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!! 

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Our interview by blogger JudiBoomergirl

“70Candles!” Shares Advice on Positive Aging
Posted on May 18, 2016 by Judi
life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers

Last month, The New York Times journalist Jane Brody wrote an article about “Thriving at Age 70 and Beyond.” I enjoy reading Jane’s weekly columns on Personal Health, but this one was especially appealing. Jane mentioned a blog called 70Candles!, with stories from women in their 70s, and a book by the same title written by bloggers (and now authors) Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole.

While I am fast approaching my 60s, I was intrigued by the advice that these two long-term friends had to share about how women are “thriving in their 8th decade.” I contacted Jane and Ellen to ask if they would participate in an interview for my blog. Their wisdom about positive aging is very inspiring for baby boomer women who are following in their footsteps. It’s great to know that there is much to look forward to into our 70s, 80s, 90s, and maybe 100s! (Note: if you cannot view the video below please click here.)

A Practical and Positive Guide
The book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, is a compilation from the conversations that Jane and Ellen had during gatherings with women of this era and from many of the women who contributed to their blog. The authors do a great job pulling all the pieces together into as they say, “a practical and positive guide to have at your side as you traverse your seventies.” Included are lessons learned from their gatherings, a review of pertinent literature on this topic, and a look at the future. In the back section is a handy reference with relevant web sites and additional readings.

The Taos Institute, the publishers of the book, kindly provided a copy of 70Candles! for a giveaway. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below and leave a comment on how you intend to stay vibrant during your second act.

Now let’s hear more from Jane and Ellen:

70candles.com; 70Candles!; septuagenarian women; septuagenarians
Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole created the blog 70candles.com and wrote the book, “70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade.”

Q: Why did you start the blog 70candles.com?
A: “Dear friends since age fourteen, we visited together in Texas just before turning seventy. We couldn’t believe we were this age. Seventy sounded old to us, but we didn’t feel “old.” We wondered what lay ahead.

Academics that we were, we started reading to see what we could learn. But research we came upon was all about the downside of aging. We called them “sick granny studies.” We then decided to ask women themselves…and so the 70candles.com blog was born. It continues today with women from many countries responding to each other in heartfelt posts and comments. We invite your readers to join the conversation.”

70candles.com; septuagenarian women; reinvention at midlife; retirement

Q: What encouraged you to take the next step and write a book?
A: “We found few books on this subject, so early on we imagined writing one. The 70Candles! project eventually included gatherings of women in various cities. Women in these conversation groups let us know that they wanted to learn more about this period of life, in this era of extended longevity.

With knowledge we accumulated from our extensive reading, from the blog and the conversation groups, and through Ellen’s study in the Master of Arts in Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania, we felt we were ready to create a book. We were pleased that The Taos Institute, purveyors of the on-line Positive Aging Newsletter, was willing to publish it. It seemed a perfect fit.”

Q: What are the most important things you learned about septuagenarian women from your work on your blog and book? Any “aha” moments?
A: “We learned above all that women our age enjoy talking about this period of their life, and they welcome opportunities to share with other women. The issues summarized in our book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, are those that struck a chord with women everywhere.”

70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade; septuagenarian women; septuagenarians; positive aging

Q: What is different about women in their 70s versus 50s and 60s?
A: “We found that women turning 70 began to think, many for the first time, about years left to live, instead of years already lived. They began to think about their next step in housing-downsizing, perhaps, one-floor homes, even senior living facilities. And of course retirement was by now a done-deal or very much on their minds, so the 70’s, much more than the 50’s and 60’s, are years of re-creating and re-imagining one’s purpose and daily activities. We found this was especially true for professional women who had long identified with their careers.”

Q: I’m approaching 60 in a few years. Any advice for this decade and into my 70s for living a full life?
A: “Try writing your obituary, or if that sounds too maudlin, call it “My Life in Summary.” This is likely to point you in the direction of your best self in the years to come. Also, find ways to connect with age-mates, as we noted above. This is our #1 recipe for a long life well-lived.”

Thanks Jane and Ellen for sharing your wisdom. For more stories from women in their 70s, I encourage you to check out 70candles.com. And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. One lucky winner will receive a copy of their book!


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This entry was posted in aging, baby boomer women, books, boomer blogger, boomer trends, boomer wellness, boomer women, caregiving, emptynester, grandparenting, life after 50, midlife, rave and review, Raves and Reviews, reinvention, retirement, widowhood and tagged 70candles, aging, baby boomer women, boomer blogger, boomer trends, boomer wellness, boomer women, caregiving, life after 50, reinvention, retirement, septuagenarian women,

Written by Judy Freedman by Judi.

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Learning and growing

Alice,  Age 75

I was 75 in april.  I have 2 married children and 6 grandkids ranging from 13 to 29.  Two of my my grandkids r married.  I taught art and ballet for 30 years for the NYC board of education in the south bronx.  It was a tough job but it prepared me for travel in many 3rd world countries.  When I retired I got a job as a tour guide and went all over the world for 2 years leading tours.  I got fired when my daughter had a baby and had post partum depression.  I asked for time off in high season and was told nobody gets time off in high season….if u leave it’s good by and good luck.  Of course I left and helped my daughter .

I have been divorced since 1970, but I live with a man since 1976. we r not married as i don’t believe in marriage for myself any more.  I have a home in south florida and a home in a ny suburb.  I take belly dance lessons and spend at least an hour a day walking my dog.  I try to travel when ever I can as a way of learning, and growing.  I hope to stay healthy enough to live a full exciting life…meeting new people, seeing new things, learning new languages, and connecting with my grandkids. this summer I plan to tour the Rhine river and amsterdam with my almost 16 year old grandgirl.  I hope she can keep up with me!!!!

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Reaching out to women in the SF Bay Area

Paula,  Age 74

This month I rejoined the world of many of you who walk this journey. I departed from a retirement job of 16 years.  Like all things the job and I had changed and I am moving on.  The moments in this separation are bumpy, unexpected and can lead me away from my true self.  It’s probably why I didn’t choose to leave earlier.

Rather than write the storyline, I am reaching out to women who live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I want to create or join other women or men in a way that will help us all thrive and be happy.  I awoke this morning focused on my curiosity of how to be creative and positive in community.  Please email me if you are interested in joining me.  I welcome your response.

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What’s missing?

Bunny,  Age 70

Today is Sunday. After getting bored with FB I decided to google, ‘Info for women over 70’ and to my surprised you guys appeared.  I am thrilled.
I was born, raised, educated and continue to live in Southern California.  I was married 20 years and have been divorced for 20.  I have two adult children, and four grandchildren ranging in ages 18 – 2. I have one sister and one brother who live close by.  I love them all.  I am a retired educator, and a 10 year breast cancer survivor.
My life: I am on two non-profit advisory boards and two committees at church.  I belong two a book club, and one National Organization.  I have a game night every week with a group of friends and meet with another group of high school friends every three months or so.  I also have a base group that I have been friends with for 40 years or so and a few BFF’s, so why am I feeling like there is something missing?
I am in my bedroom that I have been trying to straighten up for weeks, to no avail.  Books, mail, magazines, clothes everywhere.  It is depressing…
I used to send info out on email regarding community events so much that I was encouraged to start a blog.  I said I would, but…I also started to write a series of travel books for children, but…
Physically, I have diabetes that is under control, high blood pressure that is under control, and I am having a problem with one of my knees. I am also overweight, but have lost 10 lbs in the last 3 weeks, so I am on a roll.  Most people guess that I am in my early 60’s, no wrinkles, no make-up and I just cut my hair and dyed the front blond. A new look for me.
I guess that’s about it. I’m so happy I found you.

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Family matters, Networking, Our bodies, our health, Share your story, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Freedom in being this age

Peggy,   Age 69

I have been reading your book and feel sad for so many that feel their life is over.  I still work 10 hour days as an OB nurse.  Yes I go home tired but so do my much younger coworkers who have children to take care of.  My boyfriend of ten years and I go country dancing every weekend and we are not the oldest by far.  Several are in their 90’s.  Do we have achey hips, knees?  Sure but we forget because we are having fun.  I go to the gym or walk 5 miles 3-5 days a week.  Do I like looking in the mirror?  It’s an adjustment that’s for sure but some women look worse and some look better.  But my friends and I laugh and joke about how are bodies have changed.  I feel a certain freedom in being my age.  I no longer care what people think.  I hope I embrace 70’s all the way to 80

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Moved to Maui



Ronnee,  Age just 73
Although stories can start at the beginning (birth) mine will start 6 years ago when my husband got sick. No need for details but he died and I looked around and wondered why I was staying in Boston.
I had 2 great teaching jobs but really nothing else. So the year I turned 70 I took a little trip that included Hawaii.
My step son had lived there for over 15 years and he and his wife were so excited about me moving there.
So I went home with a list of what I had to do so I could move the following year.
Again I won’t bore you with the entire list but the first 4 were: job, income and money, health insurance and subletting my rental appt.
just like a pile of dominos EVERYTHING worked, health insurance did put up a few kinks.
Just Quickly: I moved and am living on maui now.
I also made a list of at least 20 things I could do when I moved (so I wouldn’t be bored). As some of your bloggers wrote I was always on the go. a strange thing has happened–I am very comfortable doing very little as long as my brain can stay active. I still feel guilty about this (Jewish Guilt)
I’ll write soon about the difficulties of finding friends.

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Feeling sad

Carol,  Almost 70
My name is Carol and I live in upstate New York.  I will be turning 70 June 3rd.  I am bothered by it as I know I do not have a big future anymore.  I am doing a lot of deep thinking and am fearful of all the negative things I have to face at my age.

I am the youngest of three sisters who were always very tight and when I lost my middle sister right on my birthday four years ago it was devastating to me.  My oldest sister is ailing and is 78 years old so my future is staring me in the face every day when I see her.  My husband is a smoker and he also turned 70 in April and refuses to quit.  Always saying “We all have to die of something.”  So I have a terrible fear of losing him because he has been my rock for 34 years and loves me dearly.  I only have one daughter who is turning 50 on Sunday and a mother of a six year old, who is her first and only child.  My granddaughter takes up all of my daughter’s free time so I don’t get to see her often. She had her at 43 so she is her whole life and has very little time for me.

I feel big changes in my memory, my ability to articulate, and seem to not have much motivation.  I want to do so many things but it takes a lot for me to push myself to get started.  I have many interests, hobbies friends, and have faith in God so all of that does help but my problem seems to be believing and living what I know.  In other words I don’t feel positive about much of anything .

I know I am not depressed because I don’t have many of the seven signs and I still push forward daily, take care of myself, my home, my pets, cook for hubby every night but I feel sad allot of the time.  I see the changes in my face and it bothers me as makeup doesn’t seem to do it for me anymore.  I was always told I don’t look my age but I have noticed lately I finally am looking old.  I do not want stay in this place but my sadness seems to linger on.  I am still healthy and have many blessing to be grateful for but still sad.  Alas

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Not so uplifting or pleasant

Anonymous,  Age 86
Are you interested in the story and comments of an 87-year-old (who retired from her job at 85)?

What if the things I told you were not as uplifting or pleasant as you would like?  For example, I might tell you about women romantic rivals who used my age against me.  Or doctors that are obviously bored with an older woman’s “trivial” symptoms.  How hard it is to make new friends or meet new lovers at 87.  What regrets I have, what I do not regret.

I am dealing quite well, I think, with things like this but would like to know how other women are sorting them out.

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Emerging from winter snows

Susan,  Age 77

I enjoy everyone’s comments…they enrich my vision of myself.  I live in the Colorado mountains and we are just emerging from the winter snows.  Living in a resort is very beautiful but in the winter our lives are limited to snow related events.  I have taught myself to use every type the technology that is available.  I have iPads and iPhones and I watches and electronic books and Netflix etc. etc. etc.  I have come to love these sources of entertainment.  I also have Sirius so that I can listen to NPR and Potus and the BBC.  It’s quite a rich life though I wish I had lots of friends like when one is in college or when you have small children.



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Reclaiming elderhood

Lisbet,  Age 69
I’m thrilled to know about your blog!
I work in a part-time position as Development Director/Community Liaison for www.NeighborsWhoCare.net, a small nonprofit who cares for impoverished elders who still live at home but are isolated, lonely and often depressed. They have fallen through the cracks for social services. That’s how I came upon this blog.

Trained in opera, theatre and dance, I’m a performance artist, writer, teacher of sacred circle dance, practitioner of Zen Shiatsu and Heart Mind Integration Healing (ww.HMIHealing.com), Lover of Life.

Born to a family of wizards, my grandfather was an “American illustrator” who painted glorious canvasses for Saturday Evening Post, among others. My brother was a classical dancer. My dad a hardware salesman. My Mom, now 97 with early stage Alzheimer’s and a live-in caregiver, a Mom.

My son is a 27-year-old Indigo, becoming a Crystal. He has his own wisdom, but he is not yet an elder. I told him early on that he was from a family of wizards; that the muggles would not understand his passionate, outside-the-box nature. He graduates from college in 2 days. He’s jittery, excited, contemplative, wise.

It has long been my contention that we “older people” should be called “Elders,” as in “tribal” or “of the church,” people with experience, knowledge, wisdom, love and compassion to share. “If you call me elderly, I’ll take away your library card!” is my favorite line for making the point.

I feel we need to change the paradigm of eldership.
Stephen Jenkinson does too. He has written “Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul” for death-phobic North America. He runs his Orphan Wisdom School with his wife. They are Canadians.

And I will be attending his upcoming 4-day workshop:
“OLD TIME: Learning Elderhood” ~ Rowe Camp & Conference Center
June 9 @ 6:00 pm – June 12 @ 12:00 pm
The Rowe Center, 22 Kings Hwy, Rowe, MA 01367 United States
“Getting older is inevitable. Getting to be an elder is not.”

It’s time we reclaimed elderhood!! Yes, I’m feeling aches and like the tin man, want some oil for my joints. Yes, I gained 8.4 pounds on a 10-day spiritual Ireland tour led by a magnificent spiritual elder who’s spry and was jumping over fences to lead us past cow pastures to sacred Druid sites.
Yes, I’m having the best physical pleasure I have ever had in my life.
Yes, yes, yes! I “flourish” and see the glass as half full. Oh yes, I am “living peace into being” as Thich Nhat Hanh, celebrity Vietnamese Buddhist monk who just suffered a brain aneurism exhorts us to do, through “engaged Buddhism.” We have so much to give and experience and live.

And as Barbara Marx Hubbard says, because of the planetary shift in 2012 we are evolving as a human race. I feel so very blessed to be alive at this moment in time!

Blessed be,

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Family matters, Goals ahead, Gratitude and Spirituality, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, Stories, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment