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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Looking forward to NOT being ambitious

Yvonne, Age 65

First, thank you for starting this blog! It is a great service to we women at or approaching our 8th decade.

I am a clinical psychologist like Ellen. I feel very blessed to have had such a long and rewarding career. I discovered this blog while looking through a file where I had saved interesting articles about retirement. I had saved the January 2014 Monitor on Psychology where Ellen was interviewed. I wasn’t ready to plan a retirement back then but now that my “miracle baby” has graduated high school and will be off to university and his big adventure soon, I feel freer to think of my own future.

I am planning to retire in 2 years. I am lucky to live in a university town where there is an OLLI (OSher lifelong Leaning Institute). I love to learn so I will be active in that. I look forward to cooking meals my son would not be interested in! I look forward to just having some more free time to spend with friends. I will continue my work for political candidates I support and other volunteer work. Not very ambitious plans, I must say, but I look forward to NOT being ambitious. At least for a while . . .

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My life has done a 360-Need inspiration

Nancy, Age 69

70 in 4 months and so much has happened to delay my third act!

On the cusp of finishing a graduate degree and a plan to counsel others for the next decade and suddenly my life has done a 360! A slip in puppy urine on a tile floor sent me crashing and breaking my left leg in several places. Everything has been stalled and darn I am pissed about losing time. I should be grateful that this is not really serious, that I am breast cancer free for ten years now – but this has been so hard.

I need inspiration ladies. Anyone out there experiencing a “hold” on the next decade without family or a partner?

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In a pickle-seeking ideas

Meredith, Age, 69

In a pickle, unsure of where life is taking me. I am real estate poor, no kids, estranged from siblings and divorced for many years. Want to sell everything (hopefully) and move on with the third act and perhaps utilize my degree in counseling for “significant” employment with a small paycheck.

Have worked hard in my own business for years and should be more buttoned up – feeling the way I did when I was first starting out, struggling for good jobs and trying to find a good man. Don’t care now about the man part, just want to be safe and financially secure with a “room of my own” (virginia Woolf). Anybody been there?

Posted in 70candles, Finances, Financial Challenges, Goals ahead, Looking ahead, Networking, What do we do with our time?, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

To LIFE!

Barbara, Age 80

Nancy was a much beloved mentor who shepherded her students through graduate school, unlocked writer`s block and helped dissertations find a home between two hard covers.
At her memorial gathering, staged in her own home, students flew to Michigan from all over the country to show gratitude and remember. As I looked around the room filled with devoted students, I thought of how absolutely ecstatic Nancy would have been to be there among her guests, greeting each one, listening to their stories, exulting in their success. Why do we honor loved ones when they can no longer sit at the table? I wondered.
In that spirit, a month later, we gathered in our garden fifty life long friends for cocktails, laughter, and lively conversation. When they asked what special occasion brought us together, we answered with a toast. “Most of us here are in our 7th, 8th, or 9th decade…we congratulate everyone for getting up the stairs…because of this stage of life, we have over the years lost too many dear friends and family. And so we gather all of you together this afternoon to celebrate…LIFE.”
We raised our glasses and drank to LIFE…”L`chayim” my Indian friend shouted. “Tributes are for the living.” my tipsy 90 year old pal declared and swilled another pina colada.

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Feeling old and scared-reaching out

Noel, Age 69

Having a bit of a struggle with my third act – just fractured my femur and had to put new career plans on hold, in addition to being unable to ride my horse. Graduating soon with a masters in clinical mental health counseling and this was my plan to do 15 hours a week helping people. So, feeling old and scared. Divorced, no children – my two sisters and I are estranged.
There are many of us out there – those that didn’t meet the usual life markers with husbands, children etc. Would love to chat with you!

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Networking, Our bodies, our health, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

The desire for freedom

Gypsy, Age 69

Well, here I am at 69! That dreaded number. I was a little girl who always wanted to be a cowgirl and live on a cattle ranch. I thought I would die young and wreckless. I was a hippie, a biker chick, a mother, a wife, another wife, and another wife. All of whom I love dearly in different ways. I have lost a beloved son which killed me, and emptied my soul and I wanted to die. Now I deal with a willful 40 year old daughter who seems to desperately needs me. I have four granddaughters all under the age of 10. I have always been an artist. Published and professional. I worked most of my life as a paralegal (a Martha Stewart type) and raised my children alone. I have had a massive heart attack. I lived which ended my career. I have a best friend of 45 years who has seen me at my worst and my best. I am torn between my daughter’s needs and my best friend who makes me laugh. I have accepted death and stared it in the face and said, “Not me!”. And sill, I live on with the desire for freedom.

Posted in 70candles, Family matters, Grandparenting, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Spirit of ’76

My birthday weekend is here.

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Having a July 3rd birthday means I can always count the 4th of July fireworks as “mine.” From the beautiful explosions around the lake at summer camp of my childhood, to the extraordinary illuminations nearby and in distant towns seen from the hilltop perch I’ve adopted in my current neighborhood, I have always been awed by these magical displays.

I have to admit as well that I look forward to birthdays that have an associated song…”When I’m 64″ came and went as I and the remaining Beatles passed that landmark, but it did amuse me for that entire year…and now I keep imagining a parade of 76 trombones, as that Music Man tune plays in my head.

Yes, 76…can it be? It seems not very long ago I wrote my blog post about turning 70. I’m more accustomed to the sound of these numbers now than I was then, but this moment bares taking stock.

At 76 I’m feeling grateful for many things…my caring husband, our family, our health, good friends, and the pure good fortune to still be here. I’ve, sadly, seen friends, of all ages die this year, so I’m well-aware that I’m a survivor in this longevity revolution. I’m trying to make good use of this gift of time.

At 70, I allowed myself to be a dabbler, as I gradually retired from a long and satisfying career. Art, music, table tennis, Senior Center and new neighborhood activities. But as the 70Candles! Project expanded from research to blog, to gatherings, and then to the writing and publication of our book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, my focus has shifted. Finishing the book after several years of effort has been akin to the birth of a child. I feel pride in this off-spring and hope it will go forth and succeed.

Now, as I conduct conversations about being this age with groups of women in Senior Centers, independent living centers, in religious venues and in book groups, I continue to learn more about their joys and challenges and the myriad ways they face and solve dilemmas. There is always recognition of common issues and a deep sense of camaraderie in these gatherings

Although I did not expect this turn of events, my “dabbler” energies have become focused on writing…the result of following the flow of 70Candles! activities. Our 70Candles.com blog calls for my attention. Our readers requested and were provided with an email subscriber button. Those who wanted to see groups in their geographic area, now have a Gatherings page on our blog, where leaders can volunteer and anyone can join. We continue to submit columns to the Huffington Post, and we are working on a Leaders Guide to aid those who are eager to assemble groups.

In addition to these pursuits, I notice I rush less and appreciate naps more. I keep exercising…now adding my summer lap swimming to a schedule of excellent exercise classes at the local rec center. I began at eight laps, and am now up to twenty-two. Wonder if I’ll be able to match last year’s finale of 50 laps.

Keeping healthy is an excellent goal, but alas we have no control over some things. My hearing is waning. A ironic blow to someone whose career has been devoted to communication disorders. To deal with this problem I wear audiologist recommended hearing aids and let everyone I talk with know they need to face me. I’m particularly emphatic to strangers on the phone, “I have trouble hearing…please speak directly into the phone, and more slowly!”

There’s closed caption on our home TV’s, and I frequent a movie theatre that provides a handy closed caption device that sits in the cup holder of my armrest. The microphone and small amplifier I bring to discussion groups is a savior, for me and for those in the circle of conversation, many of whom also strain to hear.

I’ve read that older people report a greater sense of well-being even in the face of physical problems. I hope the tenets of Positive Psychology play out in my life this year, for my continued sense of well-being. They are Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. We shall see…

Onward toward 77!

How do you feel about your upcoming birthday?

Jane

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, Family matters, Goals ahead, GOALS: Summer Challenges, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ageless Authors

I participated in an Ageless Authors book signing event at the Dallas Half-Price Books flagship store, today. All the authors, of prose and poetry were over 65 and had begun their writing late in life. They were an encouraging group, believing that everyone has stories to tell, and should give writing a try…even if just sharing historical family tales that can be handed down to future generations.

For those interested, the agelessauthors.com contest…for anyone 65 or older…is receiving submissions until August 15, 2016 for essays, short stories, poetry and line drawings. Winners will be published in this year’s anthology.

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Jane

Posted in 70candles, Networking, Poetry, Stories, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A proud accomplishment

Sally,  Nearly 70

I feel like tooting my own horn and I’m gad to find this site to do it.

On May 3 of this year I received my BA degree in Liberal Arts. My plan was to get that done before I turn 70 and turning 70 happens on Thursday, June 16th. I look in the mirror and sometimes wonder who is that woman, but on the inside I am still who I was at 25. (Well, there is some difference) I have issues with clothes so I figure I can wear whatever I want. I can be who ever I want to be!!!!!! Lets do the happy dance!!!!

I want to share my work so please visit me at Mnartists.org/sally-warlick

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Goals ahead, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Antidote to retirement malaise

Deborah,  Just turned 70

Sometime during the night after midnight, I turned 70 years old! Wow, how did that happen so fast?

In the days leading up to this event, I found myself in a sort of a funk and then I remembered the many female friends over the years who did not make it this far in life–Diane, Jan, Louise, Mary Lu. Quickly, this realization turned to an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I’m in reasonable good health with a loving husband who is also in reasonably good health, four adult children who are productive members of society, 6 healthy, loving grandchildren, a 40-year teaching career behind me, friends, a strong church, and a new place to call home.

My biggest blessing is having a wonderful husband, albeit, 9 years my senior, who at my urging, was willing to pull up stakes and move to Bend, Oregon, after 40 years living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This adventure has turned out to be just what the malaise that came after retirement for us from meaningful careers needed. With several friends and family in the area, it seemed like the best place to move to.

Yes, our lives are full of doctor visits, a few aches and pains from overdoing because we think we are still in our fifties. We exercise, eat healthy, enjoy friends and family, worship regularly and volunteer through our church. I think the perfect retirement if one is able, is one third work, one third volunteering and one third playing! I took up quilting in retirement and find it to be an outlet for creativity after leaving teaching.

The hardest thing for me about aging is difficulty sleeping through the night. I know it is a combination of hormones and a brain that is hard to turn off. I know I’m not alone in this and wonder if there are other 70 year old women out there with similar sleeping issues. The only medications I take are a statin and an anti-acid so I don’t think it is that.

I know the future holds many challenges that will come as we get even older, so I’m really trying to relish each day.

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Family matters, Goals ahead, Gratitude and Spirituality, Looking ahead, Networking, Resilience, What do we do with our time?, Where to live, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments