Getting Older Isn’t All Ice-Cream and Sprinkles
A few weeks ago, while I was traveling, I met a lovely woman who is a regular Sixty and Me reader. Let’s call her Jane (not her real name).
When I asked Jane what she thought of Sixty and Me, she gave me a fascinating answer. I want to share it with you here, not because I necessarily agree with her, but, because I have a feeling that some of you may be feeling the same.
Can’t We Take a Moment to Recognize the Tough Stuff?
She said, “You know what Margaret. I love everything you do with Sixty and Me. But, sometimes I feel like you put too much of a positive spin on everything. Getting older isn’t all ice-cream and sprinkles, you know. Some of us are having a really tough time financially. Most of us can’t afford to go on fancy trips. I know plenty of women who are struggling with medical problems. Can’t we take a moment, once in a while, to recognize the tough stuff?”
My first reaction was to push back and tell Jane all of the reasons that I try to present life after 60 from a positive perspective. After all, as I say all the time, life after 60 is what we make it.
There is no denying that getting older is tough, financially, socially and psychologically. But, the more positive we feel, the more likely we will be to do the things that really improve our lives – eating right, staying fit, getting out into nature, pursuing out passions and making friends.
At the time, Jane and I agreed to disagree. It wasn’t until later that night that I started to understand what she was trying to say.
Am I Setting Unfair Expectations?
One of the risks of being positive all the time is that you can set unfair – or even unachievable – expectations for others. As a result, I started to wonder whether my tendency to put a positive spin on things was alienating people from taking the first step towards building the lives that they deserve.
In other words, even if we agree that we have a lot of control over our lives after 60, maybe it is worth taking a moment to recognize the tough things about getting older. Perhaps if we share the struggles that we are going through, even if only for one day, we will be able to deal with them more effectively.
So, while I promise that I won’t do this often, today, I want to give you the opportunity to talk about what you don’t like about getting older. Then, tomorrow, I’ll be back on my usual schedule of positivity and passion.
Here’s What I Find Difficult About Getting Older
I’ll kick things off. You know, one of the things that I really wasn’t expecting about getting older was the constant struggle to build meaningful friendships. You might think that this is a strange thing for me to say, given the fact that we have 350,000 women in our community, but, it’s true.
80% of the time, I enjoy my life as a single older womаn. But, I would be lying if I said that, as Jane put it, “All ice-cream and sprinkles.”
Another thing that I find super frustrating about getting older is my inability to get in great shape. I’ve tried everything – yoga, circuit training, weights, long walks and numerous diets. No matter what I do, I just can’t get the body that I feel like I deserve.
To be clear, I’m not trying to look better for anyone else. I just find it frustrating that I don’t have the flexibility, energy and strength that I did as a younger womаn. There is so much in this world that I want to see!
Ok, those are my two biggest complaints about getting older. Now it’s your turn!
Do you think that Sixty and Me focuses too much on the positive aspects of aging? Or, do you think that we have the balance right? What frustrates you most about getting older? Do you struggle to stay social? Do you worry about money? Are you frustrated, in any way, by your aging body? Please join the conversation.