Women in their 60s often say they feel invisible. In their 70s, they say they’re ghosts. In their 80s, they say they’re shadows of ghosts.

There’s no stopping the march of time or the limited visibility women experience in their later decades. But there’s no reason to reinforce that societal disservice by hiding.

That’s why I threw myself an astounding 70th birthday party. Here’s what I learned form turning 70.

 
 

Setting the Scene

I rented the screening room of Vidiots, one of the few U.S. historical archives of films from the inception of the industry. On the large screen, I showed silent Charlie Chaplin films while a talented millennial musician/songstress, Kristen Center, performed.

Our playlist included Boomer favorites, such as the Beatles’ Imagine, Stevie Wonder’s Don’t You Worry About a Thing, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and my theme song, Earth Wind & Fire’s Fantasy. These were interspersed with current hits and Kristen Center’s originals.

My Wonderful Guests

The good thing about being a SNC (single, no children) is that I wasn’t forced into having people there I didn’t like. About 35 people, men and women, singles and couples, ages 28-78, attended. They included artists, writers, actors, health professionals, teachers, nature lovers, entrepreneurs and others of positive, uplifting energy.

A few guests I’ve known for 20-30 years, some for about five years; yet, about half were those met last year. I recently made an effort to expand my social circle, primarily through participation in groups, classes and volunteer organizations.

A Moving Experience

Dancing, eating, watching Charlie Chaplin, listening to Kristen, schmoozing – and did I say dancing? Yes, couples, groups, singles. Even those with mobility issues rocked in their chairs.

Guest Reactions

Here are a few comments from guests:

“We had a great time celebrating your Sensational Seventy birthday! You looked radiant, your friends interesting, music uplifting, food yummy and setting fun.”

“We had such a good time because you were having such a good time.”

“It reminded me of the salons I used to attend in New York.”

“I’m going home to write in my journal about healthy aging.”

“I especially saw your strength in your making your own party; it was very full. I learned a lesson I won’t forget. You showed loads of character and class.”

My Reaction to Turning 70

When a new male friend asked me what I was going to do now that I was 70, I replied, “Learn how to dance backwards wearing high heels like Ginger Rogers.”

My final thoughts on turning 70:

Dance as if nobody is watching,

Love as if you’ve never been hurt,

Live as if there’s no tomorrow.

How are you going to celebrate turning 70? What would make for your ideal birthday party? Who would be the guests? Would you have a theme? Please share your party planning ideas in the comments!

Sherry KahnSherry Kahn, MPH, is a health educator, author and marketing communications consultant. A former UCLA Medical Center principal editor and Reuters medical journalist, Sherry’s career has taken her into all areas of the U.S. health system. Her most recent book is Surviving the U.S. Health System: Insurance, Providers, Well Care, Sick Care. She has presented at major conferences and made numerous media appearances, including on The View. Connect with Sherry at surviveushealthsystem.com and consultkahn.com.

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