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 | 41 Comments

My story-falling

By Loretta Parker-Brown

Maybe exercising a few times a week and occasionally doing yoga keeps these aging bones strong, or perhaps I’m just lucky.

Several months ago, I fell off the bed while dreaming. Until then, I cannot remember falling out of bed before, not even as a child. There have been other falls. I’ve fallen in and out of love numerous times during my 76 years. About six years ago, I fell down the stairs while rushing to answer the door. I was four steps above the bottom landing and wearing my favorite, old rubber-sole slippers, which I should have thrown away long ago. One of my feet slipped on the stairs, causing my knee to buckle. I lunged forward, threw my arms out in front of me like I was diving into a swimming pool, and landed in a heap on the floor. Blessed assurance! I didn’t hurt anything but my pride, and the next day, I trashed the slippers.

My bedroom layout is such that the head of my queen-sized bed is beside the bedroom door. I sleep on the left side of the bed. Against the wall on my side are a nightstand and bureau. Between those two pieces of heavy wooden furniture and the bed is a narrow space of slightly over 13 inches. My girth from left to right is broader than that space. Okay, I’m not that broad. There is enough room to walk from the foot to the head of the bed if a body turns sideways.

On the night, I toppled off the bed. I had been having a crazy dream. One moment, I was chasing a villain. The next moment, the villain was chasing me. I ran everywhere, dodging cars, ducking behind buildings, and hiding in backyards.

I was deep in sleep and didn’t feel myself falling off the bed until I hit the floor with a loud thud. Not only did the fall wake me up, but it also woke my boo, who had been sleeping beside me.

As it always is at night, our bedroom was dark except for the street light shining through the blinds. Boo jumped out of bed and, without stopping to turn on the light, ran around to my side of the bed, reached down, grabbed my hand, and attempted to pull me up.

“Are you okay?” he asked anxiously.

My 5 foot 6, creamed coffee brown, full-figure body was face-down in a heap on the floor, sandwiched like a Big Mac between the storage drawers on the bed frame and the furniture on the opposite side. Boo was tugging on my arm, and I was struggling to get up, but one of my feet was wedged in the space beneath the bureau and the hardwood floor, making it difficult to free my leg. Simultaneously, I thought this gives new meaning to “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”

He was pulling, I was pushing, and my body wasn’t budging. “Wait! Let go of my arm so I can turn over. I said. “I’m stuck.”

He gently released my hand. I twisted and jiggled my foot, finally freeing it from under the dresser, and then pushed myself from my belly up onto my knees. Boo took hold of my waist as I put one hand on the bed and the other on the dresser and rose to my feet.

“Another nightmare?” he said.

“Don’t ask.” I replied.

I did a mental check and assured myself that nothing felt broken, and I hadn’t hit my head. But I had landed heavily on my upper right arm, and a couple of days later, a nasty-looking, 4-inch, black bruise appeared between my shoulder and elbow.

After 23 years together, my boo is as baffled as I am over my kicking, punching, and trashing around nightmares that only began about two years ago. He wakes me when he realizes I am physically acting out a dream, and occasionally he’ll jokingly say, “Sometimes I wonder if you are really asleep when you’re beating up on me.”

I’ve read that several things can cause animated nightmares: certain medications (I don’t take any meds. That’s a blessing), traumas, and even reading scary books or watching frightening movies before bedtime.

The morning after my fall, I told my grown daughter about it. That evening, she came to my home carrying a flat box and said, “Mom, I have a surprise for you. Come with me.” I followed her to the bedroom and watched in awe as she unboxed, assembled, and put a bed guardrail on my side. Then, as she was leaving, she said, “Pleasant dreams.”

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Aging, Falling, Family matters, Health, Our bodies, our health, Read Stories, Resilience | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Thriving beyond 70 with wisdom and connection

Here is the direct link to the podcast at Restless to Renewed. We, Jane and Ellen were asked by Janice Neely about our decades long friendship, the evolution of our 70Candles project and lessons learned.
We hope you enjoy listening to it and will share your reactions.


Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, 70Candles! Gatherings, 70Candles! Gatherings - the experience, About turning 70, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Ageism anecdotes, Aging, Attitudes about aging, blog, Caretaking, Dealing with loss, Death and dying, Family matters, Goals ahead, Grandparenting, Gratitude and Spirituality, Health, HUMOR, Inspiration as we age, Loneliness, Looking ahead, Men aging, Networking, Nostalgia, Older women connecting, Our bodies, our health, Parenting, Resilience, Turning 80, Where to live, Widows’ choices, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our podcast interview

We, Jane and Ellen were recently interviewed by Janice Neely of Restless to Renewed.
We had a most enjoyable conversation about our long friendship, the origins and evolution 70Candles, and where we are today.
To listen, download the Podcast app, then type in Restless to Renewed. Ours is the most recent entry
Another way to find it is on their website Restlesstorenewed.com Click on The Enrichment Studio, then click on The Podcast and you will see 70Candles.

Let us know what you think.
J & E

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, 70Candles! Gatherings, 70Candles! Gatherings - the experience, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Ageism anecdotes, Aging, Attitudes about aging, blog, Caretaking, Dealing with loss, Family matters, Goals ahead, Grandparenting, Looking ahead, Older women connecting, Stories, Turning 80, Widows’ choices, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elderly – Not

Amy Bryant

Elderly . . . elderly! That’s the word my cleaning lady used the other day referring to me. It’s a good thing she cleans well, or she’d be out of a job!
I’m used to being thought of as younger than my age. Up until I had 70 candles, folks thought that I was fifteen years younger. Once I hit 80 candles, they usually guessed that I was ten years younger. But the word elderly never entered the conversation. It’s another way of saying old, and not in a complementary way.
Why am I so quick to run away from the term old, or any euphemism thereof? Now, I’m not foolish, and I do have a mirror or two at home, so I know that I’m no longer young. But I’m cocky enough to consider myself youthful, i.e. energetic, active, quick on the uptake.
A recent health crisis has forced me to reconsider some aspects of my view of myself. At this point in my life, I’m finally beginning to acknowledge some of my age-related qualities.
Take health-related conversations for example. As I pay attention to my conversations with folks within a 25-year age range, I find more and more friends are giving attention to health problems.
“Hi how ya doin?”
If your friend answers truthfully, you could be inviting a litany of complaints – and I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve started joining in on this level of conversation. What’s the solution? Do you just say “I’m doing great. How are you?” As in most of life’s quandaries, I guess the answer is balance; share, then focus and glean from the brighter side.
Some of our decade graduates are doing worldwide tours for their recent book, or basking in the relaxation of laid-back retirement, or downsizing into the added care of assisted living. Let’s face it, once our cake holds 80 candles, our speed tends to start slowing down. The next person who tells me that age is just a number risks being flattened at myfeet.
One solution is continuing to do the same things that you love, but at a gentler (my euphemism for slower) pace. I used to do high impact Zumba three times a week, now I intersperse low impact aerobics and line dance.
I guess the bottom line involves change and acceptance: acceptance of the changes going on within and figuring out a realistic, yet acceptable, self-affirming solution to the elderly aspect of the candles on our cake.

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Attitudes about aging, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tech snafu!

Apologies for that annoying post notice arriving in your in mail, where the print is tiny and the links don’t function.
I hate that this is happening!
Please be patient while I get some help from India to fix this problem.

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Living as I age

Mari, Almost 72

Someone once said I ought to call Mel Brooks; he could make a great story of my life.

Growing up in the Midwest as the first daughter to live after my mother lost her first born @ only a couple days old! I later came to realize that perhaps my job was to prove that I would not die like Rita Diane did

I am writing to you because I am approaching 72 in a few weeks and am once again reading (yes, among other things I am a bibliophile): 70 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU TURN 70.

I wanted to share my story with you as I have been wanting to start a blog on being in the world not of the world. (I have a brand new Apple computer and I don’t even know my password; thus being a technophobe it’s not happening)

I have 6 licenses and degrees
Cosmetology (modeled for Olympic hair competition)
Women’s studies major
Facilitator for Clarity Institute
Reiki And Yoga instructor certifications
Image consultant with AICI CERTIFICATION specializing in Fashion Feng Shui.

I have served on a board for survivors of sexual abuse and did an internship at center for homeless in South Bend Indiana
Currently I’m a STEVHEN Leader for STEVHEN ministry
(Oh, and back in the day I met 3 of the 4 BEATLES, and partied with Andy Warhol.)

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Looking ahead, Networking, Share your story, What we're reading | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Family matters


I’m looking for a way to make visiting with family either at my small home or a flight away in theirs easier. One of the things I think about is that my job as a senior is to understand and ease the way for others. I think I do this pretty well except when I am in close proximity to my ADHD granddaughter and her mother. The mother was a single child, Ivy educated and excellent in her medical field. She does not set boundaries with her daughter. Nor did she with her son but he is manageable as a teen. The 10 year old granddaughter enjoys being the center of attention. She commands it and her mother tells everyone to be quiet and to focus on her. The mother doesn’t mind that she does cartwheels in my living room. My son rolls his eyes – he gives up on the mother’s (his wife) lack of boundaries. He knows mine.

I am finding that each time I am around the mother and granddaughter together, I get sick now. At 75, this behavior is getting old. I set boundaries but they are rarely observed. When my son visits without his wife things go much better. His wife is totally self-absorbed. She does occasional nice things for me. If I was sick she would be here in a minute and find the best specialists in the country for me.

My granddaughter and I do well together when the mother is NOT around. In the 15 years since they married, she has never once taken an interest in me. She likes to tell me about her life from time to time. I work hard to take people where they are.

This visit, I couldn’t wait until they left. They extended their visit by staying one week this time, it is usually four days. I mentioned to the mother who is a physician that I wasn’t feeling well. That I had been on bed rest before they came. She made me a lovely item and I just sent her a photograph to show her that I made it into a pillow. She was shocked I was on bed rest. She is rarely focused on anything I say.

My son and daughter do not stay with me which I orchestrated years ago. I usually have one or two of the grands here which is no problem. It is a huge problem when the mother is here with them which she is most of the day. I feel like I stand guard over my home the minute they enter.

One example of these issues is food. My home is small and open. My granddaughter carries food throughout the house. I mention to her in front of her mother that she must eat it in the kitchen. The mother says, ‘no, she is fine.’ I override the mother most of the time. If I go to sleep early, I will find leftover food in the bedroom from my granddaughter after her mother has left. I rarely have my granddaughter sleep over anymore because of this.

Any ideas? Most of my friends say they are dealing with similar issues.

Posted in 70candles, Family matters, Grandparenting, Parenting | Tagged , , | 3 Comments


Please ignore the Post notice in your email.
They’ve changed all these formats. Ugh!
Working in it. Jane

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70Candles book groups and gatherings

Hello to you all,

We are delighted to have been invited to be interviewed for a podcast about 70Candles.

One question sent for our consideration is about the book groups and gatherings mentioned on this site. We know lots of interest was posted on our Gatherings page, but alas, we have no updates on those efforts.

We would greatly appreciate it if those of you who have been involved in either of these would kindly send us word about how your group has functioned.
We’d love to know where you are located, description of the group, number and type of participants, how often you meet, and how long the group has gone on/went on.
Anything you can tell us would be helpful.

We’d be interested too in efforts that petered out for any reason.

We send best wishes to you all this Thanksgiving season,
Jane and Ellen

Posted in 70candles, 70Candles! Gatherings, 70Candles! Gatherings - the experience, Goals ahead, Looking ahead, Networking, Older women connecting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maine Massacre

No doubt you have heard about
the massacre of 18 people killed in Lewiston, Maine October 25, 2023. Another 13 were injured, 3 remain in the hospital with very serious injuries.

The first massacre I can remember after Kent State in 1970 was the Easter Sunday Massacre in Ohio in 1975.The murders since are beyond my comprehension. Forbes tells us the US now has 20 million assault weapons. Twenty million. Last week a local paper in Portland, Maine published this editorial:
Why do we continue to accept a level of gun violence in the U.S. unheard of in other comparable nations?

Why is there always room in prison and never enough in drug treatment centers and mental health facilities, when the latter are the interventions that can help to limit violence in the first place?

Why does our society glorify guns unlike any other, adding millions more into circulation every year?

Why do we allow a firearm designed to kill and maim as many people as possible become so widely available, and so widely and casually held up as a symbol of American freedom and virtue?


These massacres are getting closer and closer to all of us. And yet, politicians refuse to pass legislation to ban these assault weapons, pass red flag laws (this allows authorities to confiscate weapons in situations where it is deemed unsafe) and tougher permitting laws.

This massacre is just up the road from me. A quiet town of 37,000 people. The Androscoggin River runs through it. Home of Bates College.

Maine will heal like many communities before it. Sadly, it is only a matter of time until the next gunman uses an assault rifle on more innocent people. How many next time?

20,000,000 assault rifles. More sold each day. I hope everyone calls their members of congress asking them to ban assault rifles. Anything semi-automatic.

I think about the poor status of mental health in this country. One only has to look around to see what matters and it isn’t people. Then I wonder about the mental health of anyone who thinks they need one of these killing machines. I wonder about the members of Congress who continually allow them.

A new bill was introduced February 1, 2023 – H.R. 698 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2023 (“S.25 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2023 118th Congress (2023-2024)”

In loving memory:

Tricia C. Asselin, 53

William Frank Brackett, 48

Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40

Thomas Ryan Conrad, 34

Michael R. Deslauriers II, 51

Maxx A. Hathaway, 35

Bryan M. MacFarlane, 41

Keith D. Macneir, 64

Ronald G. Morin, 55

Joshua A. Seal, 36

Arthur Fred Strout, 42

Lucille M. Violette, 73

Robert E. Violette 76

Stephen M. Vozzella, 45

Jason Adam Walker, 51

Joseph Lawrence Walker, 57

Aaron Young, 14

William A. Young, 44


Posted in 70candles, Dealing with loss, Read Stories | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments