Flourishing in the Eighth Decade!

Women everywhere, welcome to our blogspot, a space for sharing experiences, thoughts, and ideas about how to overcome obstacles and thrive as we approach and endure in the eighth decade of life. We hope this exchange will be a source of inspiration for the next generation of seventy year olds. Those baby boomers are hot on our heels, and want to know more about what lies ahead. Nobody gave us a guidebook or shared what this path might be like. As we burn those seventy candles, we can help shed some light on the trail for them.

What has this transition been like for you? Serious, funny, commonplace, unusual, short, long stories, all are welcome. How does it feel to be among the oldest in the crowd? What does it take to thrive in this decade? How do you think others see you? What contributes to well-being and yes, flourishing at three score and ten?

We welcome the comments and reflections of women everywhere. All cultures, ethnicities, socioeconomic status and backgrounds; as diverse a sample as we can reach.

Please contribute brief anecdotes, observations, thoughts, ideas, and life stories by posting them in the comment section below.

Alternatively, you could email longer stories to us at 70candles@gmail.com. Please include information about your age, ethnicity/cultural background, geographic location, education, and work status. We will organize, collate, and share your emailed stories anonymously on this blogspot. Ultimately this may become a book about how our generation flourishes. Spread the word!! 

Posted in 70candles | 31 Comments

Our Gifts

Roseann, Age 70

To All 70Candles Friends,

This coming Sunday, March 18, we will be hosting our second
70Candles Meeting at my home in New Jersey. We are definitely filled with about 15 women coming, and we are so looking forward to a most special Sunday afternoon.

I got to thinking today that it might be a nice idea to invite all of you to join us via this website-this wonderful Home Base we share…

At this next meeting, we thought a great (and positive and enlightening) topic would be for us to talk about our Gifts…Gifts we were born with, Gifts we nourished, created, shared with loved one, strangers, the world…Gifts that perhaps we never gave ourselves credit for or that others may not have appreciated- but they were and are our Treasures, and more than likely, also our Legacy…

If you like, we can start a thread here- where we can all humbly and exaltedly share our Gifts with one another. All kinds of Gifts- Internal Gifts, like the gifts of integrity, commitment, love, listening, insight etc.- and External Gifts, like the gift of ice skating or cooking or scuba diving or writing poetry or music…We can share Physical, Mental, Emotional and/or Spiritual Gifts…We all have so many, seen and unseen…Perhaps it is time to truly reveal them and delight in them together!

By the time we are near or into or passing our 70th year, it is time to give ourselves pause and think of all the wonderful things that have made us who we are…to think about all the wonderful things we have done to make the world a better place than when we came here…It is time to be thankful for our Gifts too- and not take them for granted nor, let them stay hidden under the proverbial bushel…It is time to let our Gifts shine and be shared….And after all is said and done, to maybe truly realize we ARE the Gift we give each day to ourselves and all we love….

So, here is the open invitation to share one another with one another! I will keep in touch and let you know what our gathering unfolds…In the meantime, all of you will be part of it, as we all focus on the Gifts of our Lifetime…

I remember long ago, when my daughter Jessica was about 7 years old and she was valiantly making her way, hand over hand, on the monkey bars at the afterschool playground. Body struggling and swinging in mid air- one bar to the next…And when she finished, she jumped down and threw her arms up in the air and clapped and shouted, “Yea for me!!!!” A moment imprinted in me forever.

I think that by the time we are 70- we may not be able to do monkey bars, but we sure can shout, “Yea for me!!!”

So, welcome aboard this thread…Please celebrate yourself and all your Gifts…It truly is time…


Posted in 70candles, 70Candles! Gatherings - the experience, Gratitude and Spirituality, Older women connecting, Share your story | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

A journalist’s request

Judy, Age 63

I’m a journalist who writes a nationally-distributed column about aging and health. A topic I’d like to cover going forward, either for a column or a story: people in their 70s taking care of parents in their 90s and up. If you’re in this situation and you’d like to talk, please email me at judithegraham@gmail.com. We’re living in a new age and longevity is transforming our relationships and responsibilities. Ideally, I’d like to profile up to 4 caregivers in their 70s and speaking to the person they’re caring for as well. (I recognize that may or may not be possible, especially if dementia is a factor.)

My background: I was the senior health reporter at the Chicago Tribune for many years. I wrote extensively for the New York Times’ New Old Age blog, until the blog was discontinued. Now, I write the Navigating Aging column for Kaiser Health News, distributed through the Washington Post and other media outlets across the country.

Thank you for your consideration. Judith (Judy) Graham judithegraham@gmail.com is the best way to reach me.

Posted in 70candles, Caretaking, Death and dying, Men aging, Our bodies, our health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Movin’ on

Patricia, Age 64

Hello from upstate NY. I am 64 yrs old. My husband passed away 18 months ago. I have no family here other than my daughter and her family. As much as I love them, they are very busy with their lives, and I don’t get to spend time with them anymore. My son lives in Brooklyn, NY…4 hrs away. I see him approx. 2 times a yr. I have two sisters in Maryland and one in NC. I am not happy in this house full of memories. My husband and I downsized to this home ten years ago from a neighboring town. It was to be our retirement home. That didn’t work out, as he passed one year after retirement. I don’t want to sit around and wait to die. I feel the need to move on with my life. I am putting my house up for sale in a few weeks and planning to move to NC. Of course, I am apprehensive about making such a major move at my age and leaving my immediate family behind. But I’m also excited to be moving nearer my sisters and will be able to see them more often. We do “sister trips” and it’s always been harder for me to participate because of the distance I have to travel. Another selling point is that I won’t have to endure another frigid snowy winter. I’ve hated living in NY since I got married. After my husband passed, I’ve tried getting out of the house, making new friends, and getting involved in the community. But there is not much to do in this little town. I am moving to a rental that is in my sister’s family. Renting has it’s advantages…it will give me an opportunity to see if I like the area; I can take my time and look for a house to buy. I may even rent. Either way, my next home will be one level. I’m ignoring the negative thoughts (many that have been expressed on this page) and forcing myself to think positive. To me, moving south is “going home”. I want to get to know my next to youngest sister better. I want to live in a warmer climate. And I am excited to move to a new area. Bonus: I’ll only be living 2.5 hrs from the ocean. Being lonely isn’t an issue because I’m lonely here. So either way, I need to adjust to this new chapter of my life called “Old Age”. I’ll get back to you a year from now and let you know how things are going.

Posted in 70candles, Dealing with loss, Family matters, Goals ahead, Looking ahead, Older women connecting, Resilience, Where to live, Widows’ choices | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Which way to go?

Lynda, Age 69 3/4

I will be 70 in may. My husband died 7 years ago. I live in a Chicago suburb on the north shore and am trying to sell my home. I have a place in Florida for the winter and I do not know where to go. I have enough money for me to last my lifetime however, I have 2 adult children who barely get buy. I have been helping both.

Do I continue living the style I am accustomed to and let them get the money when I die or do I help them more?

Posted in 70candles, Looking ahead, Where to live, Widows’ choices | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Birth of a new 70Candles! Group

Roseann, Age 70

I would like to share the wonderful birthing of a new 70 Candles Support Group in New Jersey. This past Sunday, Feb. 18, 13 women gathered together at my home for a most beautiful and meaningful Sunday afternoon.

I learned of 70Candles.com a day before my 70th birthday this past Jan. 5. I was immediately drawn to its beautiful healing energy, and the hope, comfort and inspiration afforded to women as we enter these last precious decades…I decided almost immediately that I wanted to form a group, began spreading the word to friends, and asked them to invite their friends etc. I also purchased Jane and Ellen’s book, and the Leader’s Guide. I called my friend Linda who is a therapist like myself, and asked if she would like to co-facilitate with me. The day turned out more wonderful than we could have imagined…

The kitchen table was set with cake, cookies, a fruit salad, some dip and chips, and some cheese and crackers…We also had a box of Valentine chocolates! Everyone came in and filled out information cards and began chatting, as they had coffee, tea and goodies…Then, we went into the living room and officially began our meeting.

The feeling around the room was wonderful…It was as if everyone was hungry for the same things and they felt that here, they could and would receive the emotional and spiritual nourishment they were looking for.

After a brief introduction of the history of 70 candles, we played some music (I chose “A Million Dreams” from the Greatest Showman- I love that song! to begin the group. We ended with a hand-holding circle to John Denver’s ” I Want to Live.”)

We went around the room as each person introduced themselves and spoke about why they wanted to be here, what they were looking for and so on…So many of us were sharing common concerns. We found comfort in being listened to, as we each spoke about our feelings about aging our life situations etc.

We also read and discussed John O’Donohue’s poem, “For a New Beginning”- a beautiful poem that opened the way for lots of wonderful sharings.

We also did a little “Bucket List” exercise, where the women wrote down, not only things they want to do in their life, but who they seek to be, qualities they want to engender in themselves etc. We explained that our list would be visited each month, and could be amended and added to in any way they wanted. We placed the lists in envelopes in a brightly colored yellow bucket- in safe keeping.

The women began talking about how we can be a loving and supportive group for each other- we could visit one another, meet at a diner for breakfast, lunch or dinner, go to a movie, walk or hike with one another, visit each other, run errands for one another and so on…There would be someone to call or email if we needed a helping hand or just felt like having company. We will make an email and phone list to share, so that people could communicate with one another, as well as with the group at large.

We also decided to meet once a month- and in addition to talking about our lives, perhaps have a half hour or so for some educational topic or spiritual practice or physical exercise routine. Members could take turns sharing some of their special techniques or strategies for aging with dignity and love and respect for ourselves and one another. Every one has some gift or talent or story to share- by the age of 60-70, we truly are all teachers!

Our group is filled right now. 13 were there and there were several others who wanted to come, but were unable to, and my home cannot accommodate more than 20 or so comfortably. I will let you know if we can include more as time goes on.

It is easy to form a group…All you need is a friend or two…A cup of coffee or tea, and a willing and listening Heart… Where two or more are gathered, wonderful things can happen.

Dear Friends, we all get lonely and sad…But we can do something about it to make it easier. Sharing our loneliness and sadness with another, truly helps…Please do not isolate- when there are so many who are feeling exactly as you…They too need a friend. Perhaps offer an invitation to just come over and “let’s be 70 together…”

I live in Central New Jersey in the Somerset area-midway between Princeton and Morristown. Even if our group is filled, feel free to connect with me, and I can share with you how perhaps you and a friend or two can begin to form a gathering that will provide you with the comfort you are so deserving of.

I hope you have found this helpful…Women love to help other women…We have so many stories to tell…so much life experience and wisdom to share. And yes, we have so much we can learn from one another.

Blessings to you all…on this amazing Journey we share.
With Love and Peace,

Posted in 70candles, 70Candles! Gatherings, 70Candles! Gatherings - the experience, Networking, Older women connecting, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thinking about death

Anonymous, Age 68 5/8

I will be turning 70 in a couple months. I lost my husband a year and a half ago. I have 3 grandsons ages 6, 8 and 10. To get to the point, recently I have become obsessed with death. I feel I am just sitting around waiting to die.

Have you ever experienced this feeling?

Posted in 70candles, Dealing with loss, Death and dying | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Thanks for letting me vent…

Evelyn, Age 73

Live in Iowa, my birth state. I have always loved my native state, all four seasons. But as I get older, the snow and frigid weather of winter is taking its toll on me. My husband is 71 and his reaction to winter is sitting in front of the tv 16/7. Seriously. The only time we go out is to church, store, doctors. He has a volunteer job six months in the summer. I have a volunteer job at the same place whenever needed. We live out in the country 18 miles from the nearest town, in a small retirement community near a big lake. Most people here go south for the winter. We have lived here for over five years. I usually keep busy with my writing projects. But for the first time, I have become terribly depressed this winter. A couple of health problems have raised their ugly heads, which is no doubt part of the problem. But I am not coping very well. We have two children, four grandchildren, two great- grandchildren. They live two and five hours away. We all visit fairly often, but it’s not like running over for a quick visit. I read a lot, try to stay busy. Most of my friends were left behind when we moved here, so don’t see them often. They do tell me to “get out, exercise, join …this and that.” But my health prevents much of that. Lest someone say I am looking for excuses to not do these things….believe me, I would love to if I could! Thanks for letting me vent. It helps.

Posted in 70candles, Men aging, Older women connecting, Our bodies, our health, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Any ideas that might help?

Jan, Age 77

I am a widow for the 2nd time. First husband died of heart problems after we were married 25 years. We had a wonderful life did everything together. Ten years after he died I remarried a widower who had been married to a dear friend of mine. We had 10 years together and he died of renal failure. We traveled a lot and even spent 8 mos. out of the year on our boat.

I live alone now and in some ways enjoy it. I have a comfortable home, got a drivers license at age 72 (first one) and have enough money to last me the rest of my life if I am careful. I had a hired girl who I loved like a daughter. Anything she wanted I bought for her. She was always there when I needed to see a doctor or drive anywhere after dark. A few months after I lost my last husband I began having constant AFIBs. I went to the hospital for treatment and was put on a drug which apparently I was allergic to because a week after I came home I didn’t feel right so went to a local hospital. The next morning around 1am I suffered cardiac arrest. Was resuscitated and after several weeks came home with a ICD/ Pacemaker in me.

The only family I have is a stepdaughter who travels a lot both here and abroad. She had asked my hired girl to be my next of kin..the one to notify concerning my medical life and notify her. The girl agreed. I had paid for my funeral and she had all of that info., along with other things that would needed to be done if I was unable to take care of them. The week before Thanksgiving 2017 she quit and was very hurtful…not sure why but think it was because I asked her not to use any damp products on the furniture. I had, and found out it was damaging.

I have no family and although I have many friends (school and college friends, etc) I have few here. In the last month I have had 2 pass and another is in bad shape. Since, I keep thinking am I going to die here all alone.

People here are not very friendly. After my husband died many came here (nearly daily) and wanted things…his clothing, tools, furniture, loans (never paid back) and after I told one of the biggest gossips I was going to sign up for Food Stamps (I lied), no one comes…well except for those I pay for yard work, plumbing, snow shoveling etc., all men. I do have 1 friend nearby but she is a doctor and works long hours. She is up early and when she can, goes to bed early so we only do things maybe only once a month in the winter.

I love to eat out in fine restaurants, enjoy day trips etc. and can pay for it and for another. I’d starve before I’d eat out by myself. Also enjoy the conversation of a man but here there are no men of worth. Either too young, looking for someone to take care of them, or are only interested in using a woman for just sex.

Any ideas how I can rid myself of these feelings and enjoy my single life?

Posted in Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Not especially enjoying life

Susan, Age 71


My husband was diagnosed with degerative spinal stenosis 14 years ago. Previous to that we had 15 years of health and financial difficulties after moving to North Carolina. His disease has definitely gotten worse with each year. The past eight years he has been unable to work part time, to go out of town, to walk any distance, and he’s in pain 24/7. In addition our 35-year-old son still lives with us and he also has mental and physical problems.

We had decided to move back to the West Coast before my husband was diagnosed and we followed through on that plan 14 years ago. We live in a two bedroom apartment which is a challenge for three adults. We do not go out to dinner, we do not go to movies or vacations. I try to get out on my own as much as possible but I really find it difficult after having a partner for 40+ years, to do this by myself.

I am really writing just to let others know that there are some of us in our later years that are not especially enjoying life. I am not asking for sympathy or empathy, but just to have people realize how fortunate they are to be able to still enjoy life. My advice, don’t waste a minute worrying about the smaller things.

Posted in Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Making a 70Candles! group

Roseann, Age 70

On Jan. 4, 2018 I found your website through your essay in the book 70 Things to Do When You Turn 70. I placed a posting and was so happy and comforted in the kind and insightful responses of “friends I have never met.”

On Jan. 5, I crossed the threshold and became 70… It was momentous for me, and strangely, after months and months of fearing, worrying, reflecting, planning how to honor and celebrate this special day, I felt a sense of peace and calm…I did it! I made it…I am here now, the best version of myself…and with more visions and dreams and hopes to manifest on this planet even more, the Soul Stirrings that are wordless, but have been inside me- and all of us, I think- since we were children…

So…now, I have put forth an invitation to friends to join in the making of a 70 candles group in my home on Feb. 18. (in New Jersey…) I have just received my ordered copy of your books, and am about to start planning this very happy event.

I would love to hear from any who are running groups if you have any words of guidance as we begin this new adventure! I have many friends in their 60’s and 70’s who are truly in need of the support and encouragement, the vision and dreams such a group can provide. I am truly excited to share this wonderful work!

70 is truly a time to share the LIFE we have lived and the LIFE we yet yearn to live…to BE together in a Heartful and Soulful community…to help all of us really know that we are never alone.

Will keep you posted on our Jersey group and truly look forward to hearing from other group leaders and participants to learn from your wisdom and experiences as we explore 70 and beyond together…

With Love and Gratitude,

Posted in Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments