Age 65! What are your thoughts when you hear it? Let’s start with past messages. Old, over the hill, retirement, social security, and Medicare for Americans are a few common ones.
Well, that was then.
Baby Boomers and generations following them are changing the tune. How do I know? I’m now a 65-year-old woman, grateful and celebrating the fact I’m not only alive, but continue to thrive.
Let’s examine the reason 65 was considered a pivotal marker.
During the 20th century, when that age became assigned for receiving retirement benefits, the proverbial thought was people would die before reaching their mid-60s.
In the 1930s, the average life expectancy for men was age 58 and women 62.
Those numbers have changed.
According to Healthline.com, men live an average of 76 years with women averaging 81.
Wow! Life expectancy swelled. What accounts for it?
Well, I believe healthier lifestyle, including a reduction in destructive habits and an increase in exercise.
Also, as a Boomer I embrace this. We’re vain and want a youthful appearance, enjoying life like it’s 1999. Yes, we coined the 60-is-the new-40 logo. It became so popular that a few years ago, an article in the Wall Street Journal discussed this phenomenon.
Other factors which shouldn’t be dismissed are the advancements in medical and technological innovation, catapulted during the Boomer era.
We are living longer, but what does that mean? Choice, where some will choose to retire because they’ve the means. Others can’t afford to halt employment. Not for financial need alone, but mental, emotional and social health drive individuals to continue their participation in the work pool.
What about other ventures past 65? I’ve written in the past about so many people who keep working well beyond the appointed retirement age. Clint Eastwood, a nonagenarian, hasn’t seemed to stop his professional activities. The Richest.com states his worth as $375 million, so we know money is not a need, nor is the lack of abundance of children and grandchildren.
What drives people like Mr. Eastwood, an actor, director, songwriter, among his many gifts? Purpose and meaning, I’d venture to say.
How about others who discovered their creative gifts past 50, 60, 70, 80?
Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes, didn’t publish his debut memoir until he was 60 years old.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, known for her Little House series, published her first book at age 65, beginning a successful run as a children’s book author. Her stories became the inspiration for the television series Little House on the Prairie.
Ever hear of A Dangerous Weakness? The author, Lorna Page, became the oldest debut novelist ever recorded. At age 93, she published her book, using the money to purchase a bigger house for herself and some of her friends. What a treat for her pals with her successful creative endeavors contributing to her generosity.
Not everyone writes, but what achievements by others have occurred during the later years?
Arkenea.com reports that Jim Butenschoen left the IT industry at age 65 to start a hair-design academy.
Although she started at age 56, Ernestine Shepherd became the oldest bodybuilder at 78.
Michael Grottola began his consulting firm at 65, and Radha Daga founded a food company at age 73.
Laura Gable invented a new bra strap at age 70.
These individuals are examples of those undeterred by age.
I’m 65 and embrace these role models. As an author and long-time licensed psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, I don’t plan on halting soon. My profession offers a chance to work through the adult life cycle. There’s no better role model than Edith Eva Eger, a holocaust survivor, who wrote the book The Choice. She continues to practice as a psychologist at age 95.
Dr. Eger’s title is most fitting. Choice. Do you have an idea that hasn’t taken root? If so, what’s holding you back from watering the seeds?
Never forget the wise words of two luminaries:
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Eliot
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” —Napoleon Hill
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
How old are you? What have you accomplished past 65? What are you looking forward to accomplishing still?
Tags Getting Older Inspiration
What an inspiring article! I am almost 67 years old but my love of learning and living with purpose keeps me inspired and grateful for everything I have in my life right now! I long to read more and write articles and perhaps books in the future. Sure, life gets in the way but I don’t lose hope and I don’t want to give up as long as I am ALIVE!
Thank you so much! You go girl! That’s an aspirational message I wish for many of us.
With a smile,
At 75, during recovery from a hip replacement, I began to look at my time left as “The Fourth Quarter” of my life.
Following a career in Engineering, including my final job at a company that still provided a pension and 401k, I was able to retire without financial worries. I was then able to follow my muse Terpsichore and devote time to my 35-year avocation of Ballroom Dance.
I have a small home studio and am a volunteer instructor at the local Senior Center. My classes are fun, and the interaction with my students powers me thru the week, not to mention satisfying many of those necessary ADLs. The added benefits of physical exercise and balance training are key to maintaining a life that is mine to control, rather than depending on others.
The Fourth Quarter can be a difficult time if your team is behind, or a celebration if it is winning. I’m celebrating!
Bill Galey, Five Points Dance, Rocket City, AL
You are amazing. I love it, The Fourth Quarter. All of us need to make the best of what we have left, and you are dancing away. Yay!
With a smile,
I’m still trying to reinvent myself at 71. Many life turning stuff happening with a sick minded demented husband
Keep the faith. I have disabilities in my family. Life’s unfair, but those of us who have our mind must aspire. It will inspire not only others but you. Thank you for commenting.
With a smile,
Dr. Edith Eger is my role model. I too am a therapist. This service work allows for us to continue doing this most meaningful work until we no longer can. Look at Dr. Irwin Yalom too. Look at Maye Musk as well, embracing her beauty in her 70’s.
It’s all about mindset and our own self-limiting beliefs of ‘old’ or ‘can’t do’ anymore, or ‘too late to start’. This is our time to go for it, as long as we are ‘able’.
Thank you. We, therapists, know how we think is everything. One of my favorite quotes is from Napoleon Hill. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”
With a smile,
My concept, which is rooting slowly, is Twifties, the FUN people over 60. I created it because of the positive changes in aging that you and I and many are experiencing. To describe the new, youthful 50s and 60s, I named our age cohort. For “50 is the new 20, Twenty, Fifty, Twifties!
I would like to see products on the market targeted at us. These would be the kind of products we grew up with. Well-made, efficient, not toxic or polluting, good value and values. We can brand them under “Twifties Gear.” Life would be simpler when we know that it is easy and quick to shop and buy the right things, rather than reading reviews on the computer for hours.
That is what the Twifties brand represents. Also, we Twifties are open to making new friends and having activity companions who share our interests. Twifties is about that too. As well as fun. I am looking for partners in mini-businesses under the Twifties concept. Contact me if you have ideas or energy for moving the #TwiftiesLifeStyle forward! For the betterment of all, and especially the 6 biggest birth years in US History. Centered around birth year 1956.
founder of #Twifties, and the Twifties LifeStyle
Thank you! Very cool! I’ll check out your Twifties. Fabulous.
With a smile,
Thanks for writing Darlene. I do recommend Instagram for our age. It’s easy and fun and we can find people with shared interests! You can look up #Twifties on Instagram and find people!
#MsTwifty on Instagram
Thank you, Lauren. I post videos on Instagram here and there. I’ll check out Twifties next time I’m on.
With a smile,