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 , , , , | 5 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
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 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 , , , , , | 4 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 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:

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 and more time to attend to my spiritual life, which I blog about in 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

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

Hopes and hazards of dating after 70

Gloria, Age 74

Lately I have been ‘meeting’ men who have contacted me via an online dating site. My experiences have been so enlightening, and so funny, I feel compelled to share them with other women. I’ll start with one, and continue later.

Of course, I maintain the safety of only meeting in a public place and my last name is not known. I’m seeking men with whom I can share a dance or two, not looking for a mate.

The first date I accepted because the man stated he liked to dance and wanted to meet me at a local Italian restaurant. He called the morning of the date to ask if I minded that he had a cane…being a very accepting type of person I said, of course not. In reality, he had difficulty approaching me in the restaurant waiting area, even with his cane, and during dinner, he described that he recently returned after a stay in a rehab facility due to a back surgery, he had recovered from cancer and had also suffered a heart attack last year. As we departed the restaurant, since he could barely walk, I asked what type of dancing he could claim. As he headed toward his 1980 white Cadillac, he replied, ” of course I can slow dance.”

So be aware that some men our age are in denial of their health issues. So far 4 have needed canes, one was having dialysis 4x a week, one suffers constant vertigo and almost fell on me as he is very tall, I am short, and he bent down for a hug…saved by his cane!

Not easily dissuaded, I have met 14 men so far, for a first date. A few have been “several date worthy.” And I am seeing one weekly, but still “shopping”, and he knows that.

Posted in 70candles, Dating after 70, HUMOR, Men aging, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The New Old Age

Our own Ellen Cole (in the coral jacket) was on a panel in New York, October 4, 2017, organized by The Atlantic.

Watch this discussion about aging in place, or as it evolved, aging in the right place for you.

This topic continues to be a concern of many on our blog.

Let us know what you think.

Posted in 70candles, Caretaking, Family matters, Networking, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments