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 | 13 Comments

Keep on keeping on

Barb, Almost 70

WOW! I guess thinking back I never thought I would get this old. My friend and I will both be turning 70 and we both feel kind of down. We find things getting harder to do but we keep on keeping on. It gets harder to move as my knee’s are bad and her back is bad.

I try to think of good things and say to myself you are 70 yes but you can still do some of the things you like such as planting flowers only they must be done slower. I don’t feel as steady on my feet as I did but walk very careful. Frankly I think it sucks, but what can you do but make the best of it.

I just hope I will still have some good years to do things with my kids and my Grandson. I worry about dieing. I am of faith but it still is on my mind. I don’t like to think of leaving my family some day, and seem to think of it more as I get closer to 70. Well, there is nothing we can do but accept it and move on.

Posted in About turning 70, Family matters, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Share your story | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Without a Script: A Caregiver’s Journey

Sent to us by blog contributor, Lois Kipnis is her book, Without a Script: A Caregiver’s Journey, published by ProPress Books. It’s a sequential series of vignettes in a short but moving compilation, describing her roller coaster of emotions as caregiver for a mom in her 90’s.   Kipnis had to make decisions and painful choices on behalf of her beloved, but physically, and gradually mentally, failing mother, but felt unprepared for the task.  With an ear for the music of language, Kipnis shares what it feels like to be a compassionate but stressed daughter-in-charge, working without a script in such complicated circumstances. She realizes that her Mother’s plight might indeed be her own, someday.

Her message resonates with all who care for ill or frail relatives…and those who might be on the receiving end of such care.

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment

Healing help

Cindy, Age 73

I remember looking in the mirror and saying out loud, “When did I get so old, and who is that woman in the mirror?” Gravity has discovered me in toto. Ugh!!!! Broke my first hip on June 28th and second one on November 5th. Ouch!!!! Still not doing really great (lots of muscle pain in last broken hip leg). If anyone has an idea of how to heal this muscle pain in leg I would love to hear from you.

Talk about depression – asked God several times to intervene and take me out of this misery. Woke up one day and decided to get better (hasn’t worked), and as soon as this ol’ body heals, going to put myself out there and find someone to care about again. Been divorced for about 15 years and am officially lonesome. Help.

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Goals ahead, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Open to hope

Gloria, Age 75

Hi Everyone,

So glad there is actually a placed for women over 70 on the net. I thought they gave up on us at 60. I am 75 and still going strong. Five years ago I started a new career when I retired and launched a new website and foundation called “Open to Hope” with the mission of helping people find hope after loss. We now have over half a million people visiting the site.

I play golf 4 days a week and do my own yoga practice daily. I seldom drink and go for walks whenever I can. I have friends who can’t get off the floor. I want to say to all of the women that it is never to late to start moving again. Either move it or lose it.

I have had plenty of challenges as you will see if you visit my site. My 17 year old son was killed in an automobile accident with his cousin 32 years ago. Of course my parents are dead and my brother and sister died in the past 3 years. I think the important thing is to put yourself out there and make a new friend a week. You can do it. Go to the senior center. Don’t tell me you can’t hear. There will be lots of people there that can’t hear. Reading lips and using a black board is great!

If you are a writer come and write for my site and I will give you a profile page and print your articles. Let’s go girls. Life is amazing. Please visit me at www.opentohope.com and congradulations to all that are visiting this site. We can use technology!!!!

Thanks for this site.

Posted in 70candles, Goals ahead, Gratitude and Spirituality, Looking ahead, Networking, Resilience | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ready to start living my future

Kay, Age 70

Hello again. This is my 2nd entry . My 1st was when I was still 69.

So on 2/10/15 I turned 70! It just sounds “old” but I am exactly the same. I know I was afraid I would be treated differently @ work once they found out. That is just crazy thinking on my part. What I know is true “now” is that I need to continue working because it is a stimulating environment. My coworkers respect and need me and that feels good.

My problem is that I need to get “moving” by going back to the gym. I want to learn how to write and do my own illustrations. So there I said it …2 things I need to start today!

So here on 3/1/15 I am ready to start living my future. Yes I do have physical crap to deal with (diabetes & asthma), but they are not barriers to me. I just have a strong desire to feel at peace with myself. Until I write again, “BE WELL.” So glad I found this site.

