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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
This entry was posted in Aging, Attitudes about aging, Family matters, Goals ahead, Looking ahead, Men aging, Older women connecting, Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to 80808080

  1. Joyce Pearce says:

    Thank you for this blog, it is inspiring and thought provoking. Glad I found it and take care of yourself. Would love for you and Ellen to keep up the great work in helping us journey through the 70’s and on.
    Happy Belated Birthday, hope you had a great day.

  2. Blog Mavens says:

    I thank you all for your good wishes and encouragement.
    So far 80 feels a lot like 79!
    This apparently endless COVID experience makes this a uniquely challenging time. We all have to rely on our inner resources each day.
    Thank goodness for our modern era online options, for being in touch with others seems more important than ever.
    I wish you health, pleasure in even small wonders and continued conversations here in our 70Candles! community.
    Onward!
    Jane

  3. Kerey Fuller says:

    It’s encouraging to read all the positivity thats in these well wishers, and yours, Jane. I’m new to the group. 70, just turned. I’m so impressed, Jane, you look so good! I’m also impressed at how you keep up with everything!
    I am enrolled in classes for free, from my local university. I’ve already finished all needed schooling, but i feel this gives me something to do. And it’s fun. Better than all this worry over the corona virus. All my family is 1000 miles away, and they don’t zoom much, so it’s hard to get together with them. Happy Birthday, Jane, and Have a great day Jane and everybody! Kerey

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Thanks for your good wishes, Kerey
      and welcome to 70Candles!
      Yes there are some wonderful course offerings available. In addition to local colleges, many are taking classes through free open course sites like Coursera.
      Let us know if you’d like to be added to our free subscribers list to get email notice when new postings are up on our blog.
      Be well,
      Jane

  4. Mary Lou says:

    Happy 80th!
    I’m a year and a half away! It’s not seeming so bad as it draws near. You and I are doing similar with food delivery and contentment at home. Except I’m resisting the Zoom phenomenon. The only video I’ve agreed to is telemed for my doctor’s appontments.
    Enjoy each moment!!

  5. Good attitude, Jane! You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t find this milestone sobering, Ironically, when my husband turned 80, I was the one who felt vulnerable because I realized I could lose him. Also, I had put together a visual presentation of his life, which was sweet –many accomplishments of which he could be proud–and a bit sad–closer to the end than the beginning. I do better when I just put one foot in front of the other . . .

  6. Kathy says:

    Dear Jane, you and I share the same July 3rd birthday. I was 75.
    My birthday celebration was put on hold until next year due to the pandemic. Unfortunatly family and friends are not close by. I did receive alot of cards, texts and phone calls to make up for lack of in person visits.
    Twenty years ago I had a major heart attack and wasn’t sure I would see my sixties let alone my seventies! I too am grateful for everything I have especially the ability to work as a nurse in my seventies!
    Enjoy your new decade.

  7. Carole says:

    Happy Birthday!

    A few weeks ago we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and had a similar zoom get together as well as a video that our kids put together by asking people in our lives to make a toast. It is miserable being isolated but the “chrome” lining is the creativity that our friends and loved ones use to stay in touch.

    Happy Birthday. Stay healthy! Stay sane!

  8. Lorraine Currelley says:

    Happy 80th Birthday Jane!

    I enjoyed reading your lovely letter. You are an inspiration. Your wonderful words of gratitude and love for family and friends warmed my heart. Thank you for years of sharing 70 Candles! Looking forward to learning about your new adventures.

  9. Patricia says:

    First of all Happy Birthday.
    Who cares what year it is.
    In my humble opinion t is how you feel both emotionally and physically.
    I won’t mention my age because does anyone really care. I still have to get up in the morning, get my 2 big dogs out, feed them, trip over them while I get my coffee and have breakfast watch the crappy news, you understand. I Have to work. It is amazing how many people say, you Still work?
    But I do. In any event, enjoy your life that is a hard one. And yes there are ugly people out there but some are angels. Oh and when I walk my dogs I wave to every car that drives by, and they smile and wave back.
    Try it, if feels so good.

  10. Nancy Grenda says:

    So happy to read your positive words…At 78 years we (my 72 year old hubby and I ) have bought a new/old boat..giving up sailing and moving to a MV trawler… I must admit I wake up in the middle of the night and have anxiety about starting a new adventure at this age…health pretty good for both of us…..but in the middle of the night my anxiety soars! During the day and as we provision the boat, etc I am thrilled and planning way too many far fetched adventures…Living in the now has always been hard for me….I needed to hear what Jane said!! Thank you!,

  11. Sherrill Elizondo says:

    Thank you for your very well written and inspiring words. Much appreciated. Congratulations on your milestone! I have recently had a story published on Boomer Cafe that, also, is related to what life is like now with COVID-19…I feel the same concern for my children and grand children. Trying to stay positive and some days that’s not very easy. So, I and many others I am sure can relate to your feelings. Continued blessings and good health.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Happy Birthday, Jane!

  13. Julia says:

    Jane u r a woman with much compassion and most importantly compassion for yourself. As I get close to the 9th decade I fret. I am very lucky. I have a loving supportive husband, friends and my sweetheart Suki, my pup.
    I don’t have any children or grandchildren. Exercise is a must for every senior and everyday.
    The America I thought I knew is gone and I worry where we r going.
    I hark back to 1968 San Fran. A world with some hope long gone.
    My goal is to be loving and helpful to others.
    My Mother is 104 and living in her condo with an aide. She is comfortable. There is nothing to account for longevity.
    Anyway I digress. I wish u all the happiness in your new decade.
    Julia Poulos Princeton Ann

  14. Jeanne Gagne says:

    Kudos to you. When I read your write up , I thought you had insight into my life. I like yourself I am into politics more than I ever had the time for. Because of home confinement, one of my children baked and dropped off cupcakes on my porch and the porches of my other children. . My grandson by phone talked me thru “zoom”. On my birthday we all connected on zoom , I lit my candle and all 16 sang and watch me blow out my candle. I also knit for my church and memorize the patterns to keep my memory sharp. Keep up doing what you are doing, as the saying goes “the best is yet to come”. Also every morning before you get out of bed, count everything you are thankful for and stay positive.

  15. Evelyn says:

    What a beautiful and poignant piece. You have entered your 90th decade as you’ve approached everything in your life, with curiosity, good humor, intelligence, and sensitivity. ONWARD!!! And take good care of yourself – your fan club needs you!!

  16. Gerrie howard says:

    Thank you so much for an inspiring and thought-provoking letter.
    Enjoy the rest of your blessed life.

  17. Celia Blalock says:

    You inspire me. Thank you.

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