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 | 30 Comments

Ireland-to do as I like

Pam,  Age 74

Hi all,
I’m 74 and not finished. I would like to accomplish one more item on my to do list, which is to travel back to Ireland alone. Spend a few weeks/months just doing my stuff. Many years ago I visited Ireland with my spouse (at the time), but didn’t feel free to do some of the things that I wanted to do. I plan to rent a car and travel, but not sure about driving on the wrong side of the road. I don’t want to take a bus tour. I would also like to rent a cottage to do my writing and just do as I like. Any feed back would be welcome.

Posted in 70candles, Goals ahead, Looking ahead, Networking, Older women connecting, Traveling, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Am I too late?

Valerie,  Age, 697

I have read some of the submissions and really like that the two of you want to hear about how we flourish. At least that’s what I heard, or understood. What about if I didn’t flourish. What about the rude awakening that what I thought I was doing was living, not realizing, that I was sliding quickly into 70!

I divorced after 24 years, my 4th marriage! I was raised by a mom who had three children, by three different husbands. I had two sons, with two different husbands. I was not encouraged to go to college, my step dad was unfit, I was banished at 17 and had to find my own place to live.

I was ill a great deal during my life, have had many many surgeries, didn’t ever make a career out of the opportunities that were afforded to me. WISH so much that I had, now. Had no financial training, don’t have retirement locked up. Never knew who I was or what I wanted to do.

Did a lot of not so good things in my mid life. Took care of both my parents before they died. Although they were not married for many years, and I missed that very much.

I would like to know, am I too late, will I make it to a happy place? Why didn’t I become the woman I see you have become? I am grateful but afraid, and hope and pray, although I am not very good at that, either, that I can someday believe that I did my best, with the tools I had and that I tried so very hard.

I have recently met two woman who will turn 70 this summer with me. We are so different and all shocked that we are 70! I am so glad I met them, we will celebrate and flourish as we do.

Take care,

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Caretaking, Family matters, Finances, Networking, Older women connecting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Mothering middle-aged women

Sandra Butler,  Age 79

Hello everyone,

As I approach my 80th birthday and move into my next decade of candles, I’m delighted to let you know about my newest book, It Never Ends: Mothering Middle-Aged Women written with close friend and colleague Nan Gefen, and published by She Writes Press.

As mothers enter the last decades of our lives, the historic roles we’ve held with our daughters often shift and change in complicated ways. Now that we are no longer central in caring for them as we once were, many women report experiencing a recalibrating of authority, autonomy, and independence.

It Never Ends is a long overdue exploration of the complex challenges and unexpected rewards of aging mothers in their relationships with their midlife daughters. Based on interviews with women between 65 and 85, we illuminate the complex issues of closeness, distance, longing, and need that arise. Mothers reflect upon the ongoing effects of the past on the present, the cultural, familial, and interpersonal conflicts that remain, and the varied and often invisible ways they continue mothering. The book reveals mothers’ courage as they reflect on the mistakes they’ve made, acknowledge their regrets, and search to come to terms with their relationships as they now are.

I’m delighted to join you on these pages and eager to hear your response, thoughts, questions and ideas about how this conversation can move forward.

Posted in 70candles, Caretaking, Family matters, Parenting, Share your story | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Positive Aging: A dialog with the authors

The Taos Institute, purveyors of the Positive Aging Newsletter, and publishers of three books about aging well, recently hosted a week-long online chat and webinar. The books are 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, (Giddan & Cole), Retiring But Not Shy: Feminist Psychologists Create Their Post-Careers, (Cole & Gergen, Eds.), and Pathways to Positive Aging: Dog Days with a Bone and Other Essays, (Gergen & Gergen).
Participants from far and wide joined authors, Jane Giddan, Ellen Cole and Mary Gergen, in discussing a range of topics important to those studying, and those experiencing, life in this era of extended longevity.
The 1.5 hour live webinar was videotaped, and is available for viewing, at https://taoslearning.ning.com
We hope after you see it you’ll share with our 70Candles! community, your ideas and reactions to any of the many the themes presented…..Join the conversatiion anytime, here on our 70candles.com blog.
We look forward to reading your postings.
Jane and Ellen
Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, Ageism anecdotes, Dealing with loss, Family matters, Financial Challenges, Grandparenting, Gratitude and Spirituality, HUMOR, Men aging, Networking, Older women connecting, Resilience, Share your story, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dialogue with the authors- Our Taos webinar

For those interested, our week-long online chat and the video of our 1.5 hour- long webinar about Positive Aging, are available for viewing at this link:


The blog there continues on, so feel free to add your comments.

Let us know what you think!

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, Ageism anecdotes, Dealing with loss, Financial Challenges, Grandparenting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So glad I found you!

Jan,  Age 71

I am 71. I work full time at a challenging job. I exercise a lot. I have a loving family and friends of all ages. My life is good….but I feel isolated.

I don’t have a peer group. I see very few women my age who are still working full time. I live in the suburbs of a small Massachusetts city, and I don’t see any working women my age. I am one of the oldest people in my company. I worry they are going to decide I’m simply too old and try to put me out to pasture. Who would hire someone my age?

I would love to have a working buddy my age to share the challenges and silly things that go along with this age. I consider myself fairly tech savvy, but that didn’t stop me from trying to plug my computer in the Wii instead of the modem. Share that story with younger people and they think you are ready to be put out to pasture.

Or, how can I explain to a 40 year old that my brain just froze in the middle of trying to pronounce a difficult word and that it needs to be rebooted? They surely will think that’s a sign of dementia instead of a normal part of a multi-tasking life.

Stumbling over this group and finding your book has been a blessing. Thank you all for being there and for sharing your journeys.



