turning 60

Reflections on Turning 66

I celebrated my birthday last week.

I enjoyed the presents from my husband, the birthday wishes from friends and business colleagues, and the great food and wine at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. I’ve always liked the special attention I get on my birthday and shamelessly promote it, even posting this photo on Facebook.

Enjoying my birthday Cosmo

Enjoying my birthday Cosmo

But this birthday freaked me out a little. It struck me that 66 years of age is now closer to 70 than 60, and the thought of being a 70-year-old is scary.

The good news is that I know a lot of women and men in their 70’s (both friends and public figures) who are vital, sharp, attractive and happy. I also know people in their 70’s, however, who spend a lot of time unwell or unhappy or both.

01

Since I definitely want to be among the former types of 70-year-olds, I started thinking about what I’ll need to do in the next few years as I sneak up on that big number.

First, I know I’ll need to stay active. I don’t like to exercise. Never have. Never will. But I have worked out in a gym twice a week for years, pushing myself to lift those weights, do those squats and get on and off benches and floors. A personal trainer once told me that “making friends with the floor” is one of the mantras that older people should adopt in order to be able to handle falls in later life. Sigh!

I also walk most days, a task made easier because my labradoodle won’t have it any other way. (Maybe dogs are the answer to keeping us in shape?)

02

I will need to do whatever I can to stay healthy. Although there’s no way to guarantee it, I’ve had enough experience with my own health and the health of people close to me to understand that a combination of eating well, having annual check-ups and staying aware of my own body’s signals can make a big difference.

03

I will need to stay closely connected with the right friends and important family members. Superficial relationships are OK once in awhile, but the key is being with people who are positive, curious, caring and involved in enjoying life. They are the ones who will help keep me positive, curious, caring and involved.

I will need to continue to live in a place that makes me happy. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to live in three places and in three homes that I truly loved. Now, at 66, I enjoy living in the mountains in a home that makes me smile. I also enjoy Asheville and will need to continue taking advantage of what it has to offer.

This is my favorite artist’s painting of Asheville. Jeff Pittman

This is my favorite artist’s painting of Asheville. Jeff Pittman

I will keep caring about looking good. Not obsessively — no multiple plastic surgeries, for example. But I’ll use good skin cream, I’ll dress up to go out to dinner, I’ll spend more money than I should to get a good hair cut and color, I’ll continue to have my nails done every couple of weeks, and I’ll occasionally buy a new pair of black pants (what else!) or a new handbag and shoes.

I’ll continue to write, although maybe not this blog.  Patty and I started the blog site when we both turned 60. She asked me the other day whether I thought we would be up for writing “Sensational Over 70” blogs. I’m not sure. But writing is something I’ve always enjoyed. It keeps me thinking and it just makes me feel good, so in some way or another, I’ll keep doing it.

Lastly, I’ll continue to make it my number one priority to enjoy being with Ray. I know I’m lucky to be able to be growing older with the love of my life.

And, even better, he’s already 70 and doesn’t seem to care that I’ll be joining him soon.  He even told me I looked beautiful on my birthday.

He’s a keeper, right?

Cathy Green

September 2016

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.

older-woman-lifting-glasses-to-read-paperwork-shocked_573x300

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!

happy-birthday-cake-design

  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

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.

60-sassy-cake.jpg

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.

dont-be-at-war-with-yourself-329.jpg

  • 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.

rightfriends[1].jpg

 

 

  • 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.

practical-spirituality-1.jpg

 

  • 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.

60-Quotes-Dickinson[1].png

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

 

 

 

Why Women Over 60 Are Not Just “Over 50”

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

Scuba-diving

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

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

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

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

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

%d bloggers like this: