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 | 40 Comments

Goodbye 70 Candles, Hello 80

Ellen, Age 80

I turned 80 18 days ago, on March 10, 2021, which means I have officially reached my ninth decade. No big deal, you say? I don’t think of myself as a particularly reflective person; I’m more of a doer—always busy, even during Covid, still employed, many projects. But there is something different about 80. Even in only 18 days, I think about death now…not my own, for some reason…but the death of my loved ones, my friends, and particularly my husband’s. He is also 80—a healthy and robust 80 year old who hikes and bikes and just finished writing a book about Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath. He talks about things like artificial intelligence and dark matter and the movement of the sun and moon—topics I consider more or less above my pay grade, but topics that suggest a very good brain. So why does my brain turn to his death now that I’m 80? Because I know the stats. Because I look around and see how many age-mates have lost their spouses. I swear I just about never, maybe never at all, thought about the possibility of widowhood until 18 days ago.
What else feels different now? It’s hard to separate what’s Covid/quarantine-related, and what’s age related, so for now I’ll leave it at that: the dread of losing my husband, of a life without the guy I laugh with every day. And what will I do about this? I will cherish the present and be grateful for what I have now; I will indulge in nostalgia; I will continue to plan for our future together. And I will laugh at myself. I just ordered Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying, by Sallie Tisdale, recommended by a psychologist pal who knows me well. And I’ll probably start a new research project on this new decade to see how others are doing!!

Posted in 70candles, Aging, Attitudes about aging, Death and dying, Family matters, HUMOR, Looking ahead, Men aging, Nostalgia, Sad about aging, Widows’ choices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A change in attitude

Author unknown

A woman who has crossed 70 & is heading towards 80 was asked what sort of changes she is feeling in herself. She sent the following:

1 After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children and my friends, I have now started loving myself.

2 I have realized that I am not “Atlas”. The world does not rest on my shoulders.

3 I have stopped bargaining with vegetable & fruit vendors. A few pennies more is not going to break me, but it might help the poor fellow save for his daughter’s school fees.

4 I leave my waitress a big tip. The extra money might bring a smile to her face. She is toiling much harder for a living than I am.

5 I stopped telling the elderly that they’ve already narrated that story many times. The story makes them walk down memory lane & relive their past.

6 I have learned not to correct people even when I know they are wrong. The onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection.

7 I give compliments freely & generously. Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient, but also for me. And a small tip for the recipient of a compliment, never, NEVER turn it down, just say “Thank You.”

8 I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt. Personality speaks louder than appearances.

9 I walk away from people who don’t value me. They might not know my worth, but I do.

10 I remain cool when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race. I am not a rat & neither am I in any race.

11 I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions. It’s my emotions that make me human.

12 I have learned that it’s better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. My ego will keep me aloof, whereas with relationships, I will never be alone.

13 I have learned to live each day as if it’s the last. After all, it might be the last.

14 I am doing what makes me happy. I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time, just choose to be!

Why do we have to wait to be 60 or 70 or 80, why can’t we practice this at any stage and age?

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Attitudes about aging, Gratitude and Spirituality, Resilience | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Broken, Not Defeated

Amy Bryant, Age 80

“Amy, at our age we can’t be doing what we did when we were younger. We have to slow down.”
“Say what!”

I had just told my friend that I was recovering from surgery on a shattered wrist, resulting from a tennis accident, and right away she jumped to the age factor.

Like many of us who became fans of 70 Candles in our seventies, I now light 80 candles on my cake.
Prior to the mishap, I was a lively ol’ gal. Zumba three times a week, tennis three times a week, walking a mile a day in one of Florida’s parks, trails, or bayside streets, and dancing in the club once or twice a week. That makes six active days. On the seventh, I went down to the local resort, stretched out poolside in the sun with a glass of wine, and luxuriated with a free conscience.

Our family is no stranger to broken bones. My daughter’s broken arm at 10 while skating. my grandson’s broken finger at 20 while rock climbing, and then my other daughter’s broken hand at 49 while skiing. Funny, there was no mention of an age factor when evaluating their breaks. Nobody cautioned, you’re ten, be careful, you’re 20 slow down, you’re 49 best find a more passive activity. We’re an athletic family and broken bones come from being athletic at any age.

When I turned 70, I followed the role model and the advice of my mother, make younger friends. About a third of my friends are my age. The rest are in their fifties to mid-sixties. So when they heard of my mishap, their responses were: “You’ve got this, Amy.” “You’re a rock star.” “You’ll be back on the courts in no time.” “Your arm may be broken, but not your spirit.”

Don’t feel sorry for me with my broken bones. Remember:
I’m an 80-year-old athlete . . . and a rock star! I’ll see you on the court.

Posted in 70candles, Attitudes about aging, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, Stories | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Seasons Greetings!

Seasons Greetings to all of you in our 70Candles community!

Ellen and I greatly appreciate and send all our best wishes to you who have been with us for so many years, and to those we continue to welcome as new subscribers to 70Candles.com. We value the thoughtful and heartfelt conversations that continue on this blog as you help and support each other through challenges …and joys.

This year of the COVID-19 pandemic and political turmoil is about to end. The virus remains a threat, there’s no hugging as we stay masked, but the new vaccines offer a ray of hope that we will eventually see the end of this epidemic. Many have suffered illness, loss, loneliness and depression. We hope you are all well and safe.

As we look forward to better health, and more kindness and sanity in the world in the New Year ahead, let’s take a moment to look back on the sometimes bleak days of 2020. Let‘s recall what helped us most to endure and carry on to reach this day. Were there some small pleasures, nice surprises, treasured moments you can share?

I recently Zoomed with a group of very old friends, and was amazed to hear several describe their confinement in positive terms. Some who retreated to country or remote woodland homes considered the time with their significant other there unlike any spent previously. They had had busy high powered careers, with little extended down time together. For them, this isolation was an unexpected gift, even a second honeymoon.

As I look back, I count small moments and what ordinarily would be minor changes, as the positive high points for me. My college age grandson and granddaughter each have come by for wonderfully heartwarming chats at our front stoop, when they’ve been home. I feel so fortunate to be part of their lives.

I’ve continued with acrylic painting and find the hours doing that to be pleasantly distracting, calming and even meditative. Frequent walks outdoors have similar benefit.

A triumph over six months of slow progress…our primary shower is finally useable once more. Leak cured, repairs made, and as a bonus, a new double shower head and a tall unframed glass door. Showering has become a special daily pleasure!

I hope to continue to stay in touch with friends, and will try to notice whatever small moments improve my mood as we enter 2021.

As you think back on 2020, what were some of your best experiences?
Let’s share those here. I think we’d all welcome new ideas to boost our spirits and enhance our well being in the days to come.

May the New Year ahead be a better one for us all.

A toast to 2021!

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Goals ahead, Gratitude and Spirituality, Looking ahead, Older women connecting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

On turning 72

Anonymous, Age 72

There has always been something about older people that drew me to them. Perhaps it was their perspective, their stories of a simpler time. I love storytelling so I was an instant student.

I studied gerontology in college, got certified in the field and worked in elder care for a while attending graduate school at night. While I loved working in that field, the corporate side was not for me. I segued into a variety of things including a private geriatric care manager, managed a political campaign, working for a watershed and substitute teaching among others.

Fulfilling a lifetime dream after my divorce in 1999, I moved to the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. I lived on the side of a mountain in the woods for seventeen years. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Living among nature, seeing red wolf, bobcat, coyote and fox in my yard was breathtaking. Hiking, taking flying lessons, exploring watercolors again was invigorating. Living in a small town where “everybody knows your name” fit me to a tee.

Just before I turned seventy, I knew it was time to move closer to family. My daughter was living in Maine so I sold my beloved mountain home and came here. It was a huge adjustment moving to a city, although I was fortunate to find a home surrounded by woods at its outskirts. There are deer, turkeys, coyotes, fox in my yard often. I am grateful.

I had just been in Maine a year when Covid-19 began. It has not been easy to meet people here, to find my group, although my years living solo in the mountains has been invaluable training for these isolating times.