Posted in 70candles, Networking, Older women connecting, Technology and contemporary culture, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

I want much more…

Pat,  Age 70

I turned 70 this week…15 years ago, my husband moved out of our bedroom and never returned…but we live together, and at this point, are friends. But we went through years of fights and hatred. He says he doesn’t remember any of it. I am here because it is easier. And he can pay the bills.
But, I have not been touched or held in 15 years,,,
I want much more than I have…but at 70, who would even begin to want me?

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Dating after 70, Finances, Men aging, Our bodies, our health | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Mark your calendar! Dialogue with the authors online


November 6 – 10, 2017

Posted by Dawn Dole, Taos Institute

Monday – Thursday, November 6-10, we will engage in conversation online in a virtual, asynchronous web space. Sharing stories, asking questions, learning, exploring with the authors and the others who join in online.

Friday, we will close the week with a live webinar with the authors Jane Giddan, Ellen Cole, and Mary Gergen. We hope you will join in all week, at your own pace and schedule, and then culminate the week with the live webinar.

This Week in Dialogue with the Authors will focus on Positive Aging through the lens of three books. The authors contribute to a growing appreciation of the aging process while challenging the longstanding view of aging as decline. By focusing on the positive aspects of aging, retirement and opportunities in our 8th decade and beyond, these authors explore the availability of resources, skills, and resiliencies. They bring useful insights and stories into the realm of practice but create hope and empower action among older people. By moving beyond the stereotypes of repair and prevention, to emphasize growth-enhancing activities, we can contribute more effectively to the societal reconstruction of aging. These books are great for anyone who is interested, engaged and oriented toward continuing enrichment over the life course.


This book is a treasure trove for erasing the stereotypes that darken the vision of aging, and encountering the passing years as a marvelous gift. It is a persuasive document declaring that we are indeed fortunate to grow old. Reinventing aging is to focus on the gains of aging is to realize that the later years are among the richest and most rewarding of one’s life.

As they turned 70, the authors of 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade set out to investigate how women their age and older were living their lives. They sought role models for themselves and messages for the droves of baby boomers on their heels. They were curious about the challenges and joys of their age-mates, their work and retirement status, living arrangements, family and social connections, and more. This book, informative and inspirational, describes what they found in their reading, their ongoing 70candles.com blog, and 70candles conversation groups held in various parts of the U.S.

The stories in RETIRING BUT NOT SHY combine to produce an inspiring, poignant, funny, motivating rich mosaic on the stage of life, “retirement.” Whether these amazing feminist authors are “poised on the diving board,” in “the mid-air plunge,” or in “splash down and re-entry,” they provide very honest, informative personal and professional experiences and insights as they look back, as well as forward. It is a superb discourse on the variety of ways to engage with this stage of life. Readers (women and men, retired or not) will laugh and cry and relate to the humbling parts of life. We can all be inspired to make choices now to have meaningful and rich futures. — Melba Vasquez, PhD, ABPP

How to join in:

Monday – Thursday – visit this webpage every day for a few minutes. Read the posts, share, comment, and ask questions. Come as often as you like during the day and week.

Friday, Nov 10, 2017 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (US and Canada)- join the live webinar. To register for the webinar, go to this link:

Register at this link before Nov. 10th: https://taoslearning.ning.com

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Posted in 70candles, Caretaking, Dealing with loss, Grandparenting, Looking ahead, Networking, Older women connecting, Resilience, What do we do with our time?, Where to live, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Old with purpose and gratitude

Bobbi Fisher,  Age 77

I’m old. Not in the physical ways of a person age 77, but I’m old in years, and that very fact guides the sense of meaning that I feel and experience in my life. Put succinctly, more and more my age is becoming the filter through which I lead my life. Now that I’ve said that, let me go on to say that I continue to live fully.

I’ve had a rich life. Wonderful parents, great husband for 54 years, two children, four grandchildren. My teaching career was rewarding; I published six books for teachers describing my experiences as a kindergarten and first grade teacher. When I retired I earned a divinity degree and became the spiritual care counselor for a local hospice.

I ask myself if now I am really retired. Well, yes and no. Yes, in that I have more free and unscheduled time to satisfy my longing for silence, solitude and simplicity, which I blog about in www.acottagebythesea.net and more time to attend to my spiritual life, which I blog about in www.aprayerdiary.net. I have more time to spend with family and friends, to help at my church, to read for pleasure, to travel, and to write.

No, I am not retired because, as I just described, I still have purpose. For most of my life this quest for meaning was unconscious, but as my 80th birthday looms just two years away, I notice I am more conscious of, and at times less certain of, what I am doing here on the planet. And yet, I know that with purpose I am able to accept physical changes, acknowledge new ways of being and doing, and embrace my ending as it comes ever more vividly into view.

As a person who looks to the future, I’ve had to adjust my purpose to fit the limited number of years ahead of me. My mom lived to be 101 years of age. I was 71. A few years before she died, we talked about what she could do to be helpful now that she was limited physically.
“Well,” she told me, “I can always smile at people.”
She filled her life with meaning right up to the end.

Thanks, Mom. As I wrote in “Very Grateful: The Story of My Hundred Year Old Mother And Me,” I, too, am very grateful.

Posted in 70candles, Family matters, Goals ahead, Gratitude and Spirituality, Looking ahead, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ageless Authors

For all you writers out there, I recommend you take a look at the Ageless Authors  website. It’s a contest for writers 65 and older.

Full disclosure…I am a contest judge again this year, but be assured, I’m not able see the names of submitting authors.

This year’s deadline is December 15, 2017, and  all entries will be through the Submittable portal. Winners get cash awards and will be included in a published anthology. See the contest rules at http://www.agelessauthors.com

This might be your chance to get your writing ‘out there.’

Good Luck!



Posted in 70candles, Poetry, Read Stories, Share your story, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments