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7 Things I Thought I Would Be Good at When I Reached Age 60

By Debbie Hensleigh May 19, 2024 Lifestyle

Some things I have mastered. Mostly, things that I’ve done over and over, often with little attention. Things like driving a car. Or riding a bicycle. Or brewing a pot of coffee. No need for deep thought or remembering details… just do it, and it somehow comes out well.

I can whip up a meal, bake a loaf of bread, iron a shirt, fold laundry, meet someone new, tell a joke, and comfort a baby pretty well. Not much thought, just lots of practice.

However, there are a few things that I expected to become good at that I have still not mastered, even into my sixth decade. I assumed I would become an expert in these areas, but so far, the results are minimal.

Shaving My Legs

One would think that since I started this little activity at around age 12 I would be really good at it by now, 50+ years later. Not so. I have started carrying a razor in my car because I often see missed spots in the sunshine. How can one not master the art of smooth legs after so many practice opportunities?

Sigh. The handy razor solves my dilemma.

Ignoring Others’ Bad Behavior

I kind of thought that I would become more tolerant as I aged. Understanding and walking in others’ shoes and all that.

Actually, I am more tolerant. Having sons who have had to learn to stay sober, another son with Down syndrome, now having daughters-in-law and a son-in-law and knowing their stories… not to mention being married to a pastor (now retired, yeah!!!) and hearing all sorts of legitimate reasons to be hurt have broadened my scope of understanding.

But, there are still some behaviors that I can’t seem to ignore. I can (usually) refrain from commenting on them, but I still stew inside.

Not Caring What Others Think of Me

It still hurts my feelings if someone doesn’t like me. I have gotten over having big ears. I can wear my naturally grey hair very short with confidence, even though two of my children have nonchalantly told me they like me more with longer hair.

I can go into a room and hold my own. I can easily decide to skip an event or get myself invited, if I want to go. But, I still really want others to enjoy being around me. And I hate being taken advantage of… and I cannot not see that.

Singing Like I Did in High School

I was in the elite choir in high school and thoroughly enjoyed it all. We even went to Europe on a month-long tour the summer before my senior year.

I enjoyed the trip so much, I got kicked out of choir after our return, but I managed to talk my way back into the good graces of the director and into the soprano section for one last semester.

Singing in a choir was something I thought I would eventually get back to. The contemporary church service I attended had a “worship band” and though at one time I wanted to be part of it, other people were more available and, frankly, better singers.

Community choirs did not fit with my schedule of having a bunch of kids who were in sports and other activities. So by the time I am now able to schedule in choir practice, I find my unused voice is in no shape for regular use. I am okay with this, but with a wee bit of sadness.

A Love of Gardening

I have friends who tell me that gardening is therapeutic, pulling weeds with a vengeance and all that. And that the feel of dirt in their hands is pleasant. And that they enjoy the act of gardening just as much as the results.

I believe all that is true for them. But I still hate weeding. Fortunately, my husband enjoys a bit of gardening, so I get to enjoy fresh greens and herbs, but I have given up trying to influence his choice of plants. I buy my bouquets at the grocery store.

Being Able to Dance Well

I wanted to dance well into my 80s. But, alas, I married a fine man who has many stellar qualities, but who just cannot – or will not? – learn to dance effortlessly. I grew up in Texas where the two-step was great fun if you had a good partner who could lead strongly.

When my husband and I tried ballroom dancing class once, rotating through the other dancing wannabes was not pleasant for either of us. And, frankly, my once-drummer husband’s counting beats in my ear was not inspiring. We have found other enjoyments.

Having Beautiful Handwriting

I have decided that a legible handwriting is acceptable.

All of this serves to say that who I have become is okay with me. Also, what I have opted to focus on has been mostly intentional, and if it wasn’t intentional, I now know why. I’m good with being good at what I’m good at. And with letting others find their own satisfactions.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What about you? What did you always think you would “one day” be good at? What are you happy about leaving behind as an expectation? How has reducing expectation freed you up? Please share your insights below.

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shirley ellul

Gosh I can relate SO MUCH to you about these points. I had no idea I was the only one who messed up and missed spots when shaving my legs! And my handwriting, which was usually complimented on when I was 20’s and 30’s, is barely legible. I still have learning to play the piano on my bucket list and have a hand-me-down piano from my daughter’s days of learning. I would appreciate if there is any way we could connect, in email, since I too am married to a pastor recently retired, and have been kinda lonely in our small town with basically not many friends for past 20 years except for work, and I am now laid off and seeking employment. A whole new ballgame.

Vanya Drumchiyska

Hi Shirley,
Since you mentioned playing the piano is on your bucket list, I thought I’d point you to our free course here on 60 & Me. You can learn at your own pace and the teacher is really kind and knowledgeable. You can find the course here: Free Piano Course.

Rose J.

This article and its focus on giving up on our expectations reminds me a lot of the book by Mark Manson “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK”. He has an interesting perspective on living life and what happens when you let go of stuff. If you think you’re interested in his point of view on letting go, get the book and/or check out his website, markmanson.net.

Judy Whaley

Some things are harder than others though to let go.

Janel

Judy, I agree. As I mentioned above 40 years old is a bit young to have amassed such a carefree attitude. Lucky for him if he has it altogether like that.

Cheryse Revie

I too have not been able to shed the “wanting to be liked” syndrome.

Jane

That penmanship point hit home with me. By now, at 63, a tiny part of me thought my handwriting would morph into my mother’s beautiful style. Nope. I now go between cursive and print. In the same sentence!

The Author

Debbie Hensleigh is a serial entrepreneur and business coach who is intent on living life on purpose. She is a speaker, writer and leads workshops on intentionally designing your best ThirdThird, from ages 60 to 90. Building on the FirstThird (learning years) and the SecondThird (earning years), the ThirdThird can be the best Third. Please visit Debbie’s website here http://yourbestthirdthird.com

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