Wondering What Sixty Is, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:10am Central Time


I’ve had the occasion these past few days to see old friends.

As I’ve told them, I’m researching. They both had their 60th birthdays earlier this year, and I want to benchmark our age. I find myself asking them all kinds of questions. “What is your dream of the future? In that future where will you live?” “Are you ready for grandchildren?” “What is the hardest thing you have gone through to date? Do any effects linger?” “Do you have beauty secrets?” “How about Botox or injectables?” “What percentage of your day is spent content? How much disturbed, or blissful?” “Do you get tired more easily these days?”

We discuss lady clothes, and what to wear to a tea. I simply want to know, what ought I to expect of myself? To understand myself in context, and to understand them more fully, in the short time we’re spending together. One of the good things about old friends is that they aren’t surprised by your personality.

Maybe I should ask you guys the same questions. How about now?

That was a little abrupt. But, again, old friends aren’t surprised. I am interested in your answers – at your age – if you are so inclined. I think we have millions of resources on the stages of a child’s life, and very few on the ways adults age.

Have a good weekend everyone.

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49 Comments

  • 10/29/16
    6:56 am

    Reply

    Jeanette said...

    I also reached 60 this year and have experienced many of the typical milestones that come with it. My red headed daughter married, husband retired, sold our home of 30 years, and still adjusting to my dad’s painful decline and death and mom’s increased needs. I still work full time. Happened to have dinner with five childhood friends this week, all still working. Although we’re as vain as anybody, beauty secrets didn’t come up. We’re all navigating future health care costs, retirement readiness, elderly parents, kids’ weddings and our own housing decisions. Marveling at how quickly time goes by, and how we ever managed when our kids were young. We’ve all had challenges, be it a disabled child, cancer, untimely death of sibling, parents with dementia. I think we delude ourselves in the expectation that the big challenges are behind us. When we gather next month I plan to broach your other questions!

    10/30/16
    6:58 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jeanette, “I think we delude ourselves in the expectation that the big challenges are behind us.” I think so. And I hope your friends enjoy the process of answering questions. It is quite lovely that you still have five childhood friends.

  • 10/29/16
    7:15 am

    Reply

    Jenn Cross said...

    I’m 34, so I’m not qualified to answer this, but I will say this – I have no fear of aging and growing older. I attribute this to having incredible women all around me who are aging with grace and vigor – my aunt is retired from her professorship of 30 years and now runs a National Honor Society, speaking at conferences all over the country. My mother was a homemaker and went to college at the same time as her youngest child, so she’s been starting her career as some of her friends are ending theirs. And women like you, who are making this process visible, set the example that how we age is for us to decide. 50, 60, 70…these are not numbers to fear but to embrace. So thank you for that.

    10/30/16
    6:59 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jenn Cross, Thank you for your perspective. If women of our age are going to find life to bring its challenges, it feels more abundant to know young women are learning and evolving beyond us.

  • 10/29/16
    7:44 am

    Reply

    Jennifer said...

    I turned 60 this year too. 1956, must have been a stellar year! My husband retired this year and we are contemplating a move to a less expensive place. Beauty secrets? I’m all ears…

    10/30/16
    7:02 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jennifer, Stellar year:). Face oil is the next thing I’m investigating.

  • 10/29/16
    7:56 am

    Reply

    Tricia said...

    I turned 63 a couple of days ago and am looking forward to retiring from my university administrator role next May 31st. My spouse, a year older, will keep working a few more years. I have already been a grandmother for 13 years — best gig ever! I am content most of the time, am told I do not look like I’m in my 60s (due to good genes, not beauty routines – oily skin finally pays off!), and look forward to the flexibility to travel at non-peak times when I retire. We are contemplating a condo in Florida where we have vacationed several times a year to live the next 10-15 years, assuming we can remain healthy and active that long.

    10/30/16
    7:03 am
    Lisa said...

    @Tricia, Sounds wonderful and full.

  • 10/29/16
    8:01 am

    Reply

    Murphy said...

    I turned 60 earlier this year, and it has unsettled me just a bit. My husband is mostly retired, and a lot of my friends are as well, but I am still working full time and hoping to continue that for quite a few years yet. Except… my aging parents and some health issues that have come up for my husband and me make me conscious that I will have to be intentional about getting to do the things I want to in life while I am still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy them. Trying to savor the moment over here, that’s for sure. As for beauty tips – mine are sunscreen, moisturizer, and a favorite lipstick.

    10/30/16
    7:11 am
    Lisa said...

    @Murphy, I too feel a little unsettled, and am looking for balance of what to accomplish and what to simply enjoy in the moment.

  • 10/29/16
    8:02 am

    Reply

    Kathy said...

    I became a grandmother when I was 60 and besides the birth of my own daughter, it’s been the greatest joy I’ve ever had. I’m 64 now, still doing what I’ve always done. Dressing the same as well. My mother’s illness and death has been the hardest thing I’ve had to go through, but I consider myself very fortunate, as that is an expected event if you’re lucky enough to age.
    I don’t like to go out at night as much anymore – I would say that’s the biggest difference I’ve noticed.

    10/30/16
    7:16 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, My friends and I talked about our lack of interest in late nights out too;).

  • 10/29/16
    8:31 am

    Reply

    Gail said...

    I’m going to be 72 the latter part of November. I lost my husband three years ago and find myself still reeling over the loss. He was the love of my life and I seem to have fashioned my life around him, joyfully. I try to stay very active, physically and mentally, because I live alone and the thought of having someone care for me, sends chills.

    10/30/16
    7:23 am
    Lisa said...

    @Gail, Oh I am so sorry. I understand the reluctance to have a caregiver. I will say that this experience with my mother has changed my feelings about going into residential care myself, if it looks like my health and situation requires it. Not that you want to do that, but it does help me to see the prospect as none-dire.

  • 10/29/16
    8:32 am

    Reply

    Frances/Materfamilias said...

    A very worthy project. I’d say I write pretty regularly answering many of those questions on my blog, and I’ve noticed a tendency in my recent comments elsewhere to get rather prolix, so will hold back here.
    But there’s clearly a difference, after 60. It may be that my mother’s death just before, and my father-in-law’s shortly after (followed my family rupture on that side) my 60th bd. amplified what I was feeling. I think, though, that the body senses an undeniable math, however, we might try to push that awareness down. I’m just accepting it, these days, with some grimacing and much curiosity and overall, surprising contentment.

    10/30/16
    7:24 am
    Lisa said...

    @Frances/Materfamilias, You do write about these issues, with great thoughtfulness. How to balance grimacing and curiosity to achieve contentment, this is my current research topic;).

  • 10/29/16
    8:40 am

    Reply

    Ann said...

    For the record, I’m 70, not 60. So there’s that.

    What is your dream of the future?
    The reality is that I will be alone. My beloved husband and soulmate has cancer and has been through chemo/radiation twice. I don’t rehearse for “after.” Instead, I treasure every moment we are together. After he is gone I know I’ll be OK. I even hope to be happy again.

    In that future where will you live?
    You mean before the nursing home? ;) I’ll live in a loft or a small condo in a small city. I don’t know which one yet.

    Are you ready for grandchildren?
    No; I don’t have children. That was by choice. It was the right way for me.

    What is the hardest thing you have gone through to date?
    Thirty-five years ago I recovered slowly after being divorced by someone I now barely believe I was needy enough to marry.

    Do any effects linger?
    Only immense gratitude that the divorce made the rest of my life and a great love possible.

    Do you have beauty secrets?
    I sometimes wash my face, usually brush my teeth, and every day get dressed. I wear makeup maybe twice a week.

    How about Botox or injectables?
    I truly thought I would go that route, but have realized I will always look better as just me.

    What percentage of your day is spent content?
    Post-retirement I’m content at least 70% of the day, disturbed 10% and blissful 10%. The other 10% I’m trying to remember why I came into this room.

    Do you get tired more easily these days?
    Definitely! I used to have two speeds — warp and prone. These days I move just below the speed limit for longer distances.

    I simply want to know, what ought I to expect of myself?
    I hope/expect to observe, listen, reflect, read, write poetry, smell roses, do yoga, sleep, travel more, make my own bed, eat better and less, and be grateful every moment for the amazing privileges I did not earn, but lucked into.

    10/29/16
    9:13 am
    Elizabeth said...

    @Ann, I want to hang with you, you are awesome. Best of luck with your trials

    10/29/16
    9:22 am
    Flo said...

    @Ann, Move over, I’m sitting down w/ y’all too!

    10/29/16
    12:29 pm
    Ann said...

    @Ann,

    Elizabeth and Flo — gosh, thank you! I agree that life is wonderful and even better when shared with friends.

    10/29/16
    1:47 pm
    Marilyn said...

    @Ann, Ditto to everything Ann said. I’m a couple of years behind her, but her comments are a pretty good summary what my friends and I are experiencing in our sixth decade. None of us resemble the “super seniors” the media and youngsters like to view as representatives of our age group, but we’ve learned to adapt, bounce back, and keep our sense of humor about the whole aging thing.

    10/29/16
    5:21 pm
    JB said...

    @Ann, you made me laugh!

    10/30/16
    12:37 am
    Fiona said...

    Oh Ann!

    Your comment not only made me laugh quietly to myself but gave me great hope! I am 34 and heading down the path of divorce myself and although it seems a terrifying and lonely prospect I can’t shake the feeling that my great love is somewhere waiting for me. Perhaps with a sandwich.

    And Lisa, thank you for your amazing blog that I have been reading for at least the past 5 years. I have come to see you as a wise aunt of sorts. Thank you for your sage advice and for sharing so much of yourself.

    10/30/16
    7:29 am
    Lisa said...

    @Ann, Your intelligence and humor are so evident, I imagine that you may in fact have earned your privilege. I wish you the best with your husband’s path, and yours that follows. @Fiona, Thank you. I am lucky to have readers like you, and I know your sandwich is out there. I found my true love at 50. The kind of relationship that becomes a life project. It happens.

    10/30/16
    7:31 am
    Flo said...

    @Ann, And here I am back again, Ann. We have a lot in common, you and I. I’ll turn 70 next month, I divorced a previous husband and remarried a heck of a guy. We live in a treehouse kind of set up, technically a townhome by legal definition, on a tiny barrier island. Beautiful views at all times of the day, very scary during hurricane season. No children by choice, the absolutely right decision for me. My
    “dreams” are really more like fantasies – the fantasy that someone will launder our sheets and remake the bed while I’m out; the fantasy that someone will make a reasonably delicious dinner and magically leave it on the front porch in thermal containers around 6:30 pm every day; the fantasy of spigots that dispense never ending streams of toothpaste, red wine, laundry detergent, olive oil and, since trying my first EVER tablet of diazepam [w/ recent cataract surgery], the fantasy of a tablet or two always at the ready.

  • 10/29/16
    9:21 am

    Reply

    Flo said...

    “Central Time,” yes indeed. I think I recognize those benches on your IG as being…Central Time benches!

    This is a great post, the responses are fabulous so far and will be great reading for days!

    10/30/16
    7:29 am
    Lisa said...

    @Flo, :). My friends live in Texas, we met in Austin, it was amazing. I love these comments, it’s as though I have a chorus of friends following me augmenting my thinking.

  • 10/29/16
    9:24 am

    Reply

    joannawnyc said...

    I turned 56 in mid-September. We are about to sign a contract to sell our Brooklyn house and move a couple of hours upstate (probably western Dutchess or eastern Ulster). The area is not unlike where I grew up in Connecticut. I have mixed feelings–I will miss NYC and everything I’ve had easy access to for the past 30+ years but I am also looking forward to a change. I will need to leave my current job and will decide soon enough if I try to recreate what I was doing in Brooklyn or whether I will reinvent myself to take advantage of opportunities that are better suited to the new place.

    So I guess that takes care of the near future! As for your other questions–
    grandchildren? I can’t imagine my 19 year son as a dad, but I have older nieces so maybe I can practice first by being a great aunt.

    Hardest thing? My father’s death 13 years ago and 9/11 are probably tied. The most difficult ongoing thing has been our son’s developmental delays and academic and emotional struggles.

    Absolutely, effects linger. I miss my father all the time and still feel guilty for not missing him enough. And the PTSD from a terrorist attack just doesn’t go away, although it gets buried deeper as time moves along.

    Beauty secrets? I’ve been very fortunate in the department. I have oily skin which tortured me up until about 40 but since has been a blessing. my hair is still the same color with a touch of gray. In general, I would advise sunblock early in life (or trying to stay out of the sun most of the time–I got headaches, so didn’t tan or spend hours on the boat and in retrospect it was a good thing!)

    No Botox or injectables, though I don’t rule them out. Though wrinkles are not as much of an issue for me as age spots (that’s just how my skin is) so for me it’s more about laser treatment, I think.

    What percentage of my day is spent content? I fell like I am dealing pretty well with stress, especially since I have struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life. I would say 80-90 percent of the time I feel pretty good about things, though the other 10-20% consists of deep terror.

    Tired more easily? Yes and I’ve never had great stamina. I am working on building more strength by lifting weights 2-3x a week. I also want to start doing yoga (another thing for the future) and pilates again.

    What to expect? That you will still be you, possibly wiser, but probably with the same issues you’ve always had. Maybe you will get better at handling them, but you will never be perfect. And that’s OK.

    10/30/16
    7:44 am
    Lisa said...

    @joannawnyc, “What to expect? That you will still be you, possibly wiser, but probably with the same issues you’ve always had.” I think what I am seeing clearly, finally, is how much of the stuff I’ve always dealt with was what I brought to the process vs. something created by the situation.

    As for the deep terror, mine is more like strong undercurrents, but, for some silly reason I am now imagining an Anxiety App in which one could always find, at the moment of distress, a companion to send you a sticker or emojii or something;).

    It sounds, I might be wrong, but it sounds as though you have had your fair share and then some of challenges. I wish you joy upstate.

  • 10/29/16
    9:26 am

    Reply

    Kelly L said...

    I’m 40 but the most common thing I hear my mid 60s parents say is, “there is no manual for aging… Caring for parents, calibrating after retirement, restablishing an identity when they expected this stage to be grandparenting (and I didn’t grant them that)….” Perhaps there is an opportunity for a book here Lisa, hmmm?

    10/30/16
    7:45 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kelly L, There probably is an opportunity. Your parents are right. No manual at all, that I know of.

  • 10/29/16
    9:28 am

    Reply

    Sue Burpee said...

    I turned sixty at the end of May. I was afraid of it. Then embraced it. Gave myself a shake, said…”This is your face, this is your body, this is your life… get over yourself!” I needed that. My husband at 72 is twelve years older than me, and has had some health issues. My mum at 89 is beginning to decline physically. I’m never going to have those washboard abs…ever. But Hubby and I are embarking on a new-ish healthy eating kick as a result of his heart surgery. We’re actually having fun with it. Once Hubby’s shoulder surgery rehab finished we began to plan our next big trip… to South America. Better go while we still can.
    To answer your question. No Botox or anything with a needle for me. I still love clothes and shopping, wear makeup, colour my hair. And active every day…either walking or cycling. Skating once a week in the winter. The fitness thing is a priority for me.
    I am positive for the future. See myself as turning a page when I retired, learning new things like blogging. Taking up art again. Spending more time with my mum. Hubby and I have no plans to move. We are concentrating on improving our small home and enjoying being on the river… for a while yet anyway. After all my mum at 89 still lives in her own home.
    Really…sixty changed nothing for me except my state of mind:)

    10/30/16
    7:54 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sue Burpee, I envy your capacity not to be consumed by a state of mind. I deconstruct everything. I guess I just figured, why fight my nature. Examine the bejeezus out of this and then I can move on;).

  • 10/29/16
    9:38 am

    Reply

    Lynn said...

    I feel as if I have fallen down the rabbit hole. Turned 65 at the end of August and had my usual mammogram in early September (mom died of breast cancer so I am careful). Since then I have had more mammograms, a vacuum assisted biopsy and am scheduled for surgical biopsy next week. Because of my birth date, I have to have a morning of pre-op tests, which I not have needed 6 months ago.

    So I’m thinking more about retirement after the academic year is done, and hoping that I’ll be able to travel and perhaps find a smaller house/condo that does not need so much maintenance.

    No grandkids yet, but there is talk and hope in a few years. Meanwhile, I am mentoring a youngster.

    I’m another one with oily skin which is finally a blessing.

    Hardest thing — my father’s death and having to part with the art collection he and my mother built over decades. It felt as if we lost him twice.

    What to expect? For me that will depend on what the surgeon finds, but I am lucky enough to have good health insurance and strong support from my husband so I am quite sure I will climb out of the hole as soon as I can.

    10/30/16
    7:56 am
    Lisa said...

    @Lynn, I wish you all the best and then some for the rabbit hole. Maybe it be shallow and have many happy ways out. So hard to be in a time of ambiguity and waiting like that. The note about the art collection is interesting – how we come to inhabit our parents’ presence on this earth, and what tears at us as it goes.

  • 10/29/16
    9:44 am

    Reply

    Denise said...

    I can hardly believe I am 65! The 60’s have blown by. I had a terrible first marriage but married my childhood sweetheart 11 years ago and moved to DC for his work. How exciting that has been for me to learn all about his world. I retired then and have been home for 11 years taking care of him and a granddaughter the past two years. I have six grandchildren all of whom now live in the NW so we are in the process of buying a home and spending more time out there. My husband is still working and I get restless from to time. I don’t want to be tied down, so I never get serious about working. I don’t do Botox or injectables. I do color my hair and after 25 years I don’t know how to stop! I need to grow it out but am not looking forward to that process.
    I joined an investment group this past year that focuses on female run startups so I have been learning all about venture capital. I’m content most of the time but I’m struggling with having a tummy and my breasts keep sagging. That is one thing I would consider fixing. The worst thing I have gone through since my diverse (which was awful but so freeing) is the loss of both of my parents back to back years recently. My dad lost his memory and died at 91 not knowing who I was! My mother caught H1N1 and struggled to recover in ICU but eventually gave up even fighting at 89. That was the worst death ever for me and it still haunts me. What if? Thanks for asking.

    10/29/16
    1:18 pm
    Carol said...

    Hi Kathy – you hit on the most important point – getting a “Gray” that blends with your natural color. In most cases that is a lighter version of your “younger” color. If you went gray at an early age, then you probably had black or ash hair.

    Noticeable “bottle blondes” are women who probably should not have been blonde in the first place because the color does not go with their skin tones.

    Smiles from Carol

    10/30/16
    8:01 am
    Lisa said...

    @Denise, The picture you have sketched here sounds so abundant and full of life. How hard to see your parents then leave you in painful circumstances. I am so glad you and your childhood sweetheart found each other again.

  • 10/29/16
    9:46 am

    Reply

    Denise said...

    Diverse was divorce

    10/29/16
    10:20 am
    Carol said...

    Dear Denise – please don’t “grow out” your gray hair unless your hair was jet black or Ash Blonde to begin with. IMO very few people look good in gray hair. Keep coloring your hair but maybe just a shade or two lighter. And find the right color lipstick and blush for your coloration. Shop with a friend who has the same natural hair color, eye color and skin color as you do. Don’t let the ladies at the cosmetics counter sell you on the latest fashion. That is for teenagers who look good in just about anything.

    Use the wisdom you have acquired through living and “To Thine own self be True!”

    Smiles from Carol

    10/29/16
    10:47 am
    Kathy said...

    @Denise, Couldn’t disagree more with Carol.
    I started to gray very early, as did my parents. I always loved it. (perhaps early onset helped, since I never related it to “getting old”.) I love seeing women (and men) with with gray hair, and especially when we become chronologically “seniors” I am more put off by bottle blondes, and other addicts to coloring, as I think that wrinkles are only emphasized by dye.) There are wonderful colorists out there who can blend your natural color until you feel comfortable with the outcome. And yes, men will still find you attractive (ask me how I know!)

    10/30/16
    8:02 am
    Lisa said...

    @Denise, Also I’m a big stop-dyeing fan but I do believe it works for some and not for others and only you can know.

  • 10/29/16
    9:49 am

    Reply

    Bungalow Hostess said...

    There is no one right answer to your question…each of us must figure this out for ourselves…but if there was a manual I think you could be the author!

    I turned 60 almost 2 years ago…I had a dream to visit Paris and for my 60th birthday I travelled there…I am fortunate to have 3 gorgeous grandchildren aged 6, 3 and 1…
    As to my future dreams…a month in Provence is on the list.
    Life is full….
    french classes, bridge, walking, gardening, reading, knitting and home keeping.
    Enjoy your weekend Lisa!

    10/30/16
    8:02 am
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, It was so wonderful how you just up and went to France and that once there you loved it so. Have a wonderful time in Provence, I bet you get there too.

  • 10/29/16
    10:09 am

    Reply

    Carol said...

    I will be turning 68 in January. Can hardly believe it. I look about the same as I did 10 to 20 years ago (at least that is what people at my High School Reunions have said). Beauty routine? Well, I found a new Skin rejuvenation Serum from France that I really like. It has done wonders for my hands, crows feet and creapy (sp?) skin that was just starting to develop. I also wear the right colors for my Spring coloration – no black, gray or silver for me! Just warm springy colors, golden blonde hair and soft coral blush and lipsticks.

    I worked full time until about a year ago when I was “replaced” by a 20-something by a new boss who wanted his “own” team. Most of us have been through that! So, have started my own company.

    Have always liked to work in the yard so I do at least an hour of gardening every day. Almost no aches or pains except my bruised ribs from when I fell down a hill while pulling up a medium-size tree stump. Hubby says no more pick axes for me. (I will just be more careful.1)

    People in my family live into their 80’s and 90’s so I plan to be around for another 20 years.

    Hubby and I would like to sell our house this coming year so we can move to France for the adventure. Perhaps we will refurbish a small home. My grandfather built his own home from scratch when he was 70 so I don’t know why we cannot do the same thing!

    Smiles from Carol

    10/30/16
    8:10 am
    Lisa said...

    @Carol, I’m really enjoying that skin serum! Way to bounce back from the layoff. And why France, if I can ask? Any particular connection?

    10/30/16
    8:41 am
    Carol said...

    Hi Lisa – Why France? Well, lots of interesting geography in an area about the size of Texas. Did you know that France has a whole park dedicated to the extinct volcanoes in the middle of the country? Where we are thinking of living (somewhere within 60 miles of Toulouse) the weather is not too hot or too cold. Double the rain of California so gardening should be good.

    Reasonably accessible to countries where we have friends and relatives (England and Spain). Our son lived there for two years and he liked it. I took French for 6 years in High School and College. Reading skills are good, speaking and understanding are a bit rusty but Hubby and I are very fast learners. Did you know that if you can carry tune, you can pick up a new language better? Both of us are good singers.

    Don’t care about wine but we do like cheese and enjoy cooking with fresh ingredients, a lot! Already practicing to adapt ourselves to the French way of eating.

    Lots of bureaucracy but at least it is run by people who actually trained to be Bureaucrats. Socialists but they do not pretend to be otherwise. We can buy a house similar in size to what we have now for 1/2 the price AND the property taxes are VERY low.

    The main reason – what we think will be a relatively “safe” adventure.

    Smiles from Carol

  • 10/29/16
    10:23 am

    Reply

    Karen said...

    As Bungalow states, we each travel a different journey with similar detours. I turned 60 in Feb and have been retired for 2 years;after accepting a severance package from a large multinational. I work now as a volunteer and find this much more rewarding. There is time to read more for pleasure, try out new recipes and see friends. My husband is semi-retired so we do many things together including travel but also ordinary chores like raking leaves or grocery shopping. We married late so no children or grandchildren but nephews and nieces.
    I am a breast cancer survivor so that was my most difficult time. I exercise and do yoga for overall health and to ward off osteoporosis since hormone therapy is not an option. .Botox or injections? Not yet and probably never. As an Asian , I am blessed with good skin and no wrinkles. I live outside Boston but would love to live along the central coast of CA. However we both have aged mothers (80s and 90s) and I am the primary caregiver for my mother who has some dementia. Did I say cancer was my most difficult time? Scratch that…looking after my mother is more challenging. It is both a burden and a privilege.
    We are old enough now to be burying our friends so we see the cycle of life ever more clearly.. Recognizing most of our years are behind us, (barring cryogenics) we are grateful to be alive, in relatively good health, and try not to sweat the small stuff.

    10/30/16
    8:19 am
    Lisa said...

    @Karen, You must be a good daughter if caring for your mom is harder than your own cancer experience. And sounds as though you and your husband have a great partnership.

  • 10/29/16
    10:33 am

    Reply

    Jeannine said...

    I will turn 60 next April. This has been a difficult year as we lost our oldest son in March in a kayaking accident on Lake Michigan (he has not been found). Our younger son was also involved in the accident, but was able to reach safety. This year has brought much grief, sadness, and difficulty for myself, my husband, and our son. Our younger son was able to finish college – only because his professors were so accommodating – and has moved back home with us. Moving forward has been difficult for all of us and dreaming about the future is on hold as we basically work to get through each day as best we can. The effects of this will linger for and color the rest of our lives. It has been and will continue to be a year of “one step at a time”. The hope is a new normal can be established and at some point we can dream again.

    10/29/16
    12:21 pm
    Ann said...

    @Jeannine,

    Jeanine, I am so very, very sorry for your loss.

    10/29/16
    1:03 pm
    Flo said...

    @Jeannine, Dear one, you write beautifully. I can only imagine that you bring the same sense of clarity and order to your days, and to the broken hearts held together in one place by you and your house. You are quite a gem, I can tell.

    10/29/16
    1:14 pm
    Danielle said...

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    10/30/16
    8:21 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jeannine, I send you as much care and respect for your pain and sorrow as I can, remotely. I hope your world and your community hold you and your husband and your son closely and gently and keep you safe until a new normal does dawn. And that you can dream again, all of you. Thank you so much for telling your story here, I am sure you have helped someone we aren’t even hearing from. You have helped me.

  • 10/29/16
    10:39 am

    Reply

    Sue said...

    I struggle daily with these same questions! I turned 62 in August.
    “What is your dream of the future?” I aspire to travel, to see exotic places, hike in the mountains, and spend more time with family.”In that future where will you live?” Good question – I haven’t a clue. Just taking it a day or month at a time.
    “Are you ready for grandchildren?” I have a 10 year old grandson and he’s such a joy. I don’t see him often enough though. We live 8 hours away and I am still working. Hate that. “What is the hardest thing you have gone through to date? I think my divorce 20 years ago and my mothers death 2 years ago. The divorce was the best thing for both of us – not so much for the kids though. The process was awful, so painful to give up on the marriage that I thought would last forever. My mother’s death – I’ll never get over it. I miss her every day. The best I can do is remind myself “everyone’s mother dies” and that helps a bit. “Do you have beauty secrets?” Exercise, enough sleep, good makeup, limit alcohol, highlights to blend the gray, and good genes. The question of having “work done” is in my thoughts regularly. Yes or no? I ponder the question, do my research, weigh the pros and cons, and end up deciding to put it off a bit longer. We’ll see. I tried Botox once, got pretty severe eyelid droop on one eye, and decided not to continue. “What percentage of your day is spent content? About 50% How much disturbed, or blissful?” About 25/25. “Do you get tired more easily these days?” Oh yes! Hence I worry I won’t have enough energy to travel, hike, and visit after retiring. The irony.

    11/01/16
    8:09 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sue, “The irony,” :). That is the thing, how to live life as well as possible across all our years, and there’s so much we just can’t know. Divorce, and death. Immutably sad, and sharing your experience I think helps others who will surely face the same things.

  • 10/29/16
    10:45 am

    Reply

    Valentine said...

    Your world becomes those with grandchildren and those without…a major illness and those that handle it well and those that don’t…those that like retirement and those that don’t.

    10/29/16
    10:56 am
    Kathy said...

    @Valentine, When asked about retirement, I always say that in my experience if you are happy before retirement you will be happy after retirement! If you were a busy little worker bee you will find volunteer work and hobbies galore to fill your days, and if you were a more sedentary contemplative type you will putter around, read, visit friends and revel in the peace and quiet. If you were whiny and dissatisfied…well, we carry ourselves with us, don’t we?

    11/01/16
    8:13 am
    Lisa said...

    @Valentine, @Kathy, “well, we carry ourselves with us, don’t we?” So we do. So we do. And interesting to consider that as having children or not, going to work or not, segmented us before, so these aging experiences may now.

  • 10/29/16
    12:09 pm

    Reply

    Susan D. said...

    I’ll be 65 on my next birthday and ponder some of the same questions you ask here. It’s hard to say what are the most difficult things I have face—sadly, there have been so many of them. We have had severe mental illness in our extended family (a nephew), suicide (another nephew), several medical/developmental issues ( a grandchild), marital issues (my marriage), and severe job related stress (my husband). And, incredibly, in the midst of all the difficulties, I’ve experienced so much happiness and consider myself to be extraordinarily fortunate.

    I have noticed the telltale signs of aging (my face and body), but, at this time, would not consider botox or surgery. I reserve the right to change my mind if my right eyelid droops much more.

    I don’t think about fashion or my wardrobe very much. I just try to dress appropriately.

    My hopes for the future are mostly clustered around a wish for contentment, some interesting travel, and time to enjoy our grandchildren.

    11/01/16
    8:14 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan D., I do hope that after all the difficulties you have time to enjoy what you also feel is extraordinary fortune. I think it will happen. And hope to meet you in California some day as a result;).

  • 10/29/16
    12:19 pm

    Reply

    Mary anne said...

    Ok. Just turned 67. I have grandkids. They are great. We are doing extremely well health-wise and are grateful. We enjoy traveling in our motor home since we no longer have our own airplane.

    We just take each day as it comes.

    Good parts of being in one’s 60s: way more mellow than I used to be. Also not as vain.

    Bad: creaky bones and asking “who’s that old broad?” Before realizing it’s me!!

    11/01/16
    8:24 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mary anne, Ha! And more mellow, less vain, perfect!

  • 10/29/16
    12:26 pm

    Reply

    fernt said...

    I find myself worrying more about retirement issues despite having various things in my favor. . .so much is an attitude thing. . .friends who say they are old and ones like me who having managed to remeet an old schoolmate at a reunion have embarked on an entirely new relationship. . .

    11/01/16
    8:25 am
    Lisa said...

    @fernt, Congratulations on your new relationship. And I think we’re allowed to worry no matter what our good fortune. xox.

  • 10/29/16
    1:01 pm

    Reply

    jhf said...

    @Ann
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom! And I can relate to the situation with your husbands illness. My first youthful marriage to my children’s father ended with him leaving me, to grieve my crushed dreams for years. But then I met my second husband, the love of my life. And he was 14 years my senior, so already from the start I know that I would eventually have to cope without him. Some years on he got a life threatening illness. He was mentally and physically strong, he lived to surpass the doctors expectations with many years, but we know all the time that we lived on borrowed time. He was a wonderful role model in keeping a positive outlook, being a great listener and coach, and take an immense pleasure in small things and sharing other peoples joy. We got fifteen wonderful years together. And now I am creating a new life as single, using the skills I learned from him, keeping a positive outlook, find joy in many things, loving my children and grand children, trying to be a good listener, a good coach and a good friend. And being very grateful and happy for the time we had! I feel that being positive is a heritage that he left me. I am wishing you all the strength that you will surely need for the present and the future, and thank you for sharing!
    Love, from Helena in Sweden

    10/29/16
    2:34 pm
    Ann said...

    @jhf,

    Helena, thank you in return for your kind words and for the time you took to send them. Carpe diem!

    11/01/16
    8:26 am
    Lisa said...

    @jhf, “I feel that being positive is a heritage that he left me.” I sense that the two of you found real love, and were very lucky in each other. It makes me so happy to hear how you are approaching life now.

  • 10/29/16
    1:06 pm

    Reply

    Deede said...

    There is no right answer for everyone…Just as you handled growing up, going away to college, getting married, being a mother…Just as you have handled every crisis, milestone, change, so will you handle your aging future…
    My own philosophy, one that has carried me through all of life to this point is not to overly think these things but rather to take it one day at a time and in the process to have as much fun as I possibly can..I really try not to go into the future where I scare myself to death or to look over my shoulder at the past where I am apt to feel guilty…but rather, to try and stay just in today…And to always remember, “Life is short…buy the shoes…” Best to you as you ponder these issues…smile…

    11/01/16
    8:27 am
    Lisa said...

    @Deede, Thank you. If I had the capacity not to over-think, I’d use it. I am just stuck with thinking, so it’s really helpful to me to get feedback from so many and make sure I’m including more than my own little crystal globe of perceptions in what I am bound to think about. Again, thanks.

  • 10/29/16
    1:12 pm

    Reply

    Rukshana Afia said...

    1 . I’m 63 and find myself still hoping for the same things in my future as I used to – I guess I haven’t achieved much in life and am panicking because there is less time .
    2 . I always wanted to live outside the UK and soon may have to , the way things are going .
    3 . I say so but I may well be as lousy a grandmother as I was a mother . However most of my friends love it so I hope….
    4 . My mother’s death after a year of increasing vascular dementia . The dementia was horrible and frightening and I could not get any help because I did not have power of attorney or any money and was told I had no right to talk to her GP about her state of health because it would breach confidentiality .
    5 . I have not got ‘over it’ at all .
    6 . No secrets – it is more a matter of what I am willing to do and not ! So eyebrow , eyelash & hair dye . Full makeup if I manage my pre-breakfast swim . If not then just kohl & perfume .
    7 . No injections , surgery or other invasive stuff , not even laser treatment to give up glasses .
    8 . Up to 20% content , up to 60% disturbed , up to 40% blissful . Depends on the day .
    9 . Oh yes but I still hope that if I were happier , more hopeful and more disciplined I would be able get everything done which I should .

    10/30/16
    2:35 pm
    Carol said...

    Dear Ruskhana, You might reconsider laser eye surgery. It’s not necessarily a vanity thing.

    I used to be just blind enough that I needed glasses at night to drive but not always in the day time. Consequently, I left my glasses everywhere and had to keep driving back to get them. I tried contacts but ended up with an ulcerated cornea. My doctor suggested having BOTH eyes done so that I would have perfect distance vision. But then I would need reading glasses. My solution was to have just one eye done for distance so I can drive. The other eye was not done so I can read without glasses. Problem solved! By the way, it was quick (like 5 seconds) and I never had any pain at all.

    Cataracts GOOD NEWS??? If you end up with cataracts, they replace the cloudy lens with one that gives you perfect distance vision. Hubby had that done a few years ago and no more glasses (except for reading.) Medicare covers the “standard” lens. If you want one that will give you both good distance vision and good reading vision, you have to pay for that yourself. I think Medicare still pays for the surgery just not the lens.

    Every cloud has a silver lining!

    Smiles from Carol

    11/01/16
    8:32 am
    Lisa said...

    @Rukshana Afia, I am so sorry you had to go through your mother’s dementia and death without any way to engage or manage what was going on. As for achievement, that’s part of what I’m doing now, trying to examine my own feelings about success, to make sure I know what I really believe and what is just vestiges of my upbringing. Once the expectations have been pared down, or at least clarified, I’m expecting the anxiety to decrease on a day to day basis. We shall see. I wish you all the best, and I am so sorry about Brexit. I hope if you move, it will turn out to have been the best thing, for you, even if not for our global society.

  • 10/29/16
    1:13 pm

    Reply

    marsha calhoun said...

    Fair enough. I’m 65.

    What is your dream of the future?
    Health, first. Which will mean being more disciplined. Maybe I’ll get a better handle on spending the hours of my days. I want to travel and to be healthy while traveling. I want to grow tomatoes that actually ripen and taste good. Some of my dreams prohibit others (being out of town when things need watering is an example). I find that lately I turn my mind to doing something that will endure . . . not sure what this might be. I do plan to continue my work until I drop, but I am more selective these days. I have always had problems planning/dreaming more than a year or so ahead (ever since I realized with a start that my plans, at age 9, for being a professional elementary school teacher, a doctor, a writer, and a singer wouldn’t all fit into the same lifetime), and I am constantly reminded of the way to make God laugh (make plans), so I will limit myself to dealing with whatever life throws my way – it seems to have worked so far.

    In that future where will you live?
    Where I live now, in a small town, for as long as I can. Then I’ll adapt.

    Are you ready for grandchildren?
    Yes. I’d have to travel to see them, which I would.

    What is the hardest thing you have gone through to date?
    Widowhood.

    Do any effects linger?
    Yes. Carpe diem is my motto, particularly in my marriage – eat the cake and spend the money now . . .

    Do you have beauty secrets?
    I stay out of the sun because I burn and overheat easily. I dye my hair. I defer to my daughter on iffy fashion questions, but since I tend toward classic everything, I don’t worry much about them.

    How about Botox or injectables?
    I hope I never decide to pursue this path. Not saying I won’t.

    What percentage of your day is spent content?
    At least 75%, probably more. I can be content and cranky at the same time.

    Do you get tired more easily these days?
    Yes. That’s one of the health things I’m addressing now. And I am vastly more willing to admit to tiredness – for years I stayed up later than I wanted to because other people did. Now I don’t, often.

    I simply want to know, what ought I to expect of myself?
    I hope that you and I both will grow more into ourselves, and greet our discoveries about that self with proper gentleness and appreciation. I find myself resolutely expecting to maintain and even expand my endurance (by reminding myself that I now find it much easier to walk up a certain hill than I did when I was in my twenties), and I want to stop putting off pleasures and experiences that will not be on offer forever.

    11/02/16
    6:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @marsha calhoun, So much in your answer that I just love. Carpe diem, deferring iffy fashion questions to the young, and growing tomatoes that ripen, among others:).

  • 10/29/16
    1:14 pm

    Reply

    Nelson Bartley said...

    Goodness. Turned sixty last Dec. Since then I have packed the youngest off to college. No married kids yet although that in itself does not preclude grandkids, but still….no grandkids. Pondering separation from my husband as we seem to be living different and separate lives with different goals. Have been a stay at home mom for the last 25 years and foresee huge issues with needing to go back to work. I WAS a travel agent-pretty obsolete position now. So how will I support myself? i am told I look younger. Certainly don’t feel old. No real ages and pains although the beginning of arthritis in my hands. Love Botox when I can afford it, otherwise I stick with my highlights and now dye my eyebrows. Hair isn’t gray, just mouse brown but those eyebrows!! Def gray. Very concerned about the future but also unable to reconcile living with someone who acts 90 even though he is 63. Trying all the new adventures I can and assuming things will work out.

    10/29/16
    7:56 pm
    Gloria said...

    Travel by yourself. (Paris is great for this) Travel with a few friends or a group if husband is unwilling. Sounds like he’d be glad to stay home? Join stuff, do things . Please yourself.
    BUT….don’t hurt yourself financially to make a point. You don’t deserve half….you deserve it all. I speak as a fellow stay at home mother and faithful supporting spouse. I’ll always find a way to make myself happy. Be smart.

    11/02/16
    6:51 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Nelson Bartley, I will echo what Gloria says, in part. Divorce is exceptionally expensive. However, living without love is costly to the heart. Only you can solve the problem, your own way, whatever is right for you. Here’s to adventure. Especially if your youngest has just gone off to college.

  • 10/29/16
    1:26 pm

    Reply

    Danielle said...

    I am 38 and pregnant with my first child :) Really excited and happy for this next chapter; not thrilled with OBs saying I am “advanced maternal age” (sure, I guess it’s technically true, but I don’t feel old!). Although I have been quite sick during the first trimester, and wonder how much of that is due to, well, advanced age ;)

    My beauty routine is more about prevention (sunscreen) and cleanliness than involved makeup or hair styling. Though I do love red lipstick at times!

    I am open to Botox or other interventions in the future if it would make my older self feel better. We’ll see!

    Recently watched the movie “Iris” about 90-something style icon Iris Apfel and was inspired by her colorful approach to life. I hope to be as bold and active as i age.

    11/02/16
    6:57 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Danielle, Congratulations! I don’t think your age seems all that advanced, but, what do I know:). I was horribly sick when pregnant at 30, so, I think it’s hormones not age. And, your beauty routine mirrors several above who say they are happy in their 60s with their skin, so, hooray!

  • 10/29/16
    3:41 pm

    Reply

    Janet said...

    Ha! I am 68 and suddenly my eyebrows are curling, which makes me laugh every time I look in the mirror because they are my late father’s eyebrows, and perfect companions for my mother’s hands that are now attached to my arms! Joy is in the little things, so as Kurt Vonnegut said, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'” Better than wrinkle cream in my opinion.

    10/31/16
    10:35 am
    Deede said...

    Janet…I love your post and your attitude…”If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is…”LOVETH that…smiles

    11/02/16
    6:58 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Janet, I love the diction in that maxim. So homey. And love the dadbrows, I am going that way too:).

  • 10/29/16
    3:53 pm

    Reply

    Arabella deWilliams said...

    I find myself at age 60 and a half, redefining everything about my life since the unexpected death of my beloved husband, 3 years ago. Slowly I am coming back to myself with hopes and dreams that include travel, writing and being a mentor to my 16 year old grandson. Before the death of my husband, my life was very harmonious. We’d retired relatively early and realized our dream of living in the country of Panama.
    I returned to the States to pick up the pieces, only now beginning to experience restlessness to do things that make me happy. I am in the process of fine tuning those desires. In the meantime I need to curb my emotional eating and get healthy again.

    11/02/16
    7:09 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Arabella deWilliams, Oh I am so sorry. It must feel exactly like picking up pieces. I hope that the restlessness does lead you to happiness, more and more. Your grandson is lucky to have you there for him.

  • 10/29/16
    5:41 pm

    Reply

    Susan said...

    I’m 57. My dream for the future is to be able to keep working so I can afford health insurance and to age in place. I live in a small college town. I hope to remain here in the middle of the beautiful Appalachian mountains where it is an oasis of educated/enlightened people. I have 5 grandchildren with another one on the way. My daughter graduated high school 4 months pregnant so I became a grandmother at 42. I was her delivery coach for her first 3- quite exciting with all of the feels! Then she married an abusive man who was convicted of A&B against her on my testimony. When she took him back 13 months later, I was cut out of her and the children’s lives. I am devastated.

    One of the hardest and most impacting thing to date was going from the Golden Child to the Black Sheep of the family when I left my husband of 25 years and came out as lesbian. My mother’s first comment was- how can you do this to me? My dearly loved in-laws stopped talking to me. My youngest son was 15 and has slowly adjusted. It took him 7 years to hug my wife whom I have been with for 11 years now. My older son was 19. He will not have a relationship with me at all. I was an immersed stay at home mom for 13 years and then worked only school hours. My children were my world. I never thought I would not have a relationship with two of them as adults. I am head over heels in love which is amazing- my knees buckled with our first kiss. The effects?- personal freedom, honesty and an internal peace at an unforeseeable and horrendous loss of family of origin. I thought my children were old enough to understand. I had a counselor guiding me though to help make a bad situation better….I learned the only ting I can control is myself. I also learned that the high road can be so high that my nose would bleed but to stay on it.

    Beauty secrets? Sunscreen, hats and good makeup.

    I have a bit of PTSD from the Virgina Tech shootings, another shooting at a mall I was in, a decapitation in the building next to me, the whole town on lock down after a policeman was shot and a manhunt through my neighborhood for an escaped prisoner who shot his guard. I don’t trust anyone with a gun. Period.

    I have finally admitted to myself that I can’t do it all anymore. I was slowed down by a total knee replacement at 52 and have only added back selected activities. I spend more time in the garden and allow myself time to read for pleasure.

    Content? Yes. I have worked hard to get to where I am now. I have unwillingly accepted that my relationships with my adult children and mother are what they are. I am ecstatically happy with my wife and I love the life we have built together. I wish I had more years ahead of me than behind me.

    11/02/16
    7:12 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Susan, You have been though SO much. I hope your children can eventually be drawn to your happiness with your wife, and your family might form again, maybe less but something. It is lovely to hear that you are madly in love. You deserve that. You deserve health insurance too. All the best to you and your love.

  • 10/29/16
    5:58 pm

    Reply

    Carol said...

    Hi, Another Carol, here. I turn 62 in a little over a month & I love my 60s so far. (Just not sure how I got here so fast!)

    The kids are independent, but no serious relationships, so I’ll be waiting a while for grandbabies. My husband is semi-retired & much happier than when working all day. I have 3 years to go, most likely, depending on new health care plan beginning in fall of 2017. I have been working part-time for most of my career but I find the afternoons of my “on” days, I am not at my best. I tend to not do much on my first day “off” except putter around. The next day I can get more done. Teaching is harder than it has ever been & I’m really worn out. When I do retire, my hopes are to resume sewing, get back into photography, travel, & maybe take up Celtic harp. The kids live within 2 hours right now. I expect that will change as they grow into their careers, find mates, & settle into adult hood. I hope we will be able to live near them.

    My hardest year was when my mother, father, uncle, and favorite principal all died within one year-June to June. I was executor for 3 wills simultaneously (an aunt’s will that passed to me when my father died). Interestingly the depression I suffered since 4th grade disappeared after that awful year. Only one short bout since.

    I will need to have a knee replaced in the spring to repair damaged done about 20 years ago-I’ve lived with the pain long enough. I live near a good hiking area & have not been able to enjoy it for two years now. Overall health is good.

    Not interested in Botox or such preservatives. My skin care regimen works really well for me-the surgeon thought I was in my 50s. Neutrogena oil eye make-up remover, face wash (yellow tube) & Rapid Wrinkle repair at night. Simple micellar water & Neutrogena Hydro Boost serum in the morning. Hair color darkened as I got older and I’m now sporting a white streak in the front on one side. I can’t wait to have the beautiful white hair of both my grandmothers. I may pixie cut it like Dame Judi Dench.

    I think that what keeps me sane is gratitude. I am not hugely religious, but I do thank God (often out loud) for sunsets, for crisp fall air, for the joy of seeing a flock of geese overhead, for the tangle of bare tree branches, a rabbit hopping up the road, the purr of my cats, the fragrance of tonight’s supper, the traffic parting just as I’m getting impatient, the graciousness of my son, the optimism of my daughter, my husband’s smile, and so much more.

    Maybe I’ve shared too much here, but at my age, I really don’t care. :< ))

    11/02/16
    7:21 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Carol, Good luck with the knee replacement. I’ve just discovered micellar water – not a moment too soon! You’ve shared wonderfully, especially your exclamations of gratitude at the little moments of life. Thank you. Here’s to not caring;).

  • 10/29/16
    9:25 pm

    Reply

    Jane S. said...

    ooooo botox, yes, and blepharoplasty, upper and lower. Foundation and mascara everyday, at 57. The vanity might come from low confidence – nope I’m sure it does. 20% turmoil/loneliness but 80% content, even happy. We have a son and daughter who seem happy, healthy and live near, but no grandbabies yet. Can’t wait.

    That 20% turmoil/loneliness and low confidence come from growing up in dysfunction and loss, I’m pretty sure. Which brings us to The Hardest Thing I’ve gone through, which isn’t growing up in dysfunction, but attempting to shape myself afterward. Where others don’t have self doubt, I do. I’ve worked harder at trying to “be normal” than anything I’ve ever done, but after purposefully surrounding myself with highly functioning people, I’m wondering if I should have stayed on the farm! Other women, especially, seem to reek with an easy social confidence. That lack of confidence affects my ability to be myself around other women, which complicates things when trying to make friends. Hence a bit of loneliness, but I’m working on it and feel so lucky that it’s my only big challenge. My life is mostly pretty darn good.

    We’ve been in our home 30 years and will stay here ’til the kids move us out someday. My husband has been financially successful beyond what we thought possible. We do get away several times a year to the sunshine, but we’re done with the “sightseeing” type of overseas travel. I don’t work and haven’t for many years (ha – could that have something to do with confidence?). But the flexibility, time for hobbies and volunteering have been worth it. Now on to make some good girlfriends for tea, travel, movies . . .

    Thanks for asking!

    11/02/16
    7:28 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jane S., Everyone’s story is so different! You sound like you’d make a great friend. Just watch and listen – you will find your people. I am sorry you had such dysfunction when you were young, it isn’t easy to recover from that – you ever trying is already admirable.

  • 10/30/16
    5:18 am

    Reply

    Flo said...

    Lisa, look what you have done. Your beautiful post inspired all these generous comments which by turns have torn my heart out, made me laugh, inspired me, caused me to think. Much praise to you and to all of the women in this forum.

    10/30/16
    6:03 am
    Ann said...

    @Flo,

    Hear, hear!

    11/02/16
    3:59 pm
    Mary anne said...

    @Flo, one big,happy,internet family. Also, a group of intelligent women.

    11/02/16
    7:29 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Flo, We all know the comments here are so often the best part. Intelligent women, a culture of civility, and great good fortune. These comments have turned a little switch in me, I feel it. Thank you all so so much.

  • 10/30/16
    7:20 am

    Reply

    K-Line said...

    L and commenters: Let me just say how much I appreciate all of this information and perspective. I’m 46 and my 40s have been challenging on the health front (if also a time of empowerment and financial/professional advancement). It’s fascinating to see the prevalent themes unfold (sandwich caregiving, self-acceptance). I love reading about the ladies with oily skin – something I’ve always had in spades :-) esp. as it corroborates my perspective that wrinkles may not be my cross to bear. My husband is 6 years older than me and, it’s odd/hopeful to see how his health is remarkably more robust than mine at the moment. If there’s one benefit to early onset osteoarthritis it’s that my relative youth may permit some degree of reversal and the opportunity to ride the wave of new treatment methods. But let’s just say, I hope I’m having the large-end of my philosophical dark night of the soul now. Most everything I do now is strategic, to promote the opportunity for leisure and stability in my retirement years. Lord, I hope I’m making the right call…

    11/05/16
    9:20 am
    Lisa said...

    @K-Line, At the highest level of abstraction, here’s what I see. Who I am, I have been. What I’ve been through, much of it, I brought to myself. What changes, over time, less is painful, less is possible.

    Your mileage may vary. <3

  • 10/30/16
    10:10 am

    Reply

    dottoressa said...

    What a wonderful team of brave,funny,witty,clever,kind and nice ladies you’ve got here!
    Let’s start:
    I am 58-so,I’m here to learn :-)
    My dream: to be as healthy and mobile as I am now-you don’t know how humble and yet huge this dream is-,to be able to care for myself and people who depend on me. That I could still drive. To be aware and of sound mind because than I could find,invent and do all the things that make me happy
    I will live in my apartment in my favourite part of my city. I am living in the house now but plan to move in a couple of years.
    I am ready for the grandchildren-I don’t think that my son is quite ready yet!
    Hardest things? There were many-almost all of them have learned me something,have changed me,mostly for better.
    But,yes,some effects did linger
    I have no beauty secrets-genes,sleep,smiles…
    I have dry skin but I use rich,oily creams (dr Hauschka rose cream) instead moisturising

    10/30/16
    10:31 am
    dottoressa said...

    @dottoressa,
    Ooops-I pushed the wrong button!
    Part two:
    I am not even considering Botox or injectables-
    I am determined to be happy despite hard things ,when not dealing with bad craftsman :-)(they make me crazy)
    10% blissful,10 % disturbed,80% content (not bad :-))
    I do get tired more easily :-),but it is not connected with my age-don’t be afraid !
    I am also determined to enjoy good days (and years )every day!
    Dottoressa

    11/05/16
    9:22 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, I thank my stars for this group of women almost every time I post. I hope you are happily looking forward to Christmas in Zagreb:).

  • 10/30/16
    11:31 am

    Reply

    JC said...

    I just turned 64-was with happily retired college roommates yesterday and we had similar conversation.

    We decided at this age you really start to realize what matters-health, family and lack of financial worries as everything can change in a second and we decided we are all pretty content the great majority of the time.

    Grandkids et al-may or may not happen but am happy to not interfere with adult children and let them live their lives as they see fit.

    Appearance-so many women kind of give up in the name of comfort or not wanting to make the effort which is a slippery slope. I think you can be comfortable and not sloppy.

    Many people including health professionals comment that I look 10 years younger probably do to my Italian genes.

    I will have an eyelift within a year because of peripheral vision issues. Another friend is planning a neck lift. Never say never.

    Future-who knows, who knows? Not going to worry about. Plan to have gratitude in the simple joys of everyday life.

    11/02/16
    7:31 pm
    Lisa said...

    @JC, Isn’t it amazing to have such long-standing friends, and be able to connect and get feedback on these things? Good for you, not worrying. Can you bottle that?:)

  • 10/30/16
    2:32 pm

    Reply

    Sydney Shop Girl said...

    I’m in my early forties so not really qualified to add anything of note. But I am appreciating the collective wisdom and perspective of all who have commented and shared above.

    SSG xxx

    11/02/16
    7:31 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Sydney Shop Girl, <3<3<3

  • 10/30/16
    4:35 pm

    Reply

    Mardel said...

    I’m 58 and already a grandmother. Other than that I don’t have much to say. I am happy to find myself in a place where I know and accept who I am and have no idea of who I will be. I’m completely ok with that. In the meantime still trying to negotiate widowhood, dating, not dating, doing too much, doing too little, and whatever other impulses stake their claims. I’m kind of intrigued by 60 and am looking forward to the ride.

    11/02/16
    7:32 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, “I am happy to find myself in a place where I know and accept who I am and have no idea of who I will be.” That seems so very wise. Almost Buddha. Oh, and best of luck with dating! xoxo

  • 10/30/16
    8:47 pm

    Reply

    Susan said...

    Lida, what a wonderful compare and contrast moment you have catalyzed! I love your analytical and thoughtful approach to all that you consider.

    I am 62, left a job in higher ed about 3 months ago, and I am now back in a grad certificate program that will take 8 months. Married almost 30 years to a good man, two sons ages 24 and 27, no marriages on the horizon, no grandchildren : ( We are quite well off, so I do not have financial worries, and currently we have health insurance via my husband’s work. No big health worries, but a variety of more minor ones.

    I suppose I am old, in some ways, but I don’t feel old. What do I expect of myself? Well, I expect myself to contribute to society somehow, earn my place on the planet. This is an exhausting way to live, but I image I will always feel this way, even if “contributing” means visiting an old friend, or making a pot of soup, or encouraging a youngster. I am happy about 80% of the time, and anxious or worried about what to do with myself, or how the next 30 years will unfold, but I try not to think about it and try to assume that all will be well.

    I color my hair, lashes, and browns, have used a bit of botox but I think I am done with that, and I think I will get my upper eyelids done as they are so heavy and uncomfortable. I wear colors that work well for me, always add scarves, beads, earrings, or other accessories, love oxford shoes, jeans, and a bit of the feminine tomboy style–a high five to you re: this type!

    Hardest thing? Finding our way through the deaths of 4 parents and two aunts in a four year period while getting our sons into college and earning a living. Yes, I am over it, and it changed me, for the better in some ways.

    I am looking forward to the next decade or so–travel, reading, nesting, and more. After that–I am not sure what the final decade will hold. I guess one lives in ones head at that point, thinking, reflecting, considering, etc. I hope my mind holds up so I can entertain myself!

    xoxoxoxo Susan

    11/05/16
    8:55 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan, To me, this is the best possible response to good fortune. Well, “I expect myself to contribute to society somehow, earn my place on the planet. This is an exhausting way to live, but I image I will always feel this way, even if “contributing” means visiting an old friend, or making a pot of soup, or encouraging a youngster.” I imagine you have earned all of what you have, and how exciting to be back in school! No problems with the mind, I’m guessing.

  • 10/31/16
    12:16 am

    Reply

    Kiki said...

    Such an interesting post and thank you for starting the conversation. I too think about these questions and some day I think I have answers and other days, not a clue.

    My “beauty secrets” include: regular Clarisonic use, face oil to clean (Neutrogena) and to moisturize (Kopari). Shiseido Benefiance Retinol eye masks work well for me. Tinted moisturizer with sunscreen is helpful along with Dry Bar’s dry shampoo for those days that time is extra tight. I have eyelash extensions and convinced they take me back ten years…and yes, it’s possible to have extensions without looking like a Bravo housewife. I never ever wear readers; multi-focal contact lenses are one of the best inventions ever!

    I go to a professional for hair highlights, eyebrow maintenance, and nails. Home teeth whitening help to keep the tea stains at a minimum. Oprah is correct, a good bra to lift the girls is a big help.

    For my last birthday, had the colorist do a blush pink ombre and six months later I’m still having the pink added to the ends of my hair. Why not?! It’s only hair and its been a fun addition. Just because we’ve all reached a new age demographic, we shouldn’t forget fun isn’t something we just did when we were under 30.

    I so enjoy your posts and tweets! Thanks.