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, About turning 70, Goals ahead, Gratitude and Spirituality, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, What do we do with our time?, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

An appreciative gent

Ray, Age 53

I am a 53 year old gent i have been married to my wife for 1 year having been dating her 6 years. She has just turned 70 and she is most wonderful beautiful woman i have ever met. She is a mother of 10 children who she raised in belfast at the height of the troubles. Her energy is unbelievable so is her mind…a great lady. Just thought i would write this message to your page.
regards ray

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, Family matters, Gratitude and Spirituality | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A wake-up call

Star, Age 71

I first wrote to 70 Candles upon turning 70 and since then have enjoyed reading other’s stories. Some have been uplifting and some have been poignant. But all have grappled with the aging process.
I have been blessed with good health until June when I discovered I have a heart problem. It took me by surprise and shook me to my core. My family has a history of longevity so I assumed living to 90+ would be my fate. Now I am not so sure… I am trying to put this in perspective, not worry and take each day as a gift.
At our age, we need to live for each moment and not procrastinate about taking that trip, spending time with family and friends, or learning something new.

Posted in Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, Traveling | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speed dating at 70 and beyond!

Here’s the link to a wonderful story about speed dating events for those 70 and older….and the trailer of a new film.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/18/the-age-of-love-speed-dating-70_n_6699960.html?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Enjoy!
Jane and Ellen

Posted in 70candles, Looking ahead, Networking, Resilience | Leave a comment

Bridging the decades at almost 95

Maggy, Almost 95

I’m 95 as of March 14th and remember Turning 70 as the ONLY decade birthday that bothered me.

I remember early 30s and 40s as the best time of my life. 40th and 50th birthdays? Not traumatic. By 50, I’d found a job that suited me to a T–secretary to the local high school principal. I was able to negotiate it down to a 10-month job, getting same time off as the teachers.

Turning 50, I was heading into troubled waters but unaware–my husband became ill and died at age 54. That decade moving into my 60s was difficult–widowed, with children married or off to college.

60th birthday I celebrated by retiring (one can retire as a widow at 60 with same social security terms as 62 if not a widow). And I wanted OUT of working. I was MADE to be retired “with interests” and time, time, time to pursue them. It was a foolish financial decision but right for me.

Hanging out at the library which I love doing, I almost absentmindedly drifted into finding the part-time work that would make the rest of my life interesting and fulfilling – self-publishing. And it got me out of my depression.

The 60s was the revolutionary decade that, among other things, got people into self-publishing. Many of those who did it were poetry writers, or first-novel writers yearning for validation. I was nothing so high-minded – it was the success of a self-published book Keeping Your Bug Alive (advice on keeping your old Volkswagen running well) that intrigued me. Information for a niche audience, the kind of book major publishers didn’t want, but had a small niche market.

I bought an IBM Electronic Selectric machine. Learned book-page typesetting and set out to not only write and publish my first book, but typeset books for other small publishers and a magazine.

The book I wanted to exist but didn’t, was a travel bibliography that included place-set novels. I’d always put together reading lists that included novels for myself when I traveled, and was pretty good at the library skills needed to do that. But I knew most people were not, there needed to be a compiled book of reading lists for travelers! I also knew no major publisher would publish such a book from someone like me without any professional credentials in compiling a bibliography.

And so while pursuing a correspondence course with the University of Wisconsin, “Writing the non-fiction book” I came up with a good title: Traveler’s Reading Guide—Ready-made Reading Lists for the Armchair Traveler—and starting with Europe, then, U.S. and Western Hemisphere, and finally the Rest of the World, I produced and published three paperbacks over the years.

Did I make a lot of money? No, because like so many book authors, we love the research, love-hate writing the book, purely hate marketing that book. And when you self-publish you have to do it all. Didn’t lose any money, but didn’t make a lot either.

I did however, get a good review in Booklist (the publication libraries use to critique books they buy). That led to a contract from Facts on File (a major reference book publisher) to do a single-volume edition, updating my series. I did that twice–in 1987 and again in 1992—and that did make some money. Turns out if you can get reviewed by Booklist, publishers take their word for it that the book is worth publishing—you don’t need professional credentials.

Turning 70 in 1990 WAS a bit of a Waterloo for me – malaise and feeling I’d really entered old age now.

A couple, long-time friends, who were taking a trip to Yugoslavia asked me to join them–added plus, no extra charge for singles—spend that dreaded birthday in Dubrovnik. I did, and spent my actual birthday on a day-trip cruise out of Dubrovnik with entire dining room singing happy birthday to me in Yugoslavian, and drinking champagne with my friends. By the time I got home I was over that temporary depression and have just been philosophical about aging since.

Also in 1990, I got interested in the Ross Perot movement to run for president because of his stance against NAFTA. He convinced me and millions more that NAFTA would be a disaster for America – and it has been! That political interest lasted thru most of the 90s.

By this time I’d also gotten hooked at the library on another idea for a book that didn’t exist – a book about playing sociable bridge. There are hundreds, thousands of books about serious bridge playing, not one I could find on sociable bridge even though sociable bridge players outnumber the serious players by the millions.

For reasons of procrastination, and I get feeling I’ll live forever, I never did get around to publishing that bridge book until the end of 2009, at 89, with the title Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway? An affectionate look back at sociable bridge & ladies lunch. By this time self-publishing had become widespread, far easier than back when I started BUT one still must do the harder less fun job of marketing yourself. And so I started a blog, http://bridgetable.net as part of a rather desultory effort at marketing.

I’d still rather do the research, hang out at the library and on the internet gathering notes than writing the book. And I’d rather write it than market it.

Meanwhile I moved to retirement heaven in Florida near a daughter, still a political junkie, play bridge at least twice a week—and blog.

If people ask how come I do so well at 94 I emphasize the mental aspect. I do walk a bit, but I loathe sports–always have–and I don’t even take my vitamins as I should. I believe mental activity is at least as important as physical activity—perhaps more important. I do watch to see that I eat enough protein and greens, but don’t deny myself fried foods or yummy desserts when I eat out.

And I usually add–just for a laugh–have a martini every night and go barefooted as much as possible. [I kind of believe in that Asian stuff about all those nerve endings in the soles of one’s feet needing to be massaged by going barefooted or at least wearing thin-soled shoes.]

Just a couple months ago on 60 Minutes they did a piece on nonagenarians and what they have in common – came down to being slightly overweight and having a couple of drinks every day! I fit that.

My unscientific opinion is that heredity probably has more to do with reaching the 90s dementia-free than seems fair. But being mentally active is next – interested in life and the world, open to taking up new hobbies and activities that bring you in touch with a new set of acquaintances and friends. And, one thing more, learn to play bridge as early in life as you can. But it’s never too late – take it up in your 70s for sure if you’ve reached 70 without bridge!

First take up sociable bridge – if you have the DNA of a competitive person you can then move on up to the world of competitive duplicate bridge and engage in tournaments. If not, you’ll find sociable bridge just as addictive as the serious players find serious bridge. My motto is: “For a long and happy old age, it’s better to have played bridge badly than never to have played at all.”

What’s so unique about bridge? It’s a classy, classic game that’s been played in one form or other for hundreds of years. The whist of Jane Austen novels is the bridge of that day. Bridge is global. It’s cheap to pursue if you wish. It never bores, guarantees you social contacts long after old friends and much of your family have died off. You can play literally to the end of life—sociably or seriously–despite arthritic fingers that bar crafts (get a card holder), loss of vision as long as you can see enlarged numbers and differentiate the suits, and hearing – people can yell during the bidding phase or hold up bid cards.

Once bidding is over, you don’t NEED to hear.

And as long as you observe the rituals and manners of the people you play with that can range from relaxed to super-strict, if a foursome needs a fourth, you’ll get a call to play no matter how old you are.

For nonagenarians, I can’t think of another life skill more useful than playing bridge!

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, About turning 70, HUMOR, Looking ahead, Resilience, Share your story, Traveling, What do we do with our time?, Where to live, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A survivor at 70

Janet, Age 70

I just ran across this blog and really wanted to add my little thoughts. As you can see I was born in 1944 a war baby. I had a horrible childhood, a battered child my life was so bad I decided to run away at the age of thirteen. I went to a drug store and stole a bottle of iodine. When I was thirteen I looked like an eleven year old there were not boys or bad friends or fighting with the authority. I just couldn’t take the constant beatings or the games my mother would play with me. It was a very sad child who saw no other road but to die.

It was snowing in New York. Two days after I left was my fourteenth birthday…that I spent riding the subway all day until 9:pm and then I got off in my neighborhood and hid under the stairs until morning. Then I would get back on the train. I didn’t die from the iodine mostly cause I could drink it and licking it won’t do the trick. I tell you this because I was a scared child from all that happened to me. That I never thought of being old.
When they found me I realized that they didn’t call the police until I was gone three days. I told the court that I didn’t want to go home, and since I hadn’t been in trouble I was able to go to a convent school and stayed there till I was eighteen.

Then I was on my own I had only my self to count on. I did fine got a job moved to calif. I got married but he turned out to be an alcoholic. I found out that he was an angry man like my father and that was sad because I thought I would never get stuck in a relationship like that. Had a baby in a year and a half and stayed in an abusive marriage for thirteen years so my daughter would have a father. She came to me at twelve and said if you don’t leave I will kill him and i believed her.

Two years later I had a blind date and it turned out to be the first person in my life besides my daughter that truly loved me. We were married twenty five years when he was diagnosed with stage for colon cancer. We got through the colostomy and the fact that radiation killed the ability to be sexual. I didn’t care I just needed to be held. We built a retirement home in ark. It was beautiful. Cost a half a million dollars. We were happy I picked the design the did all the decorating. I was thrilled my husband was thrilled with the results.

I worked until I had my first child then I worked when I was divorced. Then with my second husband I worked until I was three months pregnant. I loved being a housewife and mother I never thought of a career. We had a condo in ne. And moved where my oldest daughter lived in tn. I fell in love with tn. First week I was there I broke my back insisting on moving steel framed couch. The following feb I laid down and an hour later my husband couldn’t wake me. I had sepsis pneumonia. And they told my husband I would die during the night. I had lupus for fifty five years and many times my husband would be told I was dying. Never did yet.

That same night my daughter who was a nurse noticed that he was a little off balanced and wanted a dr to look at him. When I woke the next day they told me that I was supposed to die but I made it but my husband was terminal…. my husband was five years younger. And we always kidded that we were going to go together cause women outlive men by five years. He had brain cancer that had matastisized from the colon cancer. He had surgery and I was sure he was alright cause he was strong and we were going together…that was 2012. In march 2013 he had what looked like a stroke but it was his brain cancer. It had returned and he didn’t tell me because he figured I was dying and he didn’t want me to worry. I had five weeks to digest he was dying. I was given five weeks left with him…I had been in denial and for sure thought we were going together. He died on May 5 2013. we were together for thirty two years.

It was awful…I was angry at god my husband and the world…after six months I pulled my head out of my broken heart. And I realized I wasn’t afraid, which I thought I would be, alone in a big house. But I feel him here. I’ve thought about down-sizing. But all that work would kill me with my damaged back. And then I think would he still be with me if I moved?

In the two years I’ve been alone I finally published a children’s book about my mother in law’s love of birds. And now I’m starting another book. They’re small but I feel like I finally did something strickly for me…I’ll be 71 in march.

I spent money to get a minor face lift because I didn’t like what being sick did to my face. So I fixed what bothered me most, my neck. It was worth it to me…I can accept the wrinkles I have now. I don’t want to move in with either daughter. I prefer to be on my own. However since we moved to a new town I don’t have friends. The few I have are young people who say they don’t see me as old…they say I’m fun to be around. But I don’t have friends to do things on the weekends. I joined a crochet club which is almost all young people. I don’t want to get married again which a lot of people say…I’m still young…I should remarry. But I feel I got so lucky with my second husband I would not have that kind of love to give to somebody else.

I thought about dying a lot after he died. But now I realize I have to wait till it’s my time. So I fill my time crocheting making, parrot toys and writing, plus I sew…my life is fine…lonely but doing stuff. It’s not how I thought old age would be…I had a worse vision. I thought I would be so shriveled and just waiting to die. But I have things that keep me busy and family that loves me. I don’t have a reason to be sad. Thank you for letting me tell my story.

Posted in About turning 70, Family matters, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, Share your story, Stories, What do we do with our time?, Where to live, Work life and retirement | 1 Comment