When I was a little girl, I was always coming home with bumps and bruises. No, I wasn’t fighting with the other kids at school (I was a good girl!) The reason that I was always a bit battered was that I refused to accept my physical boundaries. I loved to try new things and when I failed I just dusted myself off and tried again. Then I grew up…
Hollywood has never taken a particularly positive view on aging. In the movies, older characters are usually portrayed as “over the hill,” grumpy and out of touch. The aging process itself is usually presented as something to be feared, not embraced.
I have mixed feelings about Sandra Bullock being promoted as People’s “most beautiful woman” for 2015. On the one hand, it’s wonderful to see a 50-year-old woman being held up as a symbol of beauty. In addition, Bullock has always struck me as a genuine person, who cares about her family and the world around her.
How old is old? In most western countries, retirement age is the milestone after which someone becomes “elderly” or a “senior.” But, is this really fair? After all, in 1930, around the time that Social Security was established, a 65-year-old woman could expect to live 12.8 years. By contrast, a woman that turned 65 in 2009 could expect to live 20.3 years.
Two personality traits that are commonly (and unfairly) associated with people in their 60s are selfishness and conservatism. It really does feel like the world expects us to live in a shrinking world the second we reach our 60th birthday.
Many women – and quite a few men for that matter – worry about getting older. Personally, I was 49 for several years, before finally admitting to the world, and myself, that I was in my 50s.
It’s not just the obvious things that we worry about, like wrinkles or a few extra pounds. Many of us obsess about more important things, like how to find meaning in our lives now that our kids have left the house or how to build new friendships as our social situations change.
So, your 60th birthday is almost here. Congratulations! You’ve already accomplished so much in your life – and you’re just getting started! At the same time, it’s natural to feel a bit apprehensive as you approach this important milestone. I know I did.
Turning 50 is a milestone. A few of us worry – unnecessarily, I might add – about “getting old.” But, for the most part, we recognize that life after 50 is a time for exploring our passions, getting in great shape and preparing for decades of active life ahead.
How are you planning on spending your 60th birthday? Will you mark this special occasion with friends and family? Will you go on a short trip? Or, will you perhaps do something more “adventurous,” like skydiving or swimming with sharks?
Boomers have never followed the rules. At every life stage, we have challenged the status-quo. Now as we reach our 60s, we are challenging aging stereotypes.