I have been writing for Sixty and Me for donkey’s years (a British expression meaning a long time), and it suddenly hit me this week that we are a rather amazing lot. Not the writers – I don’t know much about the other bloggers – but you, the readers.
Do you ever stop to read the comments that you, the readers, contribute? They make for impressive reading.
Please Note: Ages are given where provided by the commenter. I have shortened some passages for easier reading and may well have accidentally omitted important contributions. My apologies.
The standard image of a woman over 60 is that she has retired, is winding down and perhaps spends a lot of time in front of the TV. Not you. You are busy doing things, such as:
Here is Sally, age 64:
“I became a (volunteer) Victim Advocate for the local county District Attorney’s office at age 60. Four years later, this former music teacher has learned an incredible amount about the justice system. And I have helped many people from all walks of life and all different life experiences.”
And Marian, age 68:
“I’m still working and love my work! In preparation for when I retire, I joined a women’s neighbourhood club that offers many activities, from cooking to books to movies to hiking and more. I also volunteer at church, initiate outings with friends to musicals or movies or just out for a drink. I also travel which is my passion. I’m off to Patagonia in October. And how can I forget having my grandson occasionally, to babysit him. We are crazy about him!”
And here is Karen, age 67+:
“My life was filled with rearing my four children and traveling the world with my husband. Turning 60 didn’t seem a big deal, but I hit a personal identity crisis of sorts, realizing the extent of focus and support I’d spent on others, but I hadn’t given myself the same.
Then I discovered (and rediscovered) so many wonderful things! With an architect, I designed and built my dream house and literally planted a food forest, complete with a fishpond in my backyard. I got chickens and love the fresh eggs.
I joined an adult tap class. My furniture refurbishing hobby was rekindled and has grown into a small business. I built a corner library and keep it stocked with children’s books. I joined several women’s groups that are working to better conditions for women in our state. And from this, was invited to join a non-profit board.
And, at 67, I trained and successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.
And the best thing I’ve done is learned to play pickleball, which brings exercise and sociality!”
Many of you are busy travelling. Here is Roxanne:
My favorite thing about retirement is getting to spend time with my beloved. We married so we could spend time together, yet we spent the next twenty years with our co-workers. But, after retirement 22 years ago, we’ve spent the years traveling America in a 5th wheel. It’s like a long second honeymoon. And we get to learn something new every day. We’re loving life.
Indeed, some of you are in very remote places, such as Anne, age 64:
“My 71-year-old partner and I are currently back packing through Malaysia. We are staying in a tree house on a durian farm, where our wonderful hosts, passionate about sustainable farming, are encouraging us to start a blog, which we are contemplating: ‘Wise Wanderlust”.
We have been highly amused by the benevolent ageism of some young reviewers on Air B&B, warning people over 55 that the property is not suitable because it is on the third floor or there is a loft ladder! We climb our drawbridge ladder to sleep in in our gorgeous tree house with the splendour of nature all around us – and giggle to ourselves we must be too old to do this!!”
Some of you are doing more than just travelling. Here is Sherrlyn, over 65:
“I have begun leading travel photography journeys with purpose to Guatemala (I used to work there) and soon will add on Cuba. Although it’s been open to men and women, it’s all women who come. We help out the local culture and engage with the people, so it’s more than a tour. It’s fun.”
And perhaps surprisingly in your later years, a number of you are studying.
Here is Ingrid, age 60:
“I’ve actually gone back to university! Started an MBA (Masters in Business Administration), alongside my job. It’s enjoyable to be around a bunch of 30-50 year-old smart, ambitious and motivated people and doing groupwork with them. I was getting tired of my world view and wanted my eyes opened to new knowledge!
I’m not sure where it will lead, but I like to think the combination of my business experience plus MBA means I can help others on their journey.”
And Mary, age 60:
“I am training to become a mental health counsellor and starting my own business. It’s demanding work, but it gives me meaning. I have lots of other ideas I’d like to bring to fruition. There’s are lots of things to look forward to.”
Many of you are in the process of a rethink.
Here is Thazin Nu, age 65:
“I’ve always gone my own way, being much of a loner, which was fine because I had my then boyfriend soon to be my husband. I traveled extensively into the jungles of Southeast Asia. I delved into real estate and gems and jewelry without any training or experience.
Now I feel a great burning desire to write both prose and poetry. Even if no one publishes me, I would very much like to go ahead just to share my experiences for my children and grandchildren to inherit.”
I have learned that the hardest decisions that seem to make your world fall from under your feet can be the most interesting paths of your life! Right now, I am on a new adventure of finding myself. I believe that God has a plan and although I may not always what that is, I know God is holding it in His hands.”
And Terrie, age 65:
“I’ve had some debilitating surgeries and lost family and friends due to death and divorce. However, my joy during the past five years has been the discovery of MYSELF! It’s a bumpy path, but worth every moment (assessing the hours from the rear-view window)! I’m ready to open the doors and begin afresh. Five years into my sixties I’m more at peace, confident, patient, aware, and enlightened enough to recognize the connections all around me. Plus, I have the most wonderful dog!”
And, as someone who has had a relatively easy life, I have particular admiration for those who overcome adversity.
Here is Patricia, age 72:
At 62, my spouse of forty-three years filed for a divorce and Catholic annulment after stating we were never married because he never loved me! Difficult times for a few years, including the passing of both parents. Fortunately, I had a job I loved and friends who provided support. Covid brought an end to my job, friends remained via FaceTime and Zoom, and Medicare allowed me to afford a therapist, which I recommend to anyone who is unhappy for any reason.
Ten years later, I’m retired. I sold my house, visited one of my children in Hawaii and have spent ten months learning about the history and culture of Hawaii. Being in a different environment with no friends or acquaintances who know my history or former “non” spouse, other than my daughter, has been an unexpected godsend.
I now have a 92-year-old walking buddy and 90-year-old friend I talk with nearly daily. I have made casual friends and unexpectedly met a wonderful 61-year-old local man who has shared his love of music and his knowledge of the islands.”
And Jeanne, age 87:
“I had finished my first year of college and realized the course I was on was wrong… I left college, married and had five kids… shortly after my husband died… yes, it was a struggle but ‘we’ – my kids and I – did it together…and what a loving family I have. Now in my 80s, I am thinking of going back to college to finish where I left off…
It’s all good… a life lived… and more to come… with luck. I’m wondering what kind of business I could start… I could blog… or a knitting group or… I’d love a sheep farm, but there I’d need younger help…”
And finally, some of you are quietly appreciating the joys of life.
Here is Marie, over 60:
“Not yet retired… After a recent injury, I am on medical leave for a few months, which has allowed me to find ways of processing my day fully. Simple things like how sunshine feels, the taste of dark chocolate, making soup, the smells of basil and chives or the sounds of nature on a short walk take on a whole new meaning.
Introspection and the art of slowing down has been a gift. I suddenly feel a bit giddy with expectation for each day. So, let me see, what shall I be when I grow up?”
And Kristen, 59:
“So I’m hurtling toward 60 and truthfully – I love being my age… or maybe I just love being comfortable in my knowledge, my ability to continue to learn, my ability to reach out to others, to love, to play, to work, to BE.”
And Maura, age 60:
I feel like I’ve had an awakening. As the eldest of seven children, i started caring for my siblings at age five. I’ve taken care of others for 55 years. Now, it’s my time.
My husband and children have had to get used to the new me. I put self-care and my reinvention ahead of a lot of other activities these days.
I still work and can’t see retirement in my future. I am blessed to be able to run, dance, love, travel, and be joyful. Every day is a diamond.“
You (and all other readers who I simply didn’t have the space to quote) are an inspiration for us all.
What have you learned about yourself reading Sixty and Me? Have you discovered new possibilities? Do you share your thoughts and experiences with the community? Have you found inspiration by reading other women’s comments?