    11/05/16
    8:59 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kiki, Thank you in return! And I love how I’m reading along, picturing you from the text, all the elegant and classic beauty knowledge, and then, suddenly, pink ombre hair! Let us all continue to surprise.

    And I’m always game for a chat on Twitter;).

  • 11/01/16
    7:16 am

    Reply

    Linda said...

    I’ve popped in from Frances/Materfamilias, who has nudged her readers in this direction. Fascinating discussion! I’m 57 and have taken early retirement from a career in higher education in order to pursue a new direction which will at last allow me to use my French degrees. Life for me at the moment is about looking forward to a new, invigorating stage. Completely and utterly not ready for grandchildren yet, because my son and daughter are just starting out in their careers and I wouldn’t want them to miss out on those years of freedom and finding their path. My husband and I will live in my family home, in a small village in the north of Scotland. We are starting to detach ourselves from Edinburgh after spending all our working lives here.
    Hardest thing to date? The death of my mother from cancer, when I was 32. She was 63. The lasting effects have been to appreciate every day, and to love my children with every ounce of my being.
    Beauty secrets???? Eating well (I seem to gravitate to what I am discovering are classed as superfoods), drinking wine in small quantities, and exercising. I walk everywhere, most days at least 8k. Hate nail polish, foundation, mascara – my skin feels as if it’s suffocating if I wear any of them. I do wear sunscreen, but it never gets very hot here! Carrying food shopping in a rucksack as weight training! I’ve been going to a personal trainer for a year and notice that I have much more energy. My main hope for the future is to be fit and healthy. More hill walking expeditions, more travel in Europe, probably by train and staying in youth hostels. Long distance trail walking. Much gardening and growing food.
    Grey hair since age 40, and I love it! No way would I ever dye it. Strong, shiny straight hair helps, and a good cut is essential. The thought of Botox makes me giggle.
    I’ve been struck when reading through the comments how may have mentioned having adequate health insurance. I realise that this is not something we ever have to worry about in the UK, with our ‘socialist medicine’! It does take quite a bit of worry out of the ageing process not to be concerned about whether one can afford necessary treatment. I would gladly pay higher taxes to ensure everyone can have a decent standard of healthcare.

    11/05/16
    9:04 am
    Lisa said...

    @Linda, Hi! Very nice to meet you – Frances is such a great blogofriend. I love her thoughtfulness.

    I am sorry you lost your mother so young. I feel like I ought to read a book about that kind of loss, as part of making up in these years what I took for granted in my youth.

    And I wish, right now, I were in Scotland, walking 8K/day, carrying my groceries in a pack, no foundation, gray shiny hair. Other lives add to mine. Thank you.

  • 11/01/16
    1:05 pm

    Reply

    Shawn Marie said...

    60- more than a number, to me. It’s a new phase of life, ever so different from the 20’s & 30’s, 40’s & 50’s. It’s looking at the (long) home stretch. Have been contemplating it since I turned 60 in mid-September. My dream of the future is a bit blank and I’m finding that rather disturbing. I know I’ll be traveling, continuing to volunteer at our local wildlife rescue clinic and rehab, having wonderful friends…but I’m not finding myself emotionally invested and I don’t know why.

    Would adore grandbabies, I would have made an even better grandma than I was a mom, but that option was taken away when my daughter Jennie was killed at 18. At 60, I’m now the youngest in my family lineage. Losing Jenn was definitely the hardest thing to date and the effects of it continue to color my life, even 13 yrs later.

    Beauty secrets include facewash, moisturizer, sunscreen, and poor close-up vision. Amazing how soft my wrinkles look with poor vision!

    And, yes, I do tire more easily. Became acutely aware of it just this morning during my hike into the hills in Los Osos.

    With all that said, I love being 60, regret nothing, and anticipate a kind and loving future.

    11/05/16
    9:09 am
    Lisa said...

    @Shawn Marie, “Losing Jenn was definitely the hardest thing to date and the effects of it continue to color my life, even 13 yrs later.” I am so sorry. And I don’t see how the continued effects could be otherwise.

    A kind and loving future is a lovely way to see it. I hope you find emotional investment, if that’s what you want. If not, well, a state of non-investment can be very close to Zen. All the best.

  • 11/02/16
    1:26 pm

    Reply

    Patsy said...

    Oh, Lisa! All these tales of love, strength, loss…I guess we all knew everyone has a story to tell. Thanks all of you for sharing.

    54 and pretty grateful for every day. Beauty secret is benign neglect.

    11/05/16
    9:13 am
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, Benign neglect and a total wise-ass attitude;). My fave. It is always good to be reminded that everyone has a story to tell, as you say.

  • 11/04/16
    2:08 pm

    Reply

    Eleanorjane said...

    Thank you so much everyone for your comments. I’m just about to turn 40 (tomorrow!) and am feeling like 20s and 30s were a fairly cohesive block of time, 40s and 50s will be a block and then 60+ will be a different block of time, but we’ll see how we go.

    I’m trying to work out how to be 40 now after a tumultuous time through most of my 30s.

    11/05/16
    9:18 am
    Lisa said...

    @Eleanorjane, Interesting. My life has been decade by decade. Pregnant at 30, back to work at 40, divorced at 50, and now, well, now here we are at 60. And I have to confess, I think the tumult of my early years was of my own doing, and I wonder if I am finally prepared to de-tumult. We’ll see how you go, as you say:).

  • 11/06/16
    9:04 am

    Reply

    Turtle said...

    There is something about turning 60 and retiring. Suddenly there’s time for a life review, and the realization that there is just a bit left to use wisely. So, to your questions: “What is your dream of the future? It is my hope that the future includes wise, compassionate, thoughtful, informed decisions and actions (globally and personally) and that I’m here to witness them. In that future where will you live?” My husband and I currently live in a lovely walkable city neighborhood in Atlanta and are ready for a change. The Pacific Northwest is calling. “Are you ready for grandchildren?” I was alongside my daughter as she gave birth at home assisted by her husband, a midwife, and doula. The memory of my granddaughter’s entry into this life still brings me to joyful tears. Very ready for her and any future grandchildren. “What is the hardest thing you have gone through to date? Many difficulties- difficult first marriage, difficult divorce, several years caring for my beloved father and mother until their deaths, stressful final five years of my career. The hardest was the loss of my parents. I’m the youngest, and was possibly the easiest, of their three daughters. I miss them both every day, and occasionally dream they are still alive. I find myself crying as I wake and realize they are gone. “Do any effects linger?” The effect of everything I’ve experienced is to appreciate everything I’m experiencing, and to worry as little as possible. View the world through a compassionate lens. “Do you have beauty secrets?” Smile and laugh often. Dance with abandon while dinner is in the oven. Walk the dogs with your lovely husband. Say hi to your neighbors. Care about other people and be interested in them. “How about Botox or injectables?” No. I earned what I look like. I want my daughter and granddaughter to see healthy aging and to care less about appearances. I had long hair all my adult life, and just cut it all off. It’s now less than an inch long. Love the liberation from caring. No gray yet, but I welcome it whenever it decides to come along. I use organic oils on my face and body, and little else. “What percentage of your day is spent content? Ninety percent- this is intentional. Meditate, do yoga, paint, make jewelry, garden, read, sew, bake, walk the dogs, ask strangers questions, and marvel at the world. Seek joy. Share love. How much disturbed, or blissful?” As little as possible disturbed. Very little of what we worry about is actually in our sphere of influence. There’s plenty to worry about- my son is a military pilot, Atlanta is ranked 18th highest murder rate among US cities, people are crazy. In spite of many things to worry about, I focus on that which is working and positive. Much healthier for my head, heart, and body. That leaves 10% for bliss. I’ll take it! “Do you get tired more easily these days?” Yes. I realize now that I sprinted through much of my life until around 50, when everything flew apart. I got the youngest child through college, finally ended a long-dead marriage, cared for my aging parents, began a new career, worked to repair ruined finances. I spent the last two years pushing through exhaustion and pain. I am finally coming up for air at 60. So, yes, that made me tired. The remedy (for me, anyway) is to move often, sleep deeply, eat well, think more about others, less about myself. Life is amazing. All of it. Be in it.
    Thank you, Lisa, for giving me the opportunity to learn from others and to share. What a pleasure.

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