The Spirit of ’76

My birthday weekend is here.


Having a July 3rd birthday means I can always count the 4th of July fireworks as “mine.” From the beautiful explosions around the lake at summer camp of my childhood, to the extraordinary illuminations nearby and in distant towns seen from the hilltop perch I’ve adopted in my current neighborhood, I have always been awed by these magical displays.

I have to admit as well that I look forward to birthdays that have an associated song…”When I’m 64″ came and went as I and the remaining Beatles passed that landmark, but it did amuse me for that entire year…and now I keep imagining a parade of 76 trombones, as that Music Man tune plays in my head.

Yes, 76…can it be? It seems not very long ago I wrote my blog post about turning 70. I’m more accustomed to the sound of these numbers now than I was then, but this moment bares taking stock.

At 76 I’m feeling grateful for many things…my caring husband, our family, our health, good friends, and the pure good fortune to still be here. I’ve sadly seen friends, of all ages die this year, so I’m well-aware that I’m a survivor in this longevity revolution. I’m trying to make good use of this gift of time.

At 70, I allowed myself to be a dabbler, as I gradually retired from a long and satisfying career. Art, music, table tennis, Senior Center and new neighborhood activities. But as the 70Candles! Project expanded from research to blog, to gatherings, and then to the writing and publication of our book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, my focus has shifted. Finishing the book after several years of effort has been akin to the birth of a child. I feel pride in this off-spring and hope it will go forth and succeed.

Now, as I conduct conversations about being this age with groups of women in Senior Centers, independent living centers, in religious venues and in book groups, I continue to learn more about their joys and challenges and the myriad ways they face and solve dilemmas. There is always recognition of common issues and a deep sense of camaraderie in these gatherings

Although I did not expect this turn of events, my “dabbler” energies have become focused on writing…the result of following the flow of 70Candles! activities. Our blog calls for my attention. Our readers requested and were provided with an email subscriber button. Those who wanted to see groups in their geographic area, now have a Gatherings page on our blog, where leaders can volunteer and anyone can join. We continue to submit columns to the Huffington Post, and we are working on a Leaders Guide to aid those who are eager to assemble groups.

In addition to these pursuits, I notice I rush less and appreciate naps more. I keep exercising…now adding my summer lap swimming to a schedule of excellent exercise classes at the local rec center. I began at eight laps, and am now up to twenty-two. Wonder if I’ll be able to match last year’s finale of 50 laps.

Keeping healthy is an excellent goal, but alas we have no control over some things. My hearing is waning. A ironic blow to someone whose career has been devoted to communication disorders. To deal with this problem I wear audiologist recommended hearing aids and let everyone I talk with know they need to face me. I’m particularly emphatic to strangers on the phone, “I have trouble hearing…please speak directly into the phone, and more slowly!”

There’s closed caption on our home TV’s, and I frequent a movie theatre that provides a handy closed caption device that sits in the cup holder of my armrest. The microphone and small amplifier I bring to discussion groups is a savior, for me and for those in the circle of conversation, many of whom also strain to hear.

I’ve read that older people report a greater sense of well-being even in the face of physical problems. I hope the tenets of Positive Psychology play out in my life this year, for my continued sense of well-being. They are Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. We shall see…

Onward toward 77!

How do you feel about your upcoming birthday?


This entry was posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, Family matters, Goals ahead, GOALS: Summer Challenges, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, What do we do with our time? and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Spirit of ’76

  1. Patricia says:

    I read everyone is happy and grateful and that is wonderful.
    I want to feel that way too. I have excellent health, a good husband and family, and two of the best weimers that always put a smile on my face.
    Yet I feel I am missing something. I work full time and really am without friends and energy. I think friends would help maybe. 70 in February.

  2. noel says:

    Hello Jane, You have been given a great gift from the universe to have created this space for women to share their experiences. You are blessed. Happy Birthday! How wonderful it has been to have found this blog.
    Thank you,
    Noel (Denver, New York)

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Welcome to the blog, Noel
      And thank you for the good wishes.
      It warms my heart to see women reaching out and offering support to each other through this site.
      And now 70Candles! Gatherings are starting to form across the country. Check out the 70Candles! Gatherings page listed at the top right of of our blog screen.

  3. lloyd peacock says:

    Happy Birthday.

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