges and attempted solutions in regards to family, friends, work, health, volunteering, culture, beauty, serenity, spirituality, vacations, homes, and moving — nearly everything except politics (a conscious decision).  We have heard from many of you who have supported our efforts at being positive, funny, and openly sharing our own foibles and not-quite-perfect efforts to avoid losing our fabulousness.  We were pretty sure we knew much of what was ahead back in 2010 — the issue for us as we began living those years was worrying about how we would handle the realities of being 60-something and not get pushed off a high ridge into “un”-fabulousness.

Our original fabulous model was a nearly ageless women still caring about her outside self as much as her heart and mind.  Fabulous was carrying on as we had in our 50s but at a slightly more leisurely pace.  We stood by the concept of women multitasking — yes we thought one should know how and actually do as many of the following as possible, preferably at the same time: look totally awesome and put together; prepare food, cook & serve it; keep all things in neat and orderly; work at something to earn money or earn respect that is clearly worth doing and yet fits into a semi-retired lifestyle (being created); work on our lives seeking out new/interesting roles; stay current on world and national events; keep weight stable and exercise frequently since of course we’ll have more time for things like tennis or golf or hiking; have great relationships; and volunteer as frequently as possible to save the world in a meaningful way.

Our definition also suggested we avoid acting or being old as much as possible — skip those early dinners and pre-set routines that we found so annoying in our parents.  When faced with a challenge take it full on, using skills from our earlier life and act confident and calm, but keep going.  Stay a bit edgy, have a great sense of humor and of course be a kind, decent human being.  Oh and be ready to share your wisdom and charm that certainly some, if not many, younger people will find interesting and useful.  I know you are laughing at this last sentence. Talk about a false assumption!!

As our 60s unfolded we began to take in some new information and real-world experiences.  “Doing it all” and “having it all” were on shaky ground to begin with and we learned first hand they are completely outdated for good reasons.  We tossed those out. Our energy wasn’t up to what we often thought it should be to stay fabulous. We became okay with that.  Fabulous can apply to only certain times. One or two or three things a day started making more sense than a fully scheduled day – even if the schedule took place at a spa.  Am okay with that too. Standards around our eternal touch stones continued to erode: forget thank you notes, people didn’t RSVP for weddings!  We made adjustments and practiced forgiveness.  We lowered our expectations of others but kept some selected high expectations of ourselves because they defined us in ways WE think are fabulous.

And yes, there is more.  See part two next week.

Patty

A NON-Partisan Take on What We All Learned from the Debate

As you know by now, Cathy and I do not get into politics on FabulousOver60.  We think there are places for that from the local diner to the internet; or from your own Facebook page to zillions of obscure or heavily-trafficked sites.  I bet if you have read our blog for a while you can guess by now that Cathy leans center right, and I lean center all the way to the left, but it doesn’t matter.  “Fabulous”, as we describe it, is not political – so welcome all. Even if you don’t care about this election, hate everyone running, or planning to vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

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Here are the truths barring repeating and the implication for us fabulous women:

1. People don’t change without TONS of effort and work.  Even with extensive work, practice, and a sincere effort to change, it is extremely challenging. 

If you missed the book The Power of Habit – it is time to read it.  If you have read it, just do a quick re-read.

IMPLICATION: Give yourself a break that you haven’t lost that 10 lbs., quit drinking, gone back to more frequent religious services or trying to keep your voice down (one of my continuing but often failed improvement strategies).

2. Sometimes you can’t help yourself – somebody just pushes your buttons.

IMPLICATION:  Do you even know your buttons?  Any fabulous woman should know them cold.  And, before any interactions with potential “button pushers” remind yourself not only not to respond, but plan ahead to avoid tension.  Example: Dinner with your cousin John, the sincere but over the edge supporter of the natural look (he’s a mess and he loves that his wife has gone gray)?? Wear something you consider “the most boring thing in your closet” and do not color your roots.

3. Lying is natural.  But consider the topic.

*We are told roughly around 200 lies per day. *On average, we lie 3 times per every 10 mins of conversation, 60% have a hard time without lying at least once. Most lies are harmless white lies like “nice haircut” or “yeah, all is good!”

IMPLICATION: It is OK to do what I did: to tell my mother, who was suffering from dementia in 1998, that my wedding was in a Catholic Church and Bill had gone to Rome to talk to the Pope and had gotten an annulment.  It is not OK to say tell people stray gossip that is hurtful and vicious.  It is OK to say, for example, “you look awesome”.  It is not OK to say your cancer is ‘“all in your head” and you need to buy supplements from me’. There are lies and then there are lies. Use that fabulous head of yours to comply with “telling the truth” that matters.

4. Manage your facial expressions and your gaze.

IMPLICATION:  Rolling your eyes as your sister tells you she has so many men calling her she doesn’t know who to choose to take her to the most expensive restaurant in town is fine.  But it is terrible to roll your eyes when your grown daughter, niece or dear friend is sharing that she is considering getting a divorce.  Look people in the eye with compassion, keep yourself composed and skip the “schoolmarm” or “queen bee I am above it all look” when tension is flying.

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5. Finally, be smart. Drop topics you don’t want to get into and rise above the nonsense.

IMPLICATION: Being smart in all senses of that word is the essence of being fabulous – along with being kind and “staying on your own yoga mat”.  Avoid or drop subjects of deep division with those you love and those you need to pretend you love. Stand for peace – with or without a sign. Be the model for sophisticated ease and grace.

If you are like us, you are counting the days till November 8th and not because you are worried you will miss the minute by minute polling. But not using this unique opportunity in this contentious election cycle not to brush up on being fabulous would be a big mistake. Thank God no one will be discussing that mistake in a round table of experts later this week, or weeks to come. Oh, but do vote.

Patty Gill Webber

Do We Still Need “Best” Friends?

Friendship has been a cornerstone of my life since the earliest days.  In 1953, at age 3, I met my best friend Michelle at a half way point (a large rock) between our suburban homes which were 4 houses apart.  At that stage I somehow knew that life without her wasn’t as much fun, and we both understood we could share anything and everything and it was just between us.  Our friendship did not survive forever – though a few years ago we connected by phone and tried to “catch up”. It was a great call, but Michelle no longer is the only one I want to be with.  And that is OK.  She was an awesome “best friend” as a little kid.

In 8th grade, I met Joan at a “Math Fair” at a college connected to the private high school we were set to attend together come 9th grade.  Not sure why, but we just “clicked” and became lasting and incredibly joined at the hips best friends who shared and grew up together as teens, figured out being smart together, how to be  good people, how to share and explore feelings, and also how to be grown up career girls as soon as we could.  Many wondered at our closeness — I was an outgoing and bold girl, Joan was quiet, introverted and rather risk adverse.  But we became BFs and explored so much of life together before we were nearly middle-aged and drifted apart as our life choices and life experiences pulled us in different directions and locations.  Am planning to see Joan next year at our mutual 50th high school reunion next year – we will hug and always know we shared a unique special bond.  She really was an awesome best friend when I needed one.

Teen best friends

Teen best friends

As a 34-year-old single working woman, I met Alayne when I moved to a small town near NYC and went about growing my work expertise and expanding my business. We lived in the same apartment building on the same floor – she, newly broken up with a long-term boyfriend and was working successfully — me into my career with a complicated love life.  In any case, we spent lots of time together and bonded as special and yes “best” friends.  We both were at a place in our lives that made  “hanging out together” and constantly sharing and talking the easiest and simplest—and yes, best way, to handle our lifestyles and pressing life issues.  Alayne was in my wedding in 1998 and a few years later literally dropped out of my life – she moved, I tried unsuccessfully to stay in touch with her, but she clearly wanted or needed to disappear.  I was extremely sad over this loss, but again treasured the times we had as “besties”.

My “best friends” Michelle, Joan and Alayne played important roles in my life.  They were part of who shaped me and part of how I became pre-fabulous.  The importance and enduring memories of our times together will always be a source of big smiles and a tug to my heart.  But now, as a fabulous over 60 woman, you may have found, as I have, that the concept of a “best friend” isn’t really relevant anymore.  Friends are more essential than ever, critical to our lives and our health, but defining one person or several as “best friends” seems somehow not just old- fashioned but childish and diminutive.  Being best friends was all about exclusion and needing absolute acceptance and reinforcement of ourselves as we were developing but hardly yet independent. Now, as interdependent older women, we need intimacy, support, and closeness – but we no longer need or want relationships that exclude others nor find it useful or beneficial to have friends who can’t disagree with us.

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Patty and Cathy

Friendship is a MUCH BIGGER concept to me than it used to be.  Friendships now include a variety of relationships – each unique and special and necessary, but not filled with nagging or long-practiced obligations.  I now recognize that every friendship forms and evolves – some last, others do not.  The reasons these friendships last or not are endless but ultimately unimportant.  We have wonderful friends in our lives at this stage because we want to.  We actively choose these special people to spend our shrinking and valuable time with.  We “release” those who are no longer a fit as friends, just wishing them well on their life journey. Sometimes a “friend” is a new person we just feel compelled to know and “be with” and we make it happen.

Patty with friends

Patty with friends

FabulousOver60 women have learned to comfort ourselves. We still need support and comfort from those we love, but we don’t need to be rescued.  Great friendship expands us now.  It helps us be smarter and better people.  The relationships are fun, supportive, and respectful of our own lives and needs – as well as supportive of our friends’ lives too.  We don’t ask our friends to be our mother, shrink, or solvers of problems and challenges that are our own responsibility.  We ask for advice from some, we avoid asking others.

We listen carefully to our friends.  We “read” when they need us and get ourselves THERE — and we know how to allow our friends the space and privacy they need till ready to share.  Our friends are those who accept us as we are.  We, in turn, accept them as they are.  No one is likely our ‘bestie’ anymore – we know all the great friendships we have are the surest way out there to add joy, peace, calm, insight, support and laughs to our lives.

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I am always saying “less is more” in Fabulous blog posts — let me take that back when it comes to friends.

Patty

 

 

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

Obituaries As History Lessons

I am likely not the only fabulousover60 woman who faithfully reads (online or off) obituaries in their local or favorite national newspaper.

No, I did not do this under 50 – maybe not even under 55 or 60 – but at this point, at 65, I do read them. While what could be argued to be somewhat obvious — the older one is the more ‘death is a reality’ rather than something old people do. For me it isn’t so much morbid curiosity (so how did this person die?) as much as considering others’ lives as a whole and considering what (if anything) would be said about me if I died.

Many of us super competitive boomers are, if nothing else, curious how others “did” versus ourselves in the overall game or journey of life. Did I contribute as much to my field? Was I as philanthropic? What about my famous recipe that hundreds adored every holiday? Will I be missed by a large number of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren? Or anyone in particular?

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When reading the New York Times, whose obituaries are often terrific history lessons, I gravitate to people in my own professional field such as the two from 2014 noted below.

Warren G. Bennis, an eminent scholar and author who advised presidents and business executives on his academic specialty, the essence of successful leadership — a commodity he found in short supply in recent decades — died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 89.”

I read his books, heard him speak, and used his expertise to help my own. Warren was an un-introduced to mentor of mine.

Lillian B. Rubin, a sociologist and psychotherapist who wrote a series of popular books about the crippling effects of gender and class norms on human potential, died June 17 at her home in San Francisco. She was 90.”

Dying in California clearly ups your chances of making the NY Times. That or it shows that smart people retire to great weather and blue states as they age.

Dr. Rubin used qualitative research — interviewing people – hundreds of them in some cases — to write her many books on aspects of adult development. In her later years she wrote often for the online journal Salon on issues of culture, politics and sometimes, but rarely, about the realities of aging. “Sixty is not the new forty” she wrote. Fabulous absolutely agrees with that point and has said so repeatedly.

*Speaking of death and dying, Cathy called to my attention obituaries’ (local ones) use of odd euphemisms to mean death. Here are some favorites: “ended her battle with cancer”, “entered heaven’s gates”, “peacefully passed”, “went to be the Lord”, “went to her rest” and Cathy’s favorite – “earned her wings”. That line was of course borrowed from It’s A Wonderful Life, the 1946 movie that encouraged people to think of being a good person before one’s death so you could “earn one’s wings” rather than just pass away (that is, die) when the time came.

Its a wonderful life

Mostly though, obituaries remind me of the very limited ways we are truly remembered. Even when famous it is nearly impossible to get more than a column or two. We have to make sure if there is only one thing to say about us, we plan our lives to make that one thing clear. Or maybe not. Actually, I really like something else about Lillian Rubin. She wrote at age 88 that she had mixed feelings about living at that age, and dying too. “Ambivalence reigns”, she wrote, “in death as in life.” Yes, Dr. it does.

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