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

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.
Sincerely,
With Love and Peace,
Roseann

Posted in 70candles, 70Candles! Gatherings, 70Candles! Gatherings - the experience, Networking, Older women connecting, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 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 , , | 5 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 , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Not especially enjoying life

Susan, Age 71

Hello,

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,
Roseann

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

There is so much yet to See

Roseann, Age 70

Just wanted to share a story I wrote in the eve of my 70th Birthday…I hope you enjoy it and that it provides smiles to your day…

It is the eve of my 70th Birthday…I wonder what I was doing, thinking, feeling 70 years ago, when I knew I was about to enter the lives of Sarah and Willie…as their first born child. I wonder if I was gazing down from our some star and viewing the brownstone houses on Henry Street in Brooklyn, a tidy Italian-American neighborhood, the third floor apartment, with a little bedroom tucked in the corner of the railroad apartment that would be my home for 10 wonderful years. I wonder what I was doing, thinking, feeling- knowing that my Life was about to start, but perhaps not fully knowing at all where it would take me.

My dad told me I was born late at night, maybe around 11 pm. He said he was at the hospital, Long Island College Hospital, just a few blocks from our home on 487 Henry Street. He told me that when he came home, he yelled in the corridor, “It’s a girl!“ and woke up my grandparents. If I remember his story correctly, I think he said something like my grandmother came out in the hallway and said, “That’s nice,” and went back to bed! I was the second grandchild of a future large grouping of future grandchildren- each of us waiting in line, I guess, for our time to be born and share the Journey together.

I was always shy and I believe, a little fearful in those early years. When I was 7, I found out from newly innovated eye exams at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Elementary School, that I had really bad vision, with really bad astigmatism and I really needed glasses, badly! I remember the first time I put them on- a whole new world opened up to me. Before that, everything was foggy. People’s faces were foggy, I couldn’t see too far down our block- but I thought that was how things were! Once I could see better on the outside, I think I also felt more real on the inside- maybe because the world was now more connected to me, maybe because the fog had lifted. But wearing glasses at that age and time had a price tag to pay- I was called “four eyes,” made fun of and so began the beginning of self-consciousness…of not feeling pretty or good enough…and we all know how those paradigms go and where they lead to.

Throughout the many years that followed, my glasses would be always on again, off again; in my pocket, on my face, back to my pocket. In school, wear them. Outside of school, go back to the fog of self-consciousness, and a sense of inferiority. This went on until I was about 20 years old.

I went to Puerto Rico with my then boyfriend, then husband and then ex-husband and now friend, Peter. Totally chaperoned by every relative there. One day, we went into town, and as usual I had my glasses in my pocket. We were on the steps of a church and I remember seeing so much color around me- I said to myself, “I have to take a peek to see what this really looks like.” So I sneaked my glasses on when no one would see me and I saw this amazing world of beauty all around me…The town, the flowers, the waters beyond…Right there and then, I realized how stupid I had been all those years of choosing to stay in the fog because so many years before that, someone had called me “four eyes.”

I decided then and there, that was the end of that…I would wear my glasses- because I wanted to see the world. I wanted to see people’s faces- to know who it was who was waving to me from across the street! I wanted to see the Beauty all around me…

This story comes to mind on the eve of my 70th Birthday…All through the decades, we transform, we change, we grow…We learn, we suffer, we cry, we laugh and smile. We are confused and lost, we are found and reborn- over and over again. We love and are loved, we abandon and are abandoned, we yearn, we dream, we hope, we desire. We explore and search…We find Truth and we somehow find the courage to honor all that Truth shows us. We are at war with ourselves, we make peace with ourselves. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade, little by little, we find a Sacred Place within our own Hearts…It was always there, it was always there. The Love was always there.
In that Sacred Place, there is no fog…and there is also no need for glasses…We see the story of our lives unfolding before us. We now see how all the millions of life experience moments have been creating this most precious Mosaic…It is the Story of our Life. It is the Imprint Life has made upon our Soul, and it is the unique and precious Imprint that we have made upon Life.
As I write this, I can visualize my mother, Sarah and my dad, Willie, here with me. I wonder what they would say to me… I thank them deeply for being the channel for my Birth and my Life. Their Essences are interwoven within me and are their Gifts to me on this special birthday.

So as I now cross this threshold to a new decade of life, I am aware that the time ahead of me is so much less than the time that has passed. I want to live each day as preciously as I can, as sacredly as I can, with as much Love and Commitment and Gratitude as I can. I want to SEE clearly…Though there is so much hardship and suffering in our world, I want to also see the Beauty and Love, feel the Beauty and Love that Life- All Life, All Sentient Beings- has to give…There stirs within an unquenchable desire for Ongoingness…

I remember well a quote from Anne Frank’s diary- unbeknownst to her, that her diary would one day be found, she had written, “I want to go on living even after my death…” And so she has- and she didn’t have to plan it or manipulate it in any way to make it happen. I kind of feel like that- I want to go on living even after my death… And I realize that the best way to be remembered is to live well, making beautiful memories with every person who touches my day…open to the imprint that they make upon me, and humbly grateful that I can-in some way- also create an imprint of memory upon them.

And so on the Eve of my 70th Birthday, I am filled with a new sense of Life that awaits me and all. I plan to celebrate this birthday in some small way every day of the year! Living each new day as a new Birth Day…I wear my glasses very proudly now…Thankful, there is so much yet to See…

With My Love and Peace Always,
Roseann

Posted in Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Positive Aging: What’s the Secret?

Hello friends,

Here’s a link for a webinar I created and presented with my daughter, Gabrielle for our mutual sorority’s Alumnae speaker series. It was a special and rare pleasure to have a project to share with her.

It requires a registration, but there is no charge for it, and no further obligation on your part.

It’s  an intergenerational discussion about aging well…                     You’ll see why we called it “Postive Aging: What’s the Secret?”

It lasts about 38 minutes (a little less if you move the time line during the initial pause as people signed on), so make yourself comfortable for the viewing.

We hope you’ll find it interesting and will share your thoughts and reactions.

My best,                                                                                                           Jane

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3796301777269354499

Posted in 70candles, Ageism anecdotes, Caretaking, Gratitude and Spirituality, Older women connecting, Resilience, Where to live, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aging gracefully in the West Indies

Anette, Age 72

Hi,
I am 72, mixed Asian and living my life to the fullest and I want to share some thoughts with my kindred spirits. I live in a tropical island in the West Indies. I have four grown children who live away from me, and six grands. I no longer babysit, as I have made that abundantly clear a while ago. I love my family..they are my joy and passion, but now I am living for me.. My husband passed away in 2015, so I live alone in my spacious house. I still work part time, I like being alone because being alone has a power few people can handle.

I weigh 127 pounds, petite 5′ 2″, adequately proportioned as well and I am in good health so far. I dress classy, wear 4′ heels and wear appropriate makeup. I am always complimented about my looks for my age and I still attract the opposite sex. I have discovered that I am more in tune with a forty year old guy than one nearer my age. I find them impotent in comparison.

I attribute my health to my continuous use of Premarin, since my menopause at 55 years, which is advised against by health professionals worldwide. My own view is that when your body stops producing estrogens, everything starts shutting down agewise- so what’s the harm in continuing to introduce this remarkable hormone into your system? Personally, the pros far outweigh the cons as evidenced by myself. I am not in any gym, I do a bit of walking now and then. I have a very active social life and I enjoy attending live shows, card games, travelling and I love sharing naughty jokes with my few friends, Actually, I have far outlived my contemporaries,some of whom are still around, but they are not enjoying good health.

I consider myself blessed as I optimistically look forward to another fulfilling year of my life. I never ask for many years, all I want is one more as I fully live in the now. That’s the only sure thing in my life as tomorrow is never promised. My eating habits have always been the same, small quantities several times per day and I partake of everything that I like and want to eat.

I shall appreciate hearing from any 70’s who share similarities with me.
Regards,

Anette.

Posted in 70candles, Family matters, Older women connecting, Our bodies, our health, Where to live | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

In sickness and in health

Anonymous,  Almost 70

I have had a few health scares of late…one of them possible Glaucoma….but not tested yet due to a terrible reaction to some medicine prescribed for eyelid dermatitis by one ophthalmologist which propelled visit to another ophthalmologist He is the one who said you might have glaucoma but we both chose not to test for it at this point because of skin/eye irritation from the medicine I have been taken. I have an appt. with him in 3 weeks for Glaucoma test.

Why I am really writing to Seventy Candles…is for any special advice on how to be in the moment with such worries and possible illnesses or whatever. I know as they say it can be worse….and have always had a bit of a hypochondria personality…but my love of life personality always managed to outweigh it….but lately not as easy…and I’m turning 70 this month ..and I wonder if that makes me more anxious. I don’t like this new me. However, I still love life, I am active etc..but this hypochondria and some very real possibilities is seeming to get more attention in my mind.

Have any of you experienced this? Any advice from any of you insightful women on how to deal with this would be so appreciative.

Best.

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Our bodies, our health | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments