TURNING 60

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Oliver and Henry wonder, “What’s all this fuss about turning 60?”

 

I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been doing fine all year. Had a great summer, with many activities and whatnot filling up my “dance card.” Busy, busy, busy. That’s me all over.

Then September hit and lo and behold I’m in panic mode.  Why? Because the countdown has begun.

September is:

  • Back to school
  • Harvest—red apples and the start of pumpkin season
  • Autumn Leaves turning red and gold
  • My birthday

Yes, my birthday. If there’s one thing I used to love and look forward to as a child, but now wish would go away, it’s my birthday. After all, you reach a certain age and the last thing you need is a reminder that the clock is ticking and you’ve gotten a whole year older. I’m not too fond of New Year’s Eve, either. If you ask me, any celebration of our impending doom is for the birds.

I mean, just yesterday I was spinning a hula-hoop around my waist, playing jacks with my friends and pushing my dolls in a baby carriage up and down 78th Avenue in Flushing, Queens.

And just yesterday I was graduating from college and starting my career. Two shakes later, I was married with children and, yada yada yada, just as quickly, I was filing for divorce.

So with this upcoming birthday being a BIG ONE, I decided to ask some friends how they feel about the big 6-0.

Monica’s Tangled Web (MTW): What advice do you have for someone dreading this decade?

Pat: I don’t feel or look any different than I did when I was 59, and you won’t, either.  Don’t let society’s lamentable (and just plain stupid) tendency to judge people by their age define you. You are NOT your age; you’re way more than just a number.

Lynn: There’s another component to “dread” and that’s regret about things not accomplished. It’s an irrational fear, though. There’s ALWAYS going to be stuff left undone. Personally, I thought we’d be hanging out on Mars by now and seriously, I would like to go there, but at this rate I’ll have to settle for Australia. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Better to think about what WAS done and what WILL BE done and leave the modal auxiliaries out of it.

All dressed up and nowhere to go. That's me, second from right, celebrating my birthday, circa 1960.

The birthday party girls: That’s me, second from right, back when celebrating birthdays was fun and uber stylish. Circa 1960.

 

 

Pam: I think of all the discrimination there is in the world, ageism is probably the most prevalent. Use it to your advantage. By carefully cultivating the appearance of being absent-minded and technologically challenged, it’s amazing how much I can get others to do at work (for me)–-you know, the “Here, let-me-do-it” types. And finally, anything I’ve said about 60 would all go down the drain if I didn’t have my health – so stay healthy in mind and body! This means you, Miss Zumba Gold!

Mandy: Appreciate!  Don’t take any one or anything for granted!  Enjoy!

MTW: What are you most looking forward to about this decade?

Pat: Becoming a published novelist. Writing is something I’ve always loved, and in my late 50s I started writing a trilogy of novels, and I’ve discovered that I’m never happier than when I’m writing–spinning characters and settings and situations. I think my fiction-writing style is markedly better now than it was when I was younger–age and experience do have their advantages!  Something exciting to aim for in my 60s!

Pam: Two words: senior discounts. I make my car dealership give me one, even though they don’t have a program. Which kind of relates to the really best thing (about your 60s): a big change in perspective. Not caring what people think anymore and dropping a lot of fears. Happiness level increases. A lot.

Lynn: The 60s are when the choices we made in the past either bear fruit or catch up with us. Since I’m fine with most of my choices, I’m looking forward to the types of transitions that are ahead–mainly, retirement…renovating and redecorating my retirement house; having my husband around more but not too much; my sons moving out of their 20s and into their 30s; grandchildren; reading every Thomas Hardy novel and some of his poetry; seeing the Mississippi River; and opening a small pro bono family law practice.

Mandy:  Having recently retired (sort of), I am looking forward to a new stage of life–one in which I focus more on myself, taking care of myself, enjoying myself and appreciating my life.

MTW: Any regrets?  If you could do anything over, what would it be?

Mandy: I might have gotten out of an unhealthy marriage sooner, but otherwise no real regrets.

Pat: Honestly, I would avoid (like the plague!) some of the men I became involved with. When you’re in your 20s and 30s, you tend to make choices that you wouldn’t make given just a little more experience and a little more accumulated life wisdom. I look back on some of those relationships now and wonder what the heck I was thinking.

MTW: What does 60 mean to you?

Mandy: I have about a year and a half to go but am definitely not looking forward to my 60th birthday.  I had a very hard time with my 50th as well.

Pam: It’s when you get comfortable in your own skin, and become reconciled to being invisible, especially if you’re a woman, and start to enjoy it. I maintain that I could get away with murder—not embezzlement, because middle-aged women are always the prime suspects there– but definitely murder. It gives you a sense of empowerment and inner serenity….

Well, dear readers, there you have it. My friends have spoken and somehow I’m feeling better already.

So, how about you? How are you liking the decade you’re in?

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32 thoughts on “TURNING 60

    • Thanks, Renee! And Happy Birthday to you, too! My celebrating just went into high gear, with the arrival of my daughter and that now I get to hang out with both my kids. Couldn’t be better!

  1. This week I ordered a magnificent Maleficent costume for Halloween, complete with headdress, lighted staff, and long flowing gown. Why? Because life is going by and Monica “made me do it” with yet another super blog that made me take stock and say to myself, hey, why not? Life is going by and you can have fun and live life to the hilt whatever age you are, and like so many others of you, I, too, feel as young as I did in my 20s. The older you get, the more you discover unwelcome truths such as old friends — including old boyfriends, have passed away and it’s so sad to take in, but while we are here, we can appreciate every day. So, happy birthday, Monica, I hope you’re still celebrating!

  2. Those ‘marker’ birthdays do have us in their grip — reflecting, celebrating, etc. I made a point of partying for my 29th, 39th, 49th so that the following year would be no big deal. Then came 60, and I asked a group of close friends to celebrate by cooking a meal at my house. Of course, 64 (what with the Beatles running through my head) was more celebration-worthy than 65 (even if it did bring Medicare into the mix). All of which is to say, yes, it seems like yesterday I was hula-hooping, too. And here we are, letting our words dance and sing and remind us that, if we’re lucky, graceful aging brings a certain wisdom, and freedom to be who we really are. Here’s wishing you a very wonderful birthday, Monica.

    • Thank you, Deborah! The dreaded marker birthdays. The cause of much angst. I remember the first time I felt that angst. It was when I turned 15! Can you believe it? I cried all night as I knew it meant the end of my childhood. There was no turning back! 😉

  3. No wonder I like you so much! My birthday is this coming Saturday, I have been kinda dreading it, but then decided what the hell lets have a party.

    Happy Birthday Monica and so so what, 60! What a fabulous Birthday. You look wonderful. You are having a wonderful life.

    • Your birthday is just four days before mine! September is a great month for birthdays, if you ask me. I used to call myself Miss Autumn on account my day also happens to be the first day of fall and for some reason, as a kid, I thought that was very special indeed. 🙂

  4. So, the birthdays are getting on your nerves too, huh…Well, you look as fresh as a ripe tomato. Everybody can’t rightly say that. Enjoy your birthday anyhow. Moon somebody. Run down the street bare-chested. When it’s dark though. I wouldn’t want you jeopardizing your reputation so openly.

    • Wow, Totsy, no one’s ever compared me to ripe tomato. A sour grapefruit, yes, but your comparison is quite poetic, so thank you. Love your idea of good birthday celebration. If I run down the street bare-chested it’ll be at 3 am, and I’ll be wearing a sweater over my, ahem, birthday suit, thank you very much!

    • You’re right behind me? Can’t be! And here I thought I was the only one this old in the blogosphere! Well, allow me to pave the way and guide you through what promises to be a very interesting decade! And an early Happy Birthday to you, too!

  5. No way you look anywhere near 60, Monica. It’s just a number to make us feel like we need to do what is appropriate for that decade. You are as young as you call it. I say live it up, a couple of margaritas, some dancing, -enjoy this birthday month. I will celebrate with you. In fact take the whole year to celebrate – you deserve it. New Year’s Eve is highly overrated. I’m not a big fan. Oh and I love that Pam has found ways to take advantage of um, turning 60. I had such a giggle.
    Thank you for that cute photo. I always like seeing your children, especially that look of indifference on Henry’s face. Made my day.

    • Thanks MM. I so appreciate your thoughtful words. The thing is, the sixties decade have meaning for me. My grandmother died when she was 67, and my mother died when she was 69. It’s hard not to think of your own mortality when faced with these numbers. But I will try. My daughter will be here in a few days and she and my son are going to help me celebrate my birthday in style. We have big plans, indeed! Meeting you in person is on my bucket list, I’ll have you know!

  6. Cher in “Moonlight:” (smack!) Get over it! 60 is the new 40, silly girl. The 60s totally rock. I demanded a big party be thrown for me and required everyone to wear black tie formal. It was a blast. Embrace it. If you have your health, life just keeps getting better! Personally, I plan to be Betty White! 🙂

    • I love your theme of black tie formal. Clever, indeed. And I absolutely adore Betty White or Sue Ann Nivens. What a hoot or a lady. There’d be no better honor than to grow up to be like her. 😉

      And yes, I AM snapping out of it. Thanks for the slap in the face, and a nice homage to one of cinema’s best moment!

  7. Next month is my 60th. When I think about it, I realize how fast the 50’s got away so I am going to do my best to appreciate right now! I am the one who plans my friend’s birthday celebrations and this summer I haven’t seen any of them. It makes me take stock of who is REALLY a friend and who are merely in my life out of habit. Happy Birthday to Us!

    • Indeed, Happy Birthday, MaryLisa. Let’s count our blessings and be happy we’re alive to celebrate this milestone. And isn’t it good to know who your friends are, and who you can count on in times of need? The true ones always rise to the occasion. 🙂

  8. Ah, Happy Birthday month, Monica!! You should celebrate ALL month long, you know (too many folks never will have another birthday to celebrate, and too many others have nothing in their lives TO celebrate!).

    I think it’s always hard when we see time passing. Personally, I recall turning 35 and finding that milestone VERY difficult. Aren’t we the very kids who used to brag, I’m nine-and-a-half?!!

    What is it they say? Age is merely a number. You’re always going to find people younger than you, and you’re always going to find people older than you. Take each day as the gift it’s meant to be. Have dessert first once in a while. Treat yourself to a day off now and then. Let your loving personality shine forth. Can you think of a better time for turning 60 (I mean, who’d have wanted to hang around for 60 years during the height of the Black Plague or something??!)

    • You said a mouthful, Debbie. There’s no way I’d want to be alive during the time of the Plague, or the Inquisition. Forget the Dark Ages or the Depression. Nope. None of those ages for me.
      Sure things could be better. But they also could be A LOT WORSE!

  9. Happy birthday, it is just a number, you are as young or as old as you feel. By following you on FB and reading your blog I have a felling your are in your 40s 🙂

  10. Embrace your age, as you’ll never be 60 again. Just think how lucky you are to have made it to 60 and still live to tell the story. You have plenty to celebrate and be proud of. 60 is an achievement, it is a life lived. You have a history, you have an inner spark that breathes life. Yes. You and many others that have reached 60, are blessed, are towers of strength and hope for those yet to get there. Breathe in and celebrate it!
    Happy birthday!

  11. Hello Monica.

    Like you I am 60 this year, but you have aged better looking at pictures!!

    Not really bothered about the milestone really except that the Government have put up the age I get my free bus pass. It used to be 60 now I get it at 67, which is now also the age I get my pension at.

    The only thing I will get when I reach 60 is free prescriptions. Thats it!!!

    Not that I was looking at riding the bus around the city from 9.30am to 11.30pm every day but it would be nice to have the option.

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