Just over a month ago my daughter, her four year old and the seventy-five pound dog moved in with me. She is going through a divorce. My home here is small by choice. Grateful to be able to welcome my family, this has been a huge adjustment for me. It isn’t just the daily volume of dog hair from the sweetest canine, or the melt downs children go through so often today as much as it is loss of privacy and the quiet to which I became accustomed after my own divorce. In fact, I loved living with self. I never felt alone. Maybe it was the Reiki training, the certification in mindfulness meditation and the years I taught it. It was that act of moving from a fast paced life to one of simplicity, quietude, inner resolve that forever changed me.

I struggle to find the simplicity now, the inner peace. While I know peace is always within oneself, the distractions are huge. In time, I will work this through. At the same time, they will be looking for their own home and I will miss them terribly. It is a paradox and I am glad to find humor in it.

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Family matters, Grandparenting, Resilience, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

This second call

Sandi Peters, Age 71

For much of my professional life, I have worked with older people. At 71, I think I should know what the 70ies are about. In fact, I frequently surprise myself. Looking back, I realize that many of the oldsters I’ve worked with had various physical and/or mental challenges. Those who were vibrant had no need for my services. Therefore, I have not had a great deal of exposure to healthy aging.

This is not to say that I have not experienced compromised elders who were alive inside. Despite infirmity, older adults have taught me much of what I know about dealing with old age, sickness and death. Without their wisdom and resilience, it is unlikely I would have written my recent book. Their lived experiences and C.G. Jung’s psychology have mapped the terrain for those times when life demands a reckoning.

So, here I am at 71, finding an enthusiasm and adventurousness that I would normally associate with young adulthood. Yes, there are some physical limitations…I have compromised lungs and a bad knee, yet these are merely conditions I have to find ways of working around.

Last November I traveled to Morocco. I used a volunteer site called WorkAway – mostly for young people – that offers opportunities to work in exchange for room and board. I am not a good traveler; in fact, I dislike traveling, and traveling so far solo was the last thing I wanted to do. Yet, I wanted to go back to Morocco, a country that had captured my heart at 21 years of age and again at 66. I attribute my stamina and ability to undertake this unwanted travel experience to years of meditation practice which has taught me how to connect my feet with the earth and ground my terrified mind. I attribute the desire to return to Morocco to knowing that I am going to die and I can no longer put off what calls me in the present.

Once in Morocco I found myself living with young people – 20ies and 30ies – a novel experience for someone who had no children and spent her working life amongst oldsters. I never thought about what it might be like to find myself in the role of an elder. Nor did I anticipate the needs of an older body living in a Moroccan non-tourist environment. Houses without heat in the winter months, squat toilets, unreliable internet, intermittent water, and intense heat in the summer without air conditioning. Periodically, I found myself stepping out of my daily routine, and being stunned by how I was adapting to this situation. Where did this resilience come from? I barely recognized this person that was moving through her days with such grace and ease. I didn’t see myself as a so-called ‘exceptional’ elder, who undertook new adventure in the later years.

More and more I’m realizing that exceptionalism is not the property of ‘certain extraordinary elders’ but, in fact, is accessible to all of us. Those now in their 70ies are really the vanguard of a whole new approach to growing old. Like me, I imagine that many reading this blog may find themselves stymied by their thoughts about what they can do and what is possible. It requires stamina to push through these initial hesitations. The trick is paying attention to what quickens the heart, heeding the call, and letting it grow in strength until it is bigger than whatever fears and hesitations the mind puts in the way as obstacles. When that happens, a whole world opens up – a world that is not unlike the world of our youth.

Older age is often likened to second adolescence because we must start anew. In my book, I talk about the differences between the first and second half of life. C.G. Jung often said the second half of life cannot be lived with the values of the first half. Whatever values, goals, ambitions or dreams that brought us to this time of life need to be resifted. Some will be discarded and some refurbished. We find ourselves standing on a peak looking at a different valley and mountain. And just as in youth, a new vision, energy and grace becomes available. It feels magical and, it is! What do we want to do with this new life? This last call invites us to grow into who we are truly meant to be. The first call was conditioned by society, history, parents, fears, ambitions and many other factors. This second call must be devoid of all those incentives, inhibitions, and prohibitions. It is both exciting and scary, invigorating and enervating, demanding and sustaining. But it is ours in a way that nothing else we have done has been. It comes from the deepest layers of psyche and offers us this final opportunity to grow into ourselves. I am finding it astonishing, regenerative, engaging and exacting. I hope you are too.

Sandi Peters, MA, is the author of Aging with Agency: Building Resilience, Confronting Challenges and Negotiating Eldercare. She is currently exploring the possibility of building an elder community in Morocco. She can be reached at Sandi4eldercare@gmail.com.

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Attitudes about aging, Goals ahead, Inspiration as we age, Resilience, Traveling | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

My story in life’s constant changes

Central, New Jersey, – Joyce, just turned 70

Just found your website as was looking for some perspective on hitting the big 70 and dealing with changes in my life again. Sure not where I thought I would be at this time. But enjoy your blog and ordered your book today. At times you feel alone, even with people around you.

Well, turned 70 this year and find my life this year really turned around. Last time this year my apartment flooded out again and this time it was bad. The complex was taking so long to fix the place and I got sick from it all and thanks to a very good friend of mine, she offered me her upstairs to live in. So with my cat Oscar, I moved in with her and her dog Shyla.

After many years living on my own after a divorce it was quite the adjustment. Lucky we both get along well and have many of the same interests. We had worked together for 14 years and then kept in touch. Even so, it has been a work in progress and once again I downsized some more to live in two rooms.

I have no trouble downsizing as I have done so several times in my life. I find changes nice as it gives a fresh breath to move on. Aging never bothered me as I always knew it would happen, so just never let it bother me. O.K. So the body sure does let me know it is in charge. Ah, what I did when young no longer applies. But this year for some reason I find I feel different about myself.

As I have lost all my family over past few years, living with my friend, and her daughter and husband who live near by, helps me not feel totally alone, but I feel like I am losing myself. If that makes sense.

The biggest change has been with the covid-19, as I have been retired for a few years and was in book clubs at the library, volunteer at a dog rescue and tried to get out and go to events of interest. Now, that has been put on hold. I find I feel at times like I am losing myself. I was always involved in something or other but this time I look and many friends are gone and my large family I came from is gone. Many within the past two years. So I feel a little adrift. If not for living here I would be depressed, but thanks to my friend we try to keep busy. I helped take care of her sick dog Shyla, until she passed and now we have a younger Golden and have had to get her used to my cat. Well no worries, at 4 yrs old she is scared of my 15 yr. old cat, so that works well. (Smile)

I have always worked on the premise that “Life is a Journey, not a guided tour” so just go with it. So here I am trying to adjust my life again as for many a time in the past, and hope it falls back into place in the near future. The body yes has its issues, but I feel my soul has lost something and not sure how to get it back.

Your blog helps me see how others cope and adjust to changes, so glad to have found it. I find it hard to find someone to talk about issues we deal with as we get older. So this was nice to find your site, so thank you for creating it.

Joyce Pearce

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Aging, Attitudes about aging, Dealing with loss, Family matters, Loneliness, Older women connecting, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Technophobe in action

Launching a Book During a Pandemic Is No Walk in the Park

by Barbara Greenleaf, Age 78

With all the other barriers to drawing attention to a new title—the million other books on Amazon, general information overload, and the November elections, to name just three—I am now contending with stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. With no bookstores, club meetings, or face-to-face interactions of any kind to help me get out the word about my latest effort, Parents of Adult Children: You Are Not Alone, I have to rely completely on technology. The is the kiss of death for a technophobe such as I. 

Technophobes are born, not made, and I am one of those who was born technologically challenged.How challenged am I? Well, I have to summon my husband to turn on the TV because I can never figure out which gizmo brings in cable, which one turns on Pandora, and which one probably could blow up a battleship. 

​As another case in point, several years ago I took a full-time job at a local university. I felt like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle who had gone to sleep in the age of the Selectric typewriter and pink “While you were out” slips and woke up to a world full of sophisticated software. The university put me through an intensive orientation to familiarize me with the school’s donor-tracking system, which consisted of an elaborate set of numbers and codes.  I botched it every time. The university finally threw in the towel and gave me an assistant to do my inputting for me.

​How I wish I had that assistant now! I’ve read Facebook for DummiesFacebook and Twitter for Seniors for Dummies, and Social Media Marketing for Dummies. My college degree and seven other books notwithstanding, I am still a dummy. Yet I soldier on. To debut Parents of Adult Children in the age of COVID-19, I’m learning how to make shortvideos on my computer (while trying hard to ignore the fact that the camera is not kind to people of a certain age). I’m gingerly feeling my way around LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For five minutes I thought I’d have to create content for TikTok and K-Pop, too, but then I saw that their audience was only 12 years old. Whew!  I’m also learning that the social media beast demands constant feeding in the form of posts, links, likes, tags, and follows. Indeed, some days my fingers seem to belocked in the thumbs’ up position. For the record, I am not now nor ever will be “trending,” but, hey, at least I’m in the game.

Am I fit to live in the virtual world? Tune into my free, one-hour book launch party on Thursday, August 6th, at 11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern time, and let me know. You’ll be joined by a cast of thousands–in the control booth to avert one of my disasters. Or is that in the cloud? Register here: 


Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Parenting, Stories, Technology and contemporary culture | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Arianna Huffington turns 70!

As posted on Instagram
Posted in Stories | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments


Jane turns 80

This bears practicing.

It’s been ten years since Ellen and I started this blog as a way to ease ourselves into our 70’s. Now here I am 80 years old. 

On the day of my birthday, July 3rd, my grown children and grandchildren who live not far away, brought gifts and cheer to my front stoop and decorated our doorway for all to see.

I felt well loved and celebrated. 

But the best was yet to come. That evening we had nationwide Zoom gathering…people important in my life, from every era and geographical setting, all in the same space at the same time! It was a wonder of modern technology and of pandemic necessity. What a heartwarming experience that was, and  what memories were unfurled. The follow-up continues as many are continuing our conversations online.

Fireworks…on TV this pandemic year… began that night. I’ve always welcomed 4th of July festivities as a continuation of my day. 

I went through boxes and albums of archival photos as I created a montage for the Zoom event. More memories evoked, reminiscence in high gear. I thought about the people I’ve known and cared about and the impact each has had in my life. I looked forward to seeing them on screen that evening. 

I admit, the day before my birthday I felt rather anxious. As I pondered this approaching milestone, I imagined I was approaching a precipice that one could easily fall off…a flat earth with the end in sight. My usual anticipatory anxiety. The day of, that feeling morphed into excitement, about the celebration ahead. The day after, I relaxed as I saw it wasn’t a precipice after all but the same gentle slope I’d been use to.

I feel fortunate that I’ve had a good life, I’m near my family, and even as we hunker down to stay safe from COVID-19, I am well occupied and comfortable. I’m a little creaky when I start the day, but thankful any time nothing hurts badly. We’re at home, now in week 18 of sheltering from this world-wide medical crisis, but doing okay. I’ve gotten used to being the old and vulnerable ones, as neighbors, family and friends have kindly delivered food. It’s strange to be on the receiving end, but I’m appreciative and have found ways to reciprocate. My dear husband of 57 years now requires more of my care and attention, so being at home actually suits our current needs.

The world beyond appears unsafe, unsettled and unpredictable. I worry for young people deprived of their social networks, their expected education and the life they should be enjoying in high school and college. I feel bad for those who have lost jobs and livelihoods in an economy that appears doomed. I feel some terror at the rate at which this virus is spreading and about how long this might go on. I watch too much news and read too many newspapers. The outlook appears bleak.

To help myself feel better, I stay involved in political action from home. I keep exercising in Zoom classes, and painting in my Skype class. I float in the pool under the blue sky and beneath bright pink crape myrtle blossoms, I read and write and try to stay connected to people I love, by phone, FaceTime and Zoom. I listen to music. I knit hats. I wear bright colors, not black.

I do household tasks and even try to purge old work files and closets. This part is slow going, but I persist, gradually.

So on to my 9th decade. I wonder what my 80s will be like. I’ll try to make the best of each day in the time ahead.

July 3, 2020
Posted in Aging, Attitudes about aging, Family matters, Goals ahead, Looking ahead, Men aging, Older women connecting, Stories | 20 Comments