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.
- 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.
